Most of us are at least consulting one online rating website before booking their next stay in a hotel. One of the most important ones is TripAdvisor, which is already running now since 12 years. They have created a platform for the public that makes it very easy to share recommendations about travels and also offers a booking service. Realizing that people are usually quite collaborative and like sharing experiences they turns it into a successful business. According to PhocusWright this could lead to a “power shift toward consumer” in the hospitality industry.
Threats for the industry
Even though the number of contributors should give the reviews some reliability the most important contra is still how accurate and genuine the reviews really are. There is no checking before writing a review if you have really travelled to that certain venue. Moreover author Summer is reporting on the TravelLog on Washington Post about experiences she had, with reviewers that were ‘nitpicking a place to death’ without understanding that some of the things there were criticizing actually formed the unique experience in a hotel.
New ways and opportunities
TripAdvisor has turned into a vast store of information. Undoubtedly of the utmost importance re the over 50 million reviews and opinions by average travellers, which gives it on the first hand more reliability than smaller pages of its sort. The company managed to make it fun for their visitors, by adapting strategies from the gaming industry, from profile pictures to a strong connection to social media. The pages can not only help the hotels to increase traffic, but also have high revenue by for example click-on advertisements as illustrated below.
So what is the answer?
Considering the professional discussion I followed and my personal point of view, these pages are rather favorable. However I found it quite interesting that also professionals were concerned that some reviewers were not actually getting the point and sometimes being harder on the hotels than actual professional testers would be.