TripAdvisor announced yesterday that it has passed the 150m mark in terms of reviews and opinions posted to its site, and now collects more than 90 user contributions a minute.
The news follows the release of TripAdvisor's full-year results earlier this month, which revealed that the website had two billion unique visitors last year, with visits up 50 per cent in the fourth quarter.
"Fourteen years ago, TripAdvisor saw an opportunity to help travellers help each other make informed travel decisions by sharing their first-hand experiences, reviews, and photos," said Steve Kaufer, co-founder and chief executive of TripAdvisor.
"Now, the internet and user-generated content have completely changed the way we plan, book, and share our trips."
Quality and consistency
Steve Tate, chairman of Cristal International Standards and Check Safety First, told BigHospitality that with more people than ever reading and posting reviews, hotels can't afford to drop the ball when it comes to quality and consistency.
"Hotel brands need to do more to counteract the dangers by being vigilant about delivering the quality that their brand represents," he said.
“A set of bad reviews can reduce bookings for one hotel, but can also reflect badly against the whole brand.
“Brands are built on a reputation of consistency; if that appears to be consistently bad then the damage can be considerable.”
Importance of reviews
TripAdvisor insists that it is now essential for hotels to have reviews of their properties if they want to attract bookings, pointing to a study conducted by PhoCusWright, which revealed that more than half of respondents will not make a booking until they have read a review of the hotel.
In a bid to help hotels boost review numbers, guest relationship management service Guestfolio recently signed a deal with TripAdvisor to help its partner hotels boost the quantity of reviews about their property.
Under the deal Guestfolio, which has 40 UK partner hotels, will integrate a TripAdvisor review into its branded online guest satisfaction surveys, allows guests to post a review without leaving the hotels’ branded survey page.
Countering negative reviews
However, Tate said he was not sure hotels should be seeking to increase the number of reviews of their property on websites like TripAdvisor.
“What is better is to try and ensure that negative reviews are eliminated or kept to a minimum by having robust quality and brand management systems in place,” he said.
Tate recommended that hoteliers scan review sites for negative reviews on their hotels.
“These reviews need to be investigated and once appropriate action has been taken (real action) then a response should be considered,” he explained.