The report comes in the wake of a government probe in to the trustworthiness and impartiality of reviews being provided to customers online, backed by the British Hospitality Association.
According to TripAdvisor’s survey of over 100,000 respondents, 85 per cent of businesses agreed that online review sites have a positive impact on service standards, while nearly two thirds admitted to checking the sites ‘whenever a new review comes in’.
“Reviews have become a powerful tool; travellers around the world rely on reviews to help them plan and book their holidays. In fact, more than half will not make a booking decision without reading reviews from others”, said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer at TripAdvisor.
The impact of reviews on businesses can be potentially devastating, as evidenced by the recent #chavgate social media storm.
What do consumers look for?
When reading restaurant reviews four out of five consumers want information about the quality of food, followed by the service (66 per cent).
Almost two thirds of consumers reading hotel reviews want to read about the condition of the hotel, and just under half say it is important to mention the quality of service.
83 percent of people want to read a balanced view, and over two thirds say it is important to provide the context for why the reviewer liked or didn’t like something.
Users rated overly picky reviews as their biggest ‘turn off’ (54 per cent), followed by a lack of detail or specifics on what the reviewer experienced (50 per cent) and bad grammar (42 per cent).
“TripAdvisor reviews are of critical importance to the industry, which aims to provide the best service and offer to guests,” said Jackie Grech, policy director at the British Hospitality Association (BHA).
“It is a great thing for the industry and customers to have a guide that emphasises the importance of customer reviews and to take care to use that powerful voice to provide a useful, honest, realistic review of your experience.”
The BHA has encouraged businesses to submit their experiences of online review sites to the Competition and Markets Authority, the governments business watchdog, by 25 March.