Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Travolution@PhoCusWright Brussels - Hotels unsure over user reviews

A session focussing on the luxury hotel market...

PhoCusWright’s John Bray asks how enthusiastic the panel – Kristie Goshow (Jumeirah), Marcus Bernhardt (Steigenberger), Giorgio Boscolo (Boscolo) and Klimis Messios (Golden Tulip) – would be to include user-generated content on their websites.

Unsurprisingly the panel is keen to include user reviews - but equally lacking a shock factor is a general agreement that all comments will be moderated to ensure “malicious” activity isn’t shared with consumers.

Or is that bad reviews?

Goshow also admits being “overwhelmed by new search options” – perhaps she is still reeling from the previous speech from Yahoo! Travel’s Tim Frankcom, who revealed a myriad of marketing options available to advertisers across its various channels.

Interestingly Goshow, during her presentation, suggests Priceline “could have been ahead of the game when they said name your own price”.

It appears the middle classes are now trading upwards to luxury hotels, while high end consumers are now looking for bargains. In other words: they are pitching in with rates of their own, perhaps casting doubt over marketing strategies.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

1 comment:

Guillaume Thevenot said...

Hi Kevin !

It's great to see you are over there reporting what you hear at the PCW conference in Brussels. Shame I coudn't be there this year. But thanks to you, I can get a bit of what's being talked about those last 2 days.

Back to the subject, I have yet to see any hotel chain showing good and bad reviews about their property. Only Movenpick seems to be the only brave one with a partnership with Tripadvisor to show all reviews to their website customers.

I can totally understand why some reviews might have to be removed because they aren't justified or maybe too damaging for the brand. But hey that's life. We can't always get it right. The issue is much more how do you deal with a bad review. How do you escalate it at the hotel level, customer services level and go back to the angry customer with some answers about why things have gone wrong with his hotel stay.

I have also heard/read a lot about quality of hotel reviews rather than quantity. As a customer looking for a hotel, are we more attracted by a hotel with 1000 reviews compared to 10? Probably yes. Do we want to look at reviews which relate to similar kind of travelers like us (business, family, single, young couple...) and only look at those reviews? Probably yes. Do customers want to read good and bad reviews? Probably yes. Same as Amazon reviews on the latest DVD blockbuster movie. You might find good and negative feedback.

I can't wait to read your summary of the 3rd day.


Guillaume Thevenot