Hotel reviews and TripAdvisor

By | Category: Travel rumblings
© Dan Sperrin

© Dan Sperrin

The hotel that Andy Murray bought has bought opened on April Fool’s Day. Before that day TripAdvisor had managed to publish eight reviews that praised it to its rafters giving it five stars.

How?

The answer is that that the hotel had been “open” for a little longer than we thought as about 100 people had stayed there on what was called a “soft-launch.” People stayed for nothing or for a small amount so that the hotel could get up to speed and resolve any little issues that those guests found.

I have no problem with this. Guests are much more likely to spot little problems and sorting them before paying guests arrive is better than letting the problems arise later.

My problem is TripAdvisor allowing these people to be allowed to post reviews.

How biased will they be? If you stay somewhere for nothing there is the chance that you will rate it differently than if you paid the full price. It is difficult subconsciously not to think that you have a bargain and judge accordingly. I wouldn’t like to say that this was done deliberately by the hotel to raise its profile amongst potential future guests. But TripAdvisor should have stopped this practice just in case there is bias. But the company says this doesn’t break its guidelines.

There may well be no bias at all in these reviews but a perception will remain. And, like Maria Miller and her expenses, perception counts. So the reviews should be removed and TripAdvisor should ensure that, if its reviews are to be taken more seriously it has to continue to stop sharp practices. Its guidelines should be changed.  It shouldn’t allow reviews to be put up before a hotel officially opens.

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