WTM 2010: TripAdvisor urges hoteliers to challenge user reviews

Not enough hoteliers are challenging negative reviews made online by customers, according to holiday review site TripAdvisor.

At a seminar on Social Revolution, TripAdvisor senior director of display sales Martin Verdon-Roe urged hotel owners to actively engage with customers through its site. Two-thirds of the responses on the site’s management response tool, launched last year, are responses to four or five-star reviews.

Verdon-Roe said: “It’s hoteliers thanking customers for positive reviews and not challenging negative reviews. By writing these responses you are showing great customer service. It shows you care about your customers and are more likely to look after them when they stay.”

He also suggested hoteliers talk directly to customers to resolve issues raised in reviews, but also said users would not necessarily believe “overly positive or negative” reviews.

The comments followed concerns from hoteliers at WTM that customers were “ganging up” on them with negative reviews and posting inaccurate information. Hoteliers have threatened to take legal action against TripAdvisor over reviews posted on its site.

 Verdon-Roe said hoteliers could email the TripAdvisor team through its Owners’ Center management tool. “We can investigate and take reviews off. We are here for our customers but, equally, we want them to receive the right content,” he added.

Meanwhile, managing director Tim Gunstone said social media was now a “basic need”  for companies to embrace, comparable with email. “It’s useful for customer retention and crisis management,” he said.

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