Nov 30, 2019 | timothyneeble |
Fake Or Not, Customer Reviews Can Break Your Travel Business Online Before we begin, let’s take a look at a couple of online reviews on TripAdvisor – Example 1 – Review of Margarita Apartments Example 2 – Review of Knutus on Village Inn Example 3 – Review of Mary on Hartley’s Crocodile Farm Online reviews have emerged as one of the primary deciding factors for people who are planning their vacations online. In fact, these reviews dictate where you will travel next. But, how authentic are these reviews that appear online? To understand the above point, we need to dig a lot deeper into what exactly goes on in these review sites. Few interesting statistics on TripAdvisor • According to a recent report, TripAdvisor enjoys 38,000,000 estimated unique monthly visitors, second only to Booking.com that garners 40,000,000 monthly visitors and tops the top 15 most popular travel sites list. • Likewise, another report shows Booking.com and TripAdvisor also tops the top websites ranking list. • Again, a 2019 study from TripAdvisor shows 79% of travellers will book a hotel that has a higher rating when compared to another identical property. The most searched and highly trusted TripAdvisor is the primary source for booking hotels, flights and planning other travel itineraries. Travellers heavily rely on this site for reviews and ratings related to the travel and hospitality industry. In fact, travel agents and other online travel booking engines have started listing those hotels, restaurants, and tourist spots that have drawn maximum positive reviews online, especially on TripAdvisor. But, another report says, TripAdvisor discovered 2.1% out of 66m reviews posted here in the year of 2018, fake, yet they claim that 100% of the reviews on TripAdvisor go through advanced moderation checks. Often, hotels and other players in the travel and tourism industry put paid reviews or fake reviews online, whether it is on TripAdvisor, Expedia, or Google – it is really hard to prevent such fake postings. According to CNN travel reports, Hotels in the Middle East and Las Vegas are hotspots for fake reviews. The site has continuously been on the radar owing to its repeated failed attempt in arresting the sudden outbursts of fake reviews on its site. Despite the ocean of controversies, the positive reviews on the site have boosted the business of many small travel agencies and hotels around the world. Online travel booking software companies depend highly on the reviews posted on TripAdvisor to offer the best accommodation and travel experience to their customers. But the negative ones can completely mar the attraction for a particular place of interest. Example 4 – Review of Eiffel Tower Now, the rising importance of these reviews has compelled many agents to find alternate ways to handle customer reviews for their businesses, which, if positive can transform a company’s fortune, or, if negative, can prove devastating for many. Thereby, organizations are looking for paid reviews online. TripAdvisor alone has removed 1.5 million fake reviews in 2018. The growth of the concept termed as ‘reputation economy’ is directly responsible for the recent rapid upsurge of fake reviews online. In an attempt to safeguard their online reputation, travel and other businesses have gone to the extent of threatening negative reviewers as well. Examples – Denver travel business threatened to sue a woman for posting negative reviews online. A Bigfoot-themed Branson attraction has sued a Kansas cattle farmer over a TripAdvisor negative review. On the other hand, the worldwide attempt to arrest the overflow of fake customer reviews has resulted in the omission of many genuine ones. Customer complaints can involve reports about fraud, theft, and sexual assault cases, removal of which can become a grave mistake. For example – Another news just added smoke to the fire – TripAdvisor deleted review detailing rape at Mexican Resort, though the company reposted the same and apologized to the victim later. Now, let’s understand the take of Expedia, Booking.com and Google on customer reviews and ratings. What Expedia, Google, and Booking.com have to say about reviews? Online reviews have influenced buyers in availing of the particular service online. A recent report suggests 92.4% of customers are likely to purchase a product or service after reading a trusted review about the same. Likewise, another study states that displaying customer reviews has increased conversion rates by 270%. But, a couple of years ago, an article was published on TripAdvisor itself which declared that Expedia is a big scam and so are the hotels listed on the site. Likewise, another review posted on TripAdvisor defamed Booking.com for facilitating fake reviews online. Check the screenshot below – Even the search engine guru is not spared from this game of playing with negative or fake reviews. According to a recent report, over three million fake ratings were posted by at least 37 fake profiles in December 2018. But, Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com, vouched for the authenticity of reviews on their site, saying that, “With Booking.com, it’s always real”. The above facts and figures make it really difficult for customers as they are left clueless about whom to trust and whom not to trust. On the other hand, big travel brands, small agencies, and even travel software development companies, as well as online booking engines for travel agents, have plunged onto the bandwagon of posting paid positive reviews on these sites to enhance their online presence. But little do they realize that all positive reviews can raise quite a few eyebrows. Also, they forget customers are smart enough to distinguish a positive review from a negative one. Positive outcomes from negative reviews Believe it or not, earning perfect reviews online should not be the ultimate goal for your enterprise. Instead, try to keep a couple of negative reviews on those sites which will help you in multiple ways. The obvious question post the above statement that is likely to pop inside your head is – How??? Well! 97% of customers read product reviews before purchasing any product – this is the fact that we all know. But, the same report also states that 85% of consumers expect negative reviews to make informed purchase decisions. And, there are other reasons why travel companies and travel booking software services should keep a couple of negative reviews on their site, such as – • The very presence of negative reviews will enhance the authenticity of your positive reviews. • Negative reviews will create realistic expectations in the mind of the purchaser. • The presence of both bad and good reviews helps your business maintain transparency and rid consumers of all suspicions which only positive reviews might trigger. • Responding to the customer on his/her negative review help in better customer engagement and turning a disappointed buyer into a loyal advocate of your brand. • Negative or bad reviews work as an eye-opener. Such reviews will point out where you have gone wrong and how you can improve the situation. Who is the ultimate King??? It goes without any doubt that a customer is an ultimate king and their reviews, good or bad, can decide the fate of your business. The article is an important learning lesson for both travel companies and online travel booking software services. There is no point in posting paid reviews to win the rat race. Experts and ordinary buyers can smell their fakeness from a distance. Also, doing away with all the negative or bad ratings can raise a few eyebrows even though the positive ones are real. So, maintain a balance between the two and strive for real reviews, good or bad, with your service – that’s how you win the race! Source: https://www.articlepole.com/articles/174145/fake-or-not- customer-reviews-can-break-your-travel-business-online.php
Online reviews have emerged as one of the primary deciding factors for people who are planning their vacations online.