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Bad Reviews Usually Mean Negative Experiences

Bad Reviews Usually Mean Negative Experiences

If a review in TripAdvisor (TA) or any other rating site is bad, then probably the experience was bad.

With simple logic, says the aim of the hotel or airline or resort should not be to stop negative reviews, but “ to stop negative experiences in the first place. Cure the cause not the symptom.”

But the authoritative travel blog, Gadling reported that TA’s reviews are rubbing enough hoteliers the wrong way, that several hundred of them have joined forces to pursue legal action against TA’s user-generated reviews, accusing the site of defamation.

The group is under the leadership of KwikChex, a UK-based hotel reputation management company. These kinds of companies are rapidly growing in numbers and revenue as more brands are hiring “reputation protection” companies to monitor what’s being said about them on the Internet, and to guard against defamation.

Whether this has a chilling effect on the freedom of expression basic to the Internet and the web remains to be seen

The point that’s being missed however is the need to manage a traveler’s expectations, and thus reduce bad experiences that result in negative reviews.

The more the destination or property can learn about a guest’s expectations (Is this their first trip abroad? What does a room with an “ocean view” mean to them?), the better the chance of removing the cause of a negative review…rather than trying to remove the review after the fact.

If a customer isn’t told that there is no one to carry his or her bags up the stairs to the room, then a harsh review expressing anger at the lack of service is accurate.

If the web site says “breakfast included,” and it turns out breakfast is coffee and a cold Danish, a negative review on the inn or hotel is, again, perfectly accurate.

TNooz, the tech-talking travel newsletter, says the best time to manage expectations is between booking and pre-travel.

Use this time to start a conversation with your customer. Get to know what their expectations are likely to be. Can you match or equal them?

• Send them a picture of the room they’ll be staying in
• Show the difference between, say, a European room’s configuration and a room in an American hotel
• Ask if they’re aware that the street side is noisy and will that be a problem

One traveler, impressed by the fact that The Grange Hotel (York, England) made the Sunday Times World Best Hotel’s list, was deeply disappointed in the room size, noisy streets and inaccurate web site photo that featured only the four-posted beds.

He had expectations that were not met, and what he wrote reflected that bluntly.

Also, fewer choice apparently make for fewer reasons to complain.

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