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Who Writes Hotel Reviews Anyway: The Demographics of Reviews and Reviewers

Who Writes Hotel Reviews Anyway: The Demographics of Reviews and Reviewers

Reviews are critical to the hotel industry’s success. In fact, they’re critical to just about any business, but hotels are especially vulnerable because a hotel stay is a big emotional and financial investment, and travelers want to get it right.

So they read many hotel reviews, and read them carefully. Hotel Marketing says that reviews can make or break a hotel, but the site asks, who really writes hotel reviews.
Do women write them more than men?
Do men have more positive or negative things to say about a destination or property?
Does a hotel’s star rating influence the kind of review people write?

In a fascinating infographic, Olery, a company that helps hotels manage their reputations and images, provides some terrific insight into the demo or psycho-graphics of customer reviews and the people that write them.

For example:

• In 2002, the number of reviews per hotel was three. In 2012, the average number of reviews per hotel jumped to a whopping 465.

• While 81% of travelers find reviews helpful, only 46% post hotel reviews, but, a huge 49% of travelers will not book a property without reviews, reaffirming how much of a lifeblood reviews are.

• Interestingly, the more “stars” a hotel has, the better the reviews seem to be.

• Women write 53% of the reviews; men 47 %,  but women rate properties higher (8.5) than men do ( 7.8) score.

* A very large 22% of Smartphone owners read reviews, and the top review site by far is still TripAdvisor, in spite of its being prohibited from claiming its reviews are “honest” and “real.” We reported this in New Media Travel and other travel blogs.

TripAdvisor’s 60 million reviews still dwarf the other review sites, but is second with some 14 million reviews, followed by third-place, Expedia.

It’s a solid Infographic, but I find the Social Technographics to be especially interesting anyway: The relationship among those who create reviews versus those who read them; those who comment on them versus those who are just spectators. Fascinating stuff, and best explained in the ground-breaking book, Groundswell, by Li and Bernoff.

For now, we can can continue to make review sites make their reviews more transparent and genuine or we erode the inherent trust that makes them valuable.


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