For online hotel reviews, the more the merrier
By Hugo Martin
August 25, 2013,
If you see a hotel with only a handful of online reviews, you might not be getting the full picture.
A study by Spanish professors published by Cornell University found that initial online hotel reviews tend to be more negative and that the overall evaluations improve as the number of opinions increase.
Online reviews are crucial for hotels because research shows they are usually more effective in swaying potential guests than traditional marketing such as print, radio and television ads.
The study, based on sample reviews of 16,680 hotels, found that when a hotel has only 11 to 20 reviews, an average of 23% of them rate the hotel terrible or poor. But when a hotel has more than 101 reviews, only about 13% of them rate the hotel terrible or poor, the study showed.
Kelsey Blodget, editorial director at the hotel review site Oyster.com said there are two likely reason for the trend.
“If the earliest reviews are posted when the hotel is brand-new, it could just be because new hotels usually have some kinks to work out before they get things running smoothly,” she said. “It could also be that those with negative things to say are the most eager to voice their opinions and are more likely to be first responders.”
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