Conventional wisdom suggests readers of reviews pay more heed to criticism than praise.
But new research has revealed that online reviews - at least of accommodation providers - that present positive feedback on properties hold more weight with readers than mixed or negative reviews.
Compiled by Sydney’s Macquarie University and published in the Journal of Hospitality Marketing and Management, the data found mixed reviews to be the least effective as people struggled to properly interpret them.
“In today’s interconnected world, where more bookings are made online than ever before, customer reviews can make or break a business,” said Dr Shahin Sharifi, report author and lecturer at Macquarie’s Department of Marketing.
“Positive reviews influence prospective customers more than any other so, as you would expect, to drive future bookings it is best to have as many good reviews as possible.
“Following that, it is important to respond to mixed reviews as quickly as possible.”
The research also showed that a satisfaction guarantee, a marketing tool used across virtually every sector including travel, had no effect on customer bookings.
“For hoteliers, the most important thing is to focus on providing a good service to customers rather than guaranteeing it,” Dr Sharifi said.
How important are online review sites, like TripAdvisor, to your research. Do you weigh positive, negative and mixed reviews differently?
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