Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Online guest reviews weed out Fawlty hotels

While a hotel may look great and have a five-star rating, it may also have grumpy staff and rowdy fellow guests, issues travel agents may be unaware of but recent visitors won’t hesitate to point out.

While review formats differ between sites, they tend to use an one-to-five-star rating system, which is averaged out across all reviewers and doesn’t always correlate with the ‘official’ star rating.

One site that offers this service is, which has just opened its New Zealand website as part of what Asia Pacific managing director Johan Svanstrom calls an “increased focus on the Asia Pacific region, which offers some of the best value for money hotels in the world”.

Another major player in the online hotel booking market is, which claims more than 15 million site visitors from 190 countries every week.

As well as an overall rating, hotels are also given ratings for each aspect of their service, as well as for their suitability for different types of travellers.

Particularly positive or scathing one-line comments can even make it on to the site’s home page.

One reviewer pans a hotel in Buenos Aires, saying, “My first clue should have been the sea of luggage in the lobby and the angry mob surrounding the front desk”.

Another says of a beach resort in Costa Rica: “It wants to be a luxury resort and it is no more than a tent with hard walls between jungle and beach”.

So what do hotel owners have to do to avoid getting the thumbs down in reviews?

The Pureprofile survey offers some clues: 45% chose a comfortable mattress and soft linen as the biggest factor in ‘waking up happy’ in a hotel, followed by a nice view from their room (27%), then a good breakfast and free in-room facilities (14 per cent each).

The biggest gripes most likely to put hotel guests in a bad mood include noise (31%), an uncomfortable bed (26%) and early check-out times (19%), all of which Mr Fawlty excelled in.

Source: Click HERE

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