Thursday, August 4, 2011 Finally Offer Guest Reviews

After many months of speculation, have finally announced to their accommodation suppliers today that they will be publishing property ratings sourced from guest reviews.

Unlike TripAdvisor, only customers that have confirmed bookings through (ie: have actually stayed at a property) are invited to complete a review and can score a property out of 5 for location, value, facilities, service and cleanliness.

At first, will only publish a rating, along with a few descriptive words from each review after at least three reviews for a property are received. Later this year after a body of customer data is collected, full text comments and feedback with rankings will be published.

Individual accommodation providers will be emailed once a customer review is published about their property and they will have the opportunity to post responses.

In the email to accommodation suppliers today, say: 
"We are adding this feature in response to feedback from customers about what they want to see on the site, and we believe that our solution strikes a great balance between providing qualified reviews from bona fide guests, while allowing our accommodation partners to address any concerns that are raised. We also believe it will provide another opportunity for you to convert sales through positive word of mouth."
Rest assured that we have taken steps to make sure that reviews published on our sites are legitimate."
Surprisingly, that have been a market leader and innovator is one of the last major online accommodation reselling sites to offer a guest review platform. Perhaps one reason to lag behind the pack in this area was the reluctance to invest in the high level of staff interaction that customer reviews will demand. have built technology into the system to pick up offensive content and have resourced a team responsible for quality control that will check reviews - We envisage that they will be kept very busy! The payoff for will be hopefully an increased customer loyalty/connection to the Wotif brand and an enhanced Google Ranking by the additional web clicks from increased customer interaction.

While some accommodation providers will feel threatened by's guest review platform, most will be positive or at least resigned to the fact that online customer feedback platforms are a "necessary evil."

Overall I think the move is positive and will assist weeding out under performing properties and increase guest satisfaction levels.

Guest reviews are just another form of social media and accommodation providers are unable to avoid the wrath of public opinion by opting out. While there will be the odd rogue customer comment, the aggregated guest reviews will provide real-time transparency that will allow customers to make informed decisions - In the accommodation industry "Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

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