The online review of the Best Western hotel in Eagle Rock, Calif., started with a critical headline: “Very poor quality, will never stay here again.”
What is surprising is that the review was posted on a link found on the hotel’s own website.
Best Western International, one of the world’s largest hotel chains, recently redesigned its website, adding links to reviews submitted by guests to the website TripAdvisor.
The move marks a trend in the hotel industry.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide – whose brands include Sheraton, Westin and St. Regis – began last year to encourage guests to post reviews on travel websites.
In March, Wyndham Hotel Group began to include TripAdvisor reviews on its reward program site, where visitors can book rooms in Wyndham hotels such as Ramada, Days Inn, Howard Johnson and Travelodge.
TripAdvisor officials say they use advanced algorithms and tips from website users to flag and delete bogus reviews.
Although hotels that post links to reviews on their own website run the risk of losing customers because of harsh reviews, there’s still an upside even if all comments aren’t rosy, they can also benefit from the reviews, said Neha Singh, an assistant professor at the Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona.
“One benefit is the transparency,” she said. “It allows guests in a transparent way to see what other guests enjoyed and did not enjoy at the hotel.”
Hotel review sites are so prevalent that Singh said hotels might as well post them and show that they have nothing to hide.
Beyond just linking to reviews, Best Western officials say they are also responding to the posts with messages on TripAdvisor from management to show that the hotel is committed to making improvements.
“Most of the reviews we see out there are positive,” said Michael Morton, vice president of member services at Best Western. “If negative reviews come up, we respond. It’s another way for our hotels to show our priorities.”