Hoteliers: Booking engines are inadequate for measuring customer experience

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At a time when the majority of hotel bookings are made or researched online, the importance of the web as a means to engage customers continues to grow. With that in mind, it’s difficult for hoteliers not to feel they are caught between a rock and a hard place. Warren Buffet once said, “it takes a lifetime to build a reputation, but only 15 minutes to destroy it”, in the case of a poor online review it’s not even 15 minutes.

In or around 30-40% of bookings are made through booking engines. There have been questions over the ability of these engines to vet customer reviews. One site in particular has come under considerable scrutiny. TripAdvisor recently met the milestone of hosting more than 50 million reviews for hotels; while 50 million travellers use the site every month. While a great trip advisor review can prove to be valuable marketing tool, a bad one can be detrimental. In spite of its clear popularity, the system is flawed.

Hoteliers are not happy, and there has been an abundance of Anti-TripAdvisor sentiment in the media. Many hoteliers feel reviews are not adequately vetted. Last September it was announced that the website is been investigated by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over allegations of illegitimate reviews, these concerns over disingenuous reviews are widespread, and were subject of a recent documentary on channel 4 called “Attack of the TripAdvisors”

A Sunday times Article stated that “Trip Advisor’s vaunted system for weeding out fake reviews has been exposed as a farce”. It has been shown that in its current form, Trip advisor cannot prevent manipulation, so customers and hoteliers alike have to take reviews with a degree of scepticism.

There is no doubt that hotels capturing the voice of the customer and making key decisions using this valuable asset will benefit. In in an industry where customer experience initiatives are seen to have more value than any other, it is very disappointing to see that one of the key mechanisms in place to capture the customer voice has been the cause of so much controversy.

In order to reap the rewards, Hoteliers should carefully look to ways of leveraging customer engagement to their advantage, this author would argue that while booking engines are great at bookings, for a hotelier they are inadequate means to measuring and manage and measure customer experience initiatives.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

David Heneghan
David founded CX Index to help businesses leverage feedback to make more profitable decisions. Through our software platfrom we conduct sophisticated data analysis to help businesses drive more porfitable customer centric decisions. @cxindex

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