Currently, Trip Advisor is the biggest travel review website in the world, with approximately 60 million member posting 115 reviews every minute. The key succesfactor for the website it that it appeals as an average Joe, who does not trust brochures and guide books. The website has become so big, that it has significant influence the tourist economies on entire countries.
Nowadays, 95% of the travellers state, that they use reviews on a regular basis to book a holiday. The reviews whom are posted on Trip Advisor carry a demonstrable weight. According to a study from Cornell University, for every percentage point a hotel is improving their reputation, their revenue per room increases by 1,4%. And for every point its reputation improves on Trip Advisor’s 5-star scale, a hotel can raise their room rates by 11,2%, without seeing their bookings fall off (Anderson, 2012). This indicates that travellers are willing to pay more, for the same trip if the hotel has a good reputation and good reviews.
However, when reviews are so powerful, it becomes interesting to manipulate them to make more money out of them. According to a a report by travel website, Travolution, hotel companies have even been approached by companies willing to post good reviews for their hotel for a monthly fee. The report even showed that a hotel had a lot of reviews before it was even opened. Luckily, Trip Advisor is already using mechanism to check whether the review is real or fake.
Is Trip Advisor becoming a victim of its own succes? It is important for Trip Advisor to guard the quality of the reviews and be an objective platform. Anyhow Trip Advisor, is becoming very capitalised, allowing third party hotels / restaurant / attractions to advertise on the platform. With these ads, Trip Advisor is moving you to their clients and buy their products / services. Is it possible for a review platform such a Trip Advisor really use ads on a big scale, and not lose credibility form their users?
At the end who is left to trust? On one hand we have hotels / restaurant willing to manipulate reviews and on the other hand Trip Advisor becoming too capitalised. In this way the strength of Trip Advisors’, objective reviews, is declining in a fast pace. Trip Advisor may cannibalise their own unique service. I really hope that Trip Advisor will help me in the future to ”book my best trip, every trip” (so as their slogan says).
I am quite curious what you guys think about this situation. Do you think Trip Advisor is becoming a victim of its own succes? How will Trip Advisors’ future look like? I think we are heading toward a situation where their is a double-edged sword in review platforms
Anderson Ph D, C. (2012). The impact of social media on lodging performance.