I was reading an article the other day that claimed a positive review on Trip Advisor was now worth £10,000 and hotel owners are now being blackmailed for discounts and threatened with negative reviews if they don’t give them. The article stated:

Dozens of customers are using the website’s increasing power to try and get free upgrades or refunds despite nothing wrong with their accommodation.

Industry experts have said that a bad rating or review on the popular ratings site can be costly, sometimes to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds in lost bookings.

To be honest I didn’t find this story that shocking because I understand the power of a good and bad review because this is what I help my clients with everyday. Most of what I do in my day job is to get people to test products or services out and tell me and the world what they think of them. Sometimes they are positive and sometimes they aren’t.

I had a product earlier this year that was a great budget product but not a fantastic product when compared to far more expensive gadgets which is perfectly understandable.scrollexcel2 So when it started to review reasonably but not excellently – I advised the client that we should lead from the front with a flagship product. I saw it better to be outreaching a product which was still very reasonably priced but that also stood up against the competition in terms of features.

In fact, we did this recently with another of our clients Storage Options. The marketing team and us have developed a product which stands out in its class as being the best tablet PC under a certain price point (£300) and consequently, we got the product on The Gadget Show and it won best in class which we are all very proud of. The product in question was the Scroll Excel which has now completely sold out – in fact it sold out so much that I don’t even have my own version  yet but I have played around with the prototypes.

When I went on holiday this year to Cyprus the hotel manager sat us down and asked us how they could make the hotel better. He was asking us what we would do and it was very refreshing to see. He spent more than an hour with us and he reiterated how important a positive review was and said he felt some competitors even left fake negative reviews and this was very hard to combat against.

I think that should be looked at but overall I think the customer review situation has made hotels better places with higher standards and looking to improve their service. How can this be a bad thing?

I am all for power to the customer – we all need to be heard and if a hotel has terrible service then the world should know about it. The hotel then has to act and look to improve itself. I would advise the hotel to then invite the person back to see for themselves free of charge as that would convince me anyway. They should also think of some kind of incentive for giving reviews of the hotel as that could make people think of them more proactively.

About Chris Norton

Chris Norton is the founder of Prohibition and an award winning communications consultant with more than twenty years’ experience. He was a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and has had a varied PR career having worked both in-house and in a number of large consultancies. He is an Integrated PR and social media blogger and writes on a wide variety of blogs across a huge amount of topics from digital marketing, social media marketing right through to technology and crisis management.