Those reviews carry demonstrable weight. A study by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research found that for every percentage point a hotel improves its online reputation, its “RevPAR” (revenue per available room) goes up by 1.4 percent; for every point its reputation improves on a five-point scale, a hotel can raise prices by 11 percent without seeing bookings fall off.
The impact of the so-called TripAdvisor effect can be enormous. When a group of researchers at Ireland’s University College Dublin examined hotel reviews in the Las Vegas market between 2007 and 2009, and compared the data with reviews in the Irish market (where, they noted, TripAdvisor was a more “recent phenomenon”), they found that while ratings in Las Vegas remained more or less constant during that period, in Ireland they rose from 3.6 to 3.8 bubbles. Their takeaway: as Irish managers scrambled to respond to the novelty that was TripAdvisor, hotels actually got better. Additionally, responses to customer reviews more than tripled over the two years of the study.
I also liked this traveler’s review of Angkor Wat:
(1 bubble) “BORING!!!”
“It’s just a bunch of fancy rocks on top of other fancy rocks, inside a hot Jungle.”