The individual portals: TripAdvisor
When planning my next vacation…
… I increasingly catch myself surfing the internet to gather information on both the chosen destination and accommodation. An occupational illness? That may well be.
Among the top search results from Google, TripAdvisor appears towards the top of the list. Let’s take a look at this platform in some more detail.
By their own account, TripAdvisor is “the world’s largest travel website.”
Similar to other portals, with TripAdvisor you can search by country, region, city or for the hotel name directly. In addition, thanks to further links there exists the possibility of querying hotels for availability, finding flight connections, discovering “the best of,” getting travel ideas, and following the forum. You should get the opinion that there’s something for everyone.
Yet how informative is TripAdvisor really when it comes to the services/reviews of a hotel?
The evaluation system on this portal consists of points. 5 points = outstanding, while 1 point = unsatisfactory. The user is permitted to post for up to one year retroactively, and all reviews (regardless of how far back they may go) are incorporated into the overall score! Also listed is that accommodation’s current position in the hotel ranking of the desired city, for example, No. 35 of 350.
What’s new is the rating system of the members (users) who submit reviews. The color changes depending on the number of reviews written. Thus, there are: Contributors /Reviewer / Senior Contributor and Senior Reviewer.
The free selection of one’s username remains the same, however. Nicknames such as Happy, Smile, Sun, Moon and Stars animatedly review hotels without the hotelier’s being able to guess who may be hiding behind these pseudonyms. TripAdvisor has already implemented heightened measures to verify the authenticity of its members; yet in spite of this, the system is not designed in such a way that allows us really to get the information we’re seeking.
It’s indeed possible for hotels to submit response statements; however, there are “strict” rules – so-called guidelines – to which one has to adhere. Should the response not be considered suitable, it will not be approved and the review will be left unanswered. This appears unprofessional and the hotel management is left with whatever reputation the reviews may suggest.
Greater transparency and simplicity are therefore desirable, but let’s be honest: Why do we hide behind pseudonyms? What is the fascination with them? If everyone had to register with his or her full name, the whole hype surrounding user-written (so-called fake reviews), anonymous and indeterminable authors – and hence unconstructive criticism – would not even be possible.
Word of honor: Are you User Nightdancer?
More on pseudonyms in a later blog entry.