CNN published an article yesterday (access here) about the dynamics of online hotel reviews, based on a study that booking website Agoda conducted. With interesting results!
It seems like certain countries have specific traits in the personalities of their tourists that are prevalent when it comes to being guests at a hotel and the subsequent review of it. Are these simply high standards, an overall demanding attitude or simply a matter of expectation management?
The Agoda study (which you can access here) describes it as follows
Russian travelers tend to give the highest scores. As a group, they give hotel scores .56 review points higher than the global average. Egyptian, Irish and Polish travelers also give significantly higher scores. Chinese travelers placed in the top 10, coming in eighth.
The toughest reviewers are travelers from the UAE, who give scores .32 review points lower than average. Japanese, Omani and Indian travelers also give hotel review scores significantly lower than the norm. …
Travelers from Spain, Denmark, Canada, South Africa, Bahrain, Taiwan and South Korea submit reviews with scores closest to the global average. Their scores fall within .04 points of the norm.
I found these results very interesting as I would not have expected Russian tourists giving such high scores and Japanese tourist low ones. But thinking about it again, based on the culture and complaint behavior I can see how this could transpire. Japanese rarely complain in person but that doesn’t mean they are satisfied. It’s much easier to leave a negative (low score) review after the trip than confronting the establishment about the issues. From my travel experience and a few Russian friends I know first hand though that Russians are quite pragmatic and also don’t shy to complain if there is an issue. The matter gets solved and they have an overall better experience, hence the higher scores. Just an idea, no guarantee of course if it really comes together this way.
I have used online reviews such as Tripadvisor, Holidaycheck and review options on individual booking websites many times to leave a leave a realistic assessment of the property.
One problem hotels have to fight against are malicious reviews and for customers it’s often hard to spot ‘fake reviews’ that present the establishment is a too positive light. This study seems very balanced and realistic. Certainly worth a read.