February 14, 2011
Do you trust TripAdvisor alone when booking hotels and accommodation?
New Government and and a new tack on tourism.
How do you choose your hotel, bed and breakfast or indeed any short-break accommodation – Check their website? Look for feedback? Ask a friend?
The Government, it seems, is potentially disbanding the official star-rating system that many (surely most of us?) use as a simple reference point when setting out on a search. We instinctively trust its objectivity, whilst recognising the limitations of categorising properties into just five bands. At its simplest, we don’t expect a carpeted bathroom if we book a four-star hotel nor march to reception if we have to share a bunk-room in a one-star hostel. It hardly sorts the wheat from the chaff, but at least it narrows the field.
Consumer voice alone is set to become all-powerful, with the like of TripAdvisor and other consumer review websites apparently offering more accurate information than the stars allocated by VisitBritain.
As a businessman I applaud reduced bureaucracy and as a hotelier recognise the value of positive, speedy feedback and openly display the TripAdvisor reviews received for The Guesthouse East on my homepage. I also appreciate the potential flaws; the malicious responses, underhand reviews from competitors and downright subjectivity. I would never base a decision that can fundamentally affect the success of a holiday on a consumer review alone.
Maybe I should sit back and wait for the Tourism Strategy from the Department for Media, Culture and Sports to be announced. Or maybe I should prime my mother for a glowing report on my accommodation…..
Let me know what you think.