Statistics Unmast Phony Online Reviews

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Generic's picture
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Interesting article...

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/428222/statistics-unmask-phony-online-reviews/?nlid=nldly&nld=2012-06-18

Review patterns should look like a letter J. Hummm. So basically mostly 4, less 5s and then trailing down with 3s, 2s and finally 1s. 

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Joey Camb's picture
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I did a review just recently that they flagged up as a fake (it was a place I had genuinely been) was super cross, think it was because I was very detailed which I am as I know what I would be looking for as a guest ie free parking, cleanliness etc wrote another review less detailed see if it takes.

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Weaver's picture
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Here is my take on this, B n Bs are personal, the guests know who you are, hotels are just employees.  People love to say something bad - human nature.  Because of the high level of service everyone here and for the most part all B n B owners/inn keepers strive for, the nature of the review(s) is more real than say an more anonymous hotel with someone wearing a name tag not a person that they shared the same home with for the past 24 to 48 hours.

It is easy to slam a huge hotel with 200 rooms, no one can remember every guest, but a B n B with 4-20 rooms the inn keeper is not only more likely to respond but know exactly who wrote the review. 

So bad reviews for B n B IMVHO are fewer not just due to the higher level of personal service, but the more personal nature of the service.  Bad reviews I think are exaggerated for hotels or other more faceless businesses and services, because it is easy to complain when no one can call you out on it.

Fake reviews are different - BnB are less likely to see these IMVHO again due to the personal nature of the accommodations.  This does not however address the plain mean spirited people who will whine and complain no matter what you do.  I believe there is a name for them  PITA

 

 

 

 

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 I tried to stay awake for Hotel Impossible, I really did, esp since he was going to an inn in Branson MO. But the one comment on the first show in Miami he stated clearly. Something like "There are 7000 things that can go wrong for a guest, you have control over this one, so this one should be done the best!"  He was referring to their complimentary breakfast outside in the patio area.

So as we say, at an inn, things may not be perfect, but having an on-site caring innkeeper makes up for it! At a hotel it is easy to see what is wrong and not see the real people, the family or couple owning operating and busting their butt to make everything special for you!

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Madeleine's picture
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That was the one where he told them to put the cheap food at the beginning of the line so the plates are full by the time they get to the expensive stuff.

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Madeleine wrote:

That was the one where he told them to put the cheap food at the beginning of the line so the plates are full by the time they get to the expensive stuff.

Nope, a diff episode. Same city.

He also read their amenities and found FREE WIFI and went on about that, that this is the #1 pet peeve of travelers, not having free wifi at their hotel, he said. (I say this and everyone says that almost all hotels offer it and I am nuts).

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 I remembered to DVR it last night so hopefully will look at it tonight.

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I can understand the J thing, but in reality it doesn't apply to us for the most part. All of our reviews are real people, I know each and every one who stayed here, haven't many reviews, and haven't had any since last fall! But mine are no J pattern.  Now for the bandb.com cards we were asked to have guests fill in, THOSE would be in a J for sure. 

I believe unless a person is reviewing every single place they went to on a trip, then the reviewers are only there because they were in love with the place and they adored it, or they got peeved off and hated it, there rarely are any in between, imo.

       The mediocre are not reviewed.

              The mediocre do not review.

Madeleine's picture
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That was another thing...they looked at the reviewers and how they wrote the reviews. If the reviews were spaced apart they took that reviewer more seriously. Why? Because a bunch of reviews written at the same time might be somewhat sketchier than reviews apparently written 'on the spot'? You might be forgetting the actual stay if it looks like you're sitting in the airport writing them all at once? (Which is what I do.)

Generic's picture
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Which of course is what T/A wants you to do, because if you write them while on the B&B's wifi, they immediately think it's the owner faking reviews.

Madeleine's picture
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I didn't notice where the article explained why there should be a lot of 1 star reviews. It said that, but didn't explain why there should be 'a lot' of them. How can they tell that 1 star ratings aren't the false ones put in by the competition? It was more like they were proving falseness by lots of excellent reviews when superlatively bad reviews can be false as well. Unless I just read the whole thing wrong.

Generic's picture
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Actually, I thought that they were inverting... that 1s were the best and 5s were the worst, for some reason. But essentially what I got was that if someone was horribly bed that they would bunch up around 1 and 2, with less 1s than 2s. And if they were wonderful that they would bunch up around 4 and 5, with less 5s than 4s. Which seems to be generally true of hotels and restaurants. 

When I really wonder about a cheat is when you see an inverted bell curve. Lots of 1s and 5s for me is a sign to RUN AWAY.

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Madeleine wrote:

I didn't notice where the article explained why there should be a lot of 1 star reviews. It said that, but didn't explain why there should be 'a lot' of them. How can they tell that 1 star ratings aren't the false ones put in by the competition? It was more like they were proving falseness by lots of excellent reviews when superlatively bad reviews can be false as well. Unless I just read the whole thing wrong.

Funny I thought the opposite, in the hotel world, the real life example I had with someone reviewing the same place we spent 4 nights and lied about every aspect of this resort, down to the water in the pool being all green and the pool closed, which it wasn't.

Or perhaps the negative reviews inspire false reviews as way of rebuttal? That could be what they mean. I could see that.

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Madeleine wrote:

I didn't notice where the article explained why there should be a lot of 1 star reviews. It said that, but didn't explain why there should be 'a lot' of them. How can they tell that 1 star ratings aren't the false ones put in by the competition? It was more like they were proving falseness by lots of excellent reviews when superlatively bad reviews can be false as well. Unless I just read the whole thing wrong.

 " Furthermore, he says, if a purchase generally meets expectations, the buyer is usually less moved to write a review than if the experience was extremely positive or extremely negative. "

In other words the extremes write the most reviews in his opinion

 

Madeleine's picture
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I'm still not seeing why there should be a lot of bad reviews. If the 'product' is good why should there be a lot of bad reviews of it?

gillumhouse's picture
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I am with you on that. I have one or two "lukewarm" but most of mine are glowing - because there is nothing to knock me for (well not that much anyway).

Silverspoon's picture
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 Getting 5* reviews on TA is one area that we have worked hard on...and succeeded for the most part.  Our lowest rating is a lone 3* from back in 2004 by a guest who was mad that she did not have access to our private area.  However, TA does not particularly like the fact that we get such good reviews.    TA  flagged the last guest who posted a review as a fake and they would not post her review.  

Well, let me tell you, there was fire in my e-mails to TA...how dare they!!!  I produced all the content of the several e-mails between this lovely guest  and me as we sorted out the reasons for TA holding up her review.  In the end, TA did post her review but I do not think they ever apologized to her for calling her a fake.

We get very few guests who have ever posted on TA so most of our reviews are written by newbies.  And, of course, I NEVER request a review from a guest that had a less than perfect stay with us.  Sometimes the 4* reviews are welcome in that we get a chance to address some of the issues in the review, which helps to clarify what we are and what we are not. 

In our market, if we had an equal # of 5*s and 1*s we would be buried somewhere down in the #300 best inn in the area and no one would give us a second look.  So that J distribution may work in some areas but it would be a disaster in ours.

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Madeleine's picture
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We've had 3 guests in the past 2 weeks ask us where would we like them to post a review. Not a single one has shown up. Most guests won't follow thru if TA denies their review. One of the guests is a former innkeeper so he knows the importance of getting the reviews. The other 2 guests travel all the time and write reviews wherever they go.

I'm not even trying to go up the ratings chain. I just want to stay where I am!

Silverspoon's picture
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When TA called this guest a fake she wrote to say, "Good luck...I have done as much as I can." She did not follow up and I could not ask her to without feeling like I was harassing her.  

I'm not trying to move us up but if we don't get reviews we won't stay even.  We usually fall back to the second page as the summer goes on because the big places start cranking out guest reviews.  That's OK with me because we are just about full for the summer now and don't need so much exposure in July and August.  But it is really imperative that we stay #1 in our town or we will lose business to the large, well rated inns in town.  Since they are only open seasonally, they usually fall back in the rankings over the winter as we continue to have guest reviews and move up.  That works out well for us as we get many of our longer reservations for the summer booked in Feb and March, when our overall ranking is at its best.

I can't believe that I even think about this....hate having to ask for reviews.  But it is a fact of life for B+Bs today if they want to remain credible. 

Madeleine's picture
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I used to ask for reviews. I got just as many as not asking so I stopped. Figured no one was interested. It's odd. We seem to attract a guest type that has no online life at all. How they find us is a mystery!

I agree we have to get reviews just to stay even. I've had it happen that a place with 10 reviews has knocked me down a notch by getting newer reviews when I was getting none. We average about 2/month. But they come all at once.

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