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Marriott unique in decision to exclude reviews

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What would you do if you were in charge of including guest reviews to help guests decide on whether or not to stay with you….would you add them or not? Why? read the article and answer questions. Marriott unique in decision to exclude reviews ________________________________________ Story Highlights • “At this point, we pretty much decided not to have reviews,” said Shafiq Khan of Marriott International. • Including reviews “tends to be a win all the way around both for the hotel and the future guest,” said Tim Peter, managing director at Tim Peter & Associates. • “It’s growing to the point where it will become a diverse enough pool of people to give you good feedback in many areas,” said Cindy Estis Green of Kalibri Labs. Editor’s note: HotelNewsNow.com was invited to Washington, D.C., to conduct a private roundtable prior to HSMAI’s inaugural Chief Digital Officer Executive Roundtable. Present were six digital marketing thought leaders—four brand representatives and two consultants. During the 45-minute discussion, top executives shared their best practices, challenges and perceived opportunities in the digital marketing space. WASHINGTON, D.C.—Marriott International is one of a shrinking number of major chains that do not list consumer reviews on its brand websites. While representatives from La Quinta Inns & Suites, Wyndham Hotel Group and Best Western International chose to include reviews to keep consumers from seeking such feedback on sites such as TripAdvisor—which they consider a competitor—Marriott has chosen to go in a different direction, attempting to avoid the potential for a negative review that could dissuade a potential guest. The two consultants predicted that in the near future hoteliers will trust social media and user-generated feedback enough that will rely on it to replace legacy guest satisfaction programs. “We look at whether or not we need to have reviews on the website—whether that’s a net plus or net negative. And at this point, we pretty much decided not to have reviews. We can revisit that again shortly, and we may decide to include them. But so far we have very deliberately looked at putting reviews on the site and decided against it. “The reason for us really was that one negative out of 19 or 20 positives—that really affects the perception of the customer. And I think, in our case, we feel we have very good perception to start with, and that one negative review can have a damaging impact instead of the 19 that are not.” “We actually have user-provided reviews on our site since last summer/spring of 2012. It was something we wanted to do for a couple years, and we finally got the critical mass in terms of social media acceptance and hotels having a better understanding of the values of those channels. And we certainly know from a consumer value they appreciate that. We also know from watching traffic we have a lot of those who were going to TripAdvisor anyway, a competing website, going to TripAdvisor to understand what was being said about the hotels so it made sense to try to jumpstart that and try to make them stay on the site. So we’ve had good results from it. “We’ve also had (hoteliers) paying more attention to what the reviews are saying about their hotels, what the ratings look like, and so they take a more measured approach in how they respond to those reviews. So I think that learning and education process has been very strong for hotels, but we’ve certainly had some good consumer feedback on what we’ve done.” “We’ve decided to not only take it onto the website—ratings and reviews—we specifically picked TripAdvisor as a partner. We actually have launched a product to our franchisees and owners called WynReviews, which is a combination of Trip

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