The ‘Trip Advisor’ Effect

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The ‘Trip Advisor’ Effect

“The life of a critic is a risk free one” Anon.

Over that past year I’ve been taking more and more interest in the effects that Trip Advisor (TA) can have on a business, both positive and negative.  As often as not when chatting to client’s TA comes up in the conversation.  Mostly when they’ve had a review that they felt was unjust.

It used to be said that someone who had a poor experience told four times as many people about that experience than if they had a good experience.  Now both good and bad experiences are relayed to thousands of readers via TA.

What I’ve come to realise is that as humans, we build an expectation of the experience we are about to receive, often based upon pre-formed opinions mainly built on-line and as time goes by more and more consumers will turn to TA to guide them as to where to eat, drink and sleep.  Often, I’ll sit doing paperwork on a client’s business premises and ill overhear visitors to the area who have chosen to come to the site based upon TA reports.

Let me relay the experience I had in the Lake District whilst away for the weekend.  The 1st restaurant we visited promised great things with its £68 a head set menu, canapes, amuse bouche, three courses, coffee and petit fours.  Service was terribly formal and you felt like you were sitting in the Headmaster’s study.  With high expectations I started to be critical of the experience; the way staff interacted with the customer, not clearing tables correctly, timing issues, even a fingerprint on the butter, just small things which in themselves weren’t much but took the edge off what should have been a 5 star meal.

On our second night we’d booked into a restaurant called Hooked in Windermere due to positive feedback on TA.  As our booking was for 8.30pm we were pre-warned that a few of the dishes might have sold out, indeed this was the case but as the restaurant had managed our expectations it was fine.  Had they not warned us we’d no doubt have been a little miffed.  Hooked was a small restaurant with a simple menu and few staff but I’ve no doubt it is a successful business and the owner knows how to build its TA ranking.

Reacting to Poor Reviews

Everyone has their own idea as to how to react, some never comment, some get defensive and some reply with humour and some good put downs.  It’s down the individual, however I think the public can see through some of the poor reviews and form an overall opinion of a site, probably by discounting the best and worst reviews and forming an average message in their mind.

What is clear is that if you are being told the same thing over and over again you shouldn’t discount it.

Richard Macdonald, RCM Stocktaking.





About the Author:

Richard is the owner of RCM Stocktaking Solutions Ltd which provide Stock Auditing services to the licensed / restaurant / hospitality sector.