News: Starwood enter review arena

You may have seen the news this week that Starwood Hotels and Resorts have decided to start collecting guests reviews.  We all know that reviews and other user-generated content is a big talking point for hoteliers, with so many challenging the authenticity and genuine nature of reviews left on websites like TripAdvisor.  This is where as a hotelier you need to have a clear strategy in place to monitor your online presence and ensure you know what people are saying, and dealing with this in the correct manner.  Starwood have taken this into their own hands somewhat….

Starwood have announced that they will now allow guests to review their stay at any Starwood property on their website.  This is a clever and somewhat brave move, but also an unsurprising one.  We have seen more and more hotel chains trying to combat what’s going on in the online review space, and collating your own guest reviews is one way to ensure that each review is genuine.  Other hotel chains such as Premier Inn have already introduced this – in this case, alongside TripAdvisor reviews on their own website.

Guests will be able to:

• Rate and review your stay at any Starwood Hotel or Resort worldwide
• Read real, authenticated reviews written by guests and SPG members
• Sort reviews by the filters that matter most to you
• Mark reviews as helpful or not
• Share your favorite reviews
• Available only on SPG.com and on Starwood hotel websites

Of course, not everyone can implement something like this.  Small hotel chains and independents will find it much more difficult and of course, costly.  Will people use it as well as/instead of TripAdvisor?  Time will tell.  But again, with Starwood being such a global brand, there are plenty of ways to entice guests to review their stay – free SPG points maybe?

With the size of Starwood, it simply makes sense to have chosen this strategy and I am sure other worldwide hotel chains will follow suit.

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