It’s no bombshell hotels respond to TripAdvisor reviews more than those on Expedia.
TripAdvisor’s business is reviews, which are only a fraction of Expedia’s operation — and a bad review on TripAdvisor carries a sting that hotels fear.
But hotels should consider giving the user reviews on one-time TripAdvisor sister brand Expedia a closer look. Two Boston University researchers did a study of all hotel reviews on TripAdvisor and Expedia from the time they launched until the end of 2013. They examined traveler reviews and hotel response behavior across more than 5,300 hotels on TripAdvisor and more than 3,800 on Expedia.
According to the set included in the study, TripAdvisor actually gets 60% the amount of reviews Expedia receives overall, yet TripAdvisor reviews receive a 31% response rate compared to Expedia’s 2% rate.
TripAdvisor’s reviews are not from verified guests, as they are at Expedia and rivals such as Booking.com.
Expedia had nearly 520,000 hotel reviews, when only looking at this data set, compared to TripAdvisor’s roughly 315,000. Expedia received 11,781 hotel responses compared to TripAdvisor’s 99,178.
About 4,600 hotels in the study received TripAdvisor reviews compared to 3,356 receiving Expedia reviews, both over 80% of the total number of hotels analyzed. Of this number, 56% of hotels responded to TripAdvisor reviews, versus only 17% responding on Expedia.
Five-star rated TripAdvisor reviews had the highest response percentage, but not by much, 36% to one-star’s 30%.
“Hotels generally responded equally to both negative and positive reviews,” said Giorgos Zervas, the professor who led the study. “Before starting the study, we would have expected to see more responses to negative reviews, but we weren’t certain about it.”
The study also found subsequent reviews were only 0.1 stars more positive on TripAdvisor after reviewers started receiving hotel responses. Zervas and his partner, Davide Proserpio, reached this conclusion after focusing on some individual TripAdvisor users by looking at their review history.
“Comparing the information available for any given hotel on the two sites highlights this distinction: while TripAdvisor prominently displays a hotel’s reviews, Expedia displays a booking form, prices for the various room types, and the hotel’s average rating,” said Zervas. “Individual reviews are only available on a secondary page accessible by following a link on the hotel’s main Expedia page.”
It’s also worth noting for TripAdvisor the difference in number of reviews between hotels with pages on both sites not necessarily having reviews and those with pages on both sites with reviews is 5,000, respectively, whereas there’s virtually no difference for Expedia.
For hotel responses, there’s a difference of about 1,000 for TripAdvisor, but no difference for Expedia.
Additionally, hotels with pages on both sites each having reviews had a higher response rate than those with pages on both sites not necessarily having reviews, 67% to 70% for TripAdvisor contrasted to Expedia continuing its flatline at 17%.