It is interesting that Expedia touts the new feedback tool for hoteliers as a way to discourage negative reviews instead of as a means for improving customer service. There is something wrong with the juxtaposition.
Expedia.com over the years has built up a substantial collection of verified hotel reviews from guests who booked a stay through the online travel agency, and now it is offering hoteliers a tool designed to head off negative reviews that could be posted on Expedia sites and elsewhere.
After guests arrive at a hotel they receive an email or app notification asking them three questions: “How was your check in?;” “How is your room?” and “Are you happy with the location?”
The new mobile-oriented Real Time Feedback tool, which Expedia touts as a response to hoteliers “who wanted more support in securing positive hotel reviews,” enables guests to reply to these questions with answers such as “I didn’t have towels in my room.”
The idea is that hoteliers can receive the feedback while guests are still staying at the property and can correct any poor service or make up for it while guests are still on-site and before they post a tell-all negative review on Expedia or other review sites.
“Our hotel partners have told us time and again that their feedback to a negative review is simply ‘I wish the guest had told us, as we would’ve corrected the issue,’” says John Kim, chief product officer, Expedia Inc. “So our product team began ideating how we could troubleshoot that, and Real Time Feedback was born.”
This feedback process is distinct from standard review processes around the Web, which generally doesn’t involve review sites passing along the review to the hotelier, although hoteliers usually have the right to reply to reviews after they are posted.
One potential downside of the tool from a consumer standpoint is that the Expedia feedback tool would make it easier for hotels to identify guests writing negative reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor because the hotelier knows the real names of guests who may be providing feedback through the tool about poor service. Sites such as Expedia.com and Tripadvisor enable travelers to post reviews without using their real names.
In other news, Expedia released a Sell Tonight tool for hoteliers in select markets in the U.S. that enables them to get more intelligence about same-day rates.
The Sell Tonight tool informs Expedia’s hotel partners about same-day rates in their markets, and facilitates their offering competitive same-day rates and availabilities to customers.
Photo credit: Not all guests are as happy with their hotel experience as the woman in the photo seemingly is at Porto Bay Rio International in Rio de Janeiro on September 25, 2014. Expedia is rolling out a feedback tool that enables hoteliers to get guests comments about their stays when they are still in the hotel. Poerto Bay Rio Inernacional / Flickr