I’m absolutely enthralled by the Olympics. Others may call it an obsession. By my count, I’ve logged at least 56 hours watching television coverage—and that’s a conservative estimate.
I’ll watch anything. Swimming, weight lifting, track and field, soccer—you name it. The athletic prowess on display in each and every event—even those deemed more trivial (read: table tennis)—just blows me away.
McKayla Maroney’s vault? Unbelievable!
Ye Shiwen’s lightning-quick pace in the pool? Simply nuts!
Usain Bolt blowing away the field in the 100 meter? You’ve got to be kidding!
The level at which these physical specimens and others compete during the games is inhuman. Maybe that’s why I’ve been taken aback to hear so much judgment being passed by every Tom, Dick and Jane who has a TV and the ability to formulate a complete sentence.
Everybody’s a critic all of a sudden. My parents. Those guys at the bar last weekend. My college roommates. Even those whose only physical exertion is picking up the remote control to fast forward through commercials chime in with brutal criticism.
Lochte blew that turn!
Gabby needs to tighten up that dismount!
Felix was slow as hell coming off the blocks!
I’m not immune to the trend either. I found myself yelling at the TV two nights ago, screaming at the greatest beach volleyball player of all time, Misty May-Treanor, for not hitting the precise angle on a spike.
Let’s face it folks, we’re an extremely judgmental bunch. And we’ve arguably gotten worse in the past decade or so. I blame “American Idol,” which glamorized the talent-evaluation process, confusing cruelty with critiques. I blame social media, which invited anyone with an Internet connection to share every thought and opinion, no matter how trivial or offensive. I blame …
Wait … now I’m getting too judgmental.
In the hotel realm, this wave of criticism is most visible on the bevy of customer-review platforms, most notably TripAdvisor. It’s received an extra jolt lately thanks to a slate of new reality TV shows in which hospitality experts verbally rip a property to shreds in the hopes of building it back up again.
The newest entrant to the field is Fox’s “Hotel Hell,” which debuts Monday night. Starring celebrity chef and cantankerous curmudgeon Gordon Ramsay, the show’s sure to feature a number of temper tantrums and blow ups that make that angry TripAdvisor review you got last week look like a well-meaning suggestion from a church-going grandma.
Monkey see, monkey do? Ramsey hopes so. In airing his gasket-blowing flip outs, the brash Brit hopes to set an example for the rest of the hotel-going public.
“As a nation, not just here in the U.S. but in the U.K. as well, we’re too polite,” he told reporters during the summer meeting of the TV Critics Association. “We need to complain more. We need to be out there more, and we need to either demand our money back or a credit, so we can have a better experience the next time we stay there, whether you’re with your two children, or on a romantic weekend getaway, or celebrating your wedding anniversary. In order for the industry to get better and for the hospitality sector to raise its game, we need to complain more.”
He may have a point. After all, if you’re doing a terrible job, you should be called out for it. But a sudden swell of customer complaints—especially those veiled behind the shroud of anonymity on sites such as TripAdvisor—could have the opposite effect. If they become the norm, hoteliers may begin to ignore them altogether.
Some already do. On the smart, constructive “Hotel Impossible” (which is like an ambitious, straight-A sibling to “Hotel Hell”) host and hotel vet Anthony Melchiorri often begins the rehab process by showing owners their negative online reviews. Many of these owners dismiss them outright. A common sentiment: “Everybody leaves negative reviews. They don’t mean anything.”
Which, as this intelligent base of readers understands, is simply not true. Case in point: A recent ReviewPro study found that hotel guests post four positive reviews for every one negative review. An additional analysis of 90 million hotel reviews found that 60% are positive, 28% are neutral and only 12% are negative. Furthermore, the average score on TripAdvisor has been cited at north of 3.5 out of 5.
So yes, we like to pass judgment. But the majority of that judgment is positive. So, if you receive a negative review, it’s likely for a reason and you should address it accordingly.
But don’t stress out if one or two negative reviews pop up amid a sea of positivity, said Henry Harteveldt of Atmosphere Research Group. “People don’t look at a single (hotel) review and make a decision based on that. They tend to look at the overall consensus.”
A few bad reviews here and there? Not the end of the world. But a consistent trail of negativity has consequences.
According to Atmosphere’s research, approximately nine out of 10 consumers said they’ve made a decision to some extent to avoid a hotel because of negative reviews. The good news? The name number (nine out of 10) said they’ve chosen to stay at a hotel in part because of positive reviews.
The moral of the story: Leverage the collective judgment of the masses to benchmark performance and identify areas of concern. Fail to heed this advice, and you’re a downright knucklehead. (Although that’s just my opinion.)
Now on to the usual goodies …
Stat of the week
0%: Shares TRT Holdings holding will have in Gaylord when it exits its investment in the company after failed attempts to disrupt the pending sale of Gaylord’s management company to Marriott International. Only last week TRT was the majority shareholder with a 21.8% stake in Gaylord.
Talking about going out with a whimper. After much saber rattling, TRT basically threw in the towel this week, agreeing to vote for Gaylord’s proposed transition to a REIT. Read all about the strange turn of events in “TRT to support Gaylord REIT move.”
Quote of the week
“To me it weakens Expedia on the hotel side. Before you would say, ‘I’m taking a hit on my ADR but it’s a guaranteed reservation because so few people cancel on Expedia.’ Now, the flipside is they can cancel every time. It will increase the amount of people who don’t even bother to cancel because they’ve given you a credit card you can’t charge.”
—Jennifer Rota, GM of the Distrikt Hotel in New York, expressing concerns over Expedia’s proposed Traveler Preference program, as reported in “Sector reacts to Expedia’s new agency model.”
Comment of the week
“Revenue managers will be happy with the higher ADRs but owners will flip out when they see the spike in commissions as it becomes all to [sic] clear how much TPI rooms really cost. Online TA reservations cost 10% and now TPIs are going to move from a merchant model back to a TA model and charge 15% to 30% or more? Simply amazing.”
—Commenter “Amos” adding his opinion to the Expedia Traveler Preference program, which is only in the very preliminary stages.
Email Patrick Mayock or find him on Twitter.
The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of HotelNewsNow.com or its parent company, Smith Travel Research and its affiliated companies. Bloggers published on this site are given the freedom to express views that may be controversial, but our goal is to provoke thought and constructive discussion within our reader community. Please feel free to comment or contact an editor with any questions or concerns.