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Coaxing good reviews to improve your rating?

Houston, TX
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58 posts
106 reviews
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Coaxing good reviews to improve your rating?

I was wondering if there is a way to stop owners/managers from coaxing good reviews to improve the ratings on their property. I just happened to notice something curious yesterday. I had written a detailed review Dec 2010 that was critical of several things, said we would definitely not return and suggested alternatives. At that time there were only 5 prior reviews....one in 2004, two in 2008, one in 2009 and one in July of 2010. They were 4 and 5 stars so my 2 star probably brought it down. I see now that from the date of my review to today, basically a little over 2 years, 92 reviews have been posted, most are very short and 5 stars. It struck me as very coincidental that there were 5 reviews in 6 years, and right after I give a bad review, they get 92 reviews in 2 years. Almost seems like some management person would hear a positive comment and told them to write it on TripAdvisor....and I imagine if they heard a complaint, they didn't mention TripAdvisor at all of course. Is this my imagination, or does this happen? If it does happen, is there any way to stop it...seems unfair to me.

Kapaa, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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42,894 posts
3 reviews
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1. Re: Coaxing good reviews to improve your rating?

It's common. TA encourages owners to get their customers to write reviews. There is nothing in the guidelines against it. In fact, TA has tools for owners to use to get these reviews. Only thing is, yes, the vast majority will be good reviews. I mean, who is going to ask a customer to write a bad review?

Houston, TX
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58 posts
106 reviews
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2. Re: Coaxing good reviews to improve your rating?

Interesting....did not know that TripAdvisor encourages owners to do this. In all my years of traveling, I've never had a hotel or vacation rental manager mention TripAdvisor...I happened to discover it on my own. Absolutely love it by the way. I do not book ANYTHING until I see what TripAdvisor's contributors have to say. I've learned to weed through very bad or very good reviews that seem self-serving but sometimes when I'm in a hurry, I base it on the star rating and just glancing through a few most recent reviews. So in the case of my 2 star review, it would be something I would book based on the current reviews. Good to know....I will be more aware and read more reviews and not hurry into my decisions.

Candy Land
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1,766 posts
195 reviews
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3. Re: Coaxing good reviews to improve your rating?

possibly TA is just getting more and more popular and useful. about the coaxing, I have been approached twice for this. both times restaurants and one a high end restaurant which handed me a TA business card with their name on it. hopefully everyone can judge the false reviews, its to bad they manipulate the rankings.

Iowa
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1,440 posts
443 reviews
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4. Re: Coaxing good reviews to improve your rating?

I think a lot of it is that TA has gotten so much more popular and well known lately. It seems like every place has just way more reviews now. Even my tiny, small town now has several reviews for it's restaurants, all but two or three written within the past year. A year or two ago, those restaurants weren't even listed on TA!

Christchurch, New...
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49 posts
69 reviews
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5. Re: Coaxing good reviews to improve your rating?

My boyfriend and I travelled around south east Asia recently, for 6 weeks, and in that time we got asked countless times to review places on TripAdvisor. Not just in the big cities, but even in smaller out of the way places. We'd have an experience somewhere and at the end the staff would say, "If you had a great time, make sure to tell TripAdvisor!"

I don't think you should be too worried. Someone who didn't have a good experience isn't going to leave a good review just because the staff asked them to. But certainly it's a good idea to read the reviews anyway, as you get a feel for whether the critical reviews are just isolated misunderstandings or genuine complaints.

Sanibel Island...
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6,203 posts
4 reviews
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6. Re: Coaxing good reviews to improve your rating?

Ok to the O.P.

The business in question was listed by a guest several years ago and recieved all positive reviews....they wernt even aware they were listed or what T.A was...then you posted your negitive review...a guest or a friend said something to them in passing about your negitive review so they made certain to take time to see what the person was reffing and went to T.A and took a look.

Then they ordered T.A request cards and started to request reviews and made it part of their process with the guest to request a review.

See it all the time however this is just my opinion of what took place and dont know this for a fact.

S.C

Edited: 02 March 2013, 15:34
Houston, TX
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58 posts
106 reviews
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7. Re: Coaxing good reviews to improve your rating?

I have to agree with all the feedback....yes TripAdvisor has become more popular and although I personally have never been requested to do so, I HAVE noticed that when I go to a hotel, etc, I have seen those little signs that say "recommended by TripAdvisor". Interestingly enough I just bought a Fodor's travel book yesterday that advertised they use TripAdvisor reviews in coming up with their recommendations....and frankly that was one factor in me choosing that book over the other publishers. But because of that "power", I feel businesses are going to seek out positive reviews and not bad ones as msfuzz mentioned.

Again just because I feel I'm all of a sudden more aware of this, I noticed another interesting "tactic" to improve ratings. Last weekend, I stayed at a very nice hotel and got the usual email from the establishment thanking me for my patronage and would I please complete their survey or make comments. Since I had already submitted my review on TripAdvisor, I figured I'd do it later in the week when I had time. I checked my recent reviews last night because sometimes management will make a comment and was surprised to see that there were several short great reviews after I submitted mine. Yes, I was very happy with the hotel too but it was not a busy weekend so was surprised they got so many submissions....then noticed that most of them were submitted as "posted by a Wingate by Wyndham guest"....so I'm thinking when a hotel receives a positive survey, there's a way they just submit it to TripAdvisor. Again, can't fault the business for getting their ratings up, but we as users and readers need to really look at whose submitting, etc.

USA
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6,981 posts
236 reviews
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8. Re: Coaxing good reviews to improve your rating?

One of the things TripAdvisor considers fraud is "Selectively soliciting reviews -- by e-mail, surveys or any other means -- only from guests that have had a positive experience." …custhelp.com/app/…review

9. Re: Coaxing good reviews to improve your rating?

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Removed on: 03 March 2013, 11:38
Edited: 03 March 2013, 11:38
Houston, TX
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58 posts
106 reviews
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10. Re: Coaxing good reviews to improve your rating?

hoogo - but how can someone truly PROVE fraud? For example, I wouldn't say that the Wingate I recently stayed at was fraudulent. They emailed people for their opinion and then forwarded it on to TripAdvisor. But if they WERE trying to be fraudulent, how would anyone know if they are selecting choice reviews or not? It WAS a very good hotel and I don't doubt the people sending the positive reviews to the Wingate are truthful. That said, however, by forwarding on these reviews, the Wingate certainly helps to pad their positive status.

And I could be way off base here. I'm just ASSUMING the Wingate forwarded on the reviews simply because it said "Wingate by Wyndham guest" as opposed to something like mine that did not specify that title when I submitted my review. So my apologies if my accusations are wrong.

The whole point of my question was to me it seems a bit unfair that managers are allowed to solicit positive reviews. I never meant to insinuate that any of the reviews are fraudulent....simply that it seemed that positive ones are solicited.

But learning this has been very helpful for me. When choosing hotels, etc, it's good to look at all the reviews, where they are coming from, etc.