Over the past several years Market Metrix has tracked the rising popularity of user generated reviews. These results track the substantial and growing number of hotel guests (business, leisure and group) that are checking consumer reviews before booking and then sharing their experiences online. This increase in user generated content means that traditional, controlled messages through TV, magazine, and direct mail now have to compete with the trusted words of fellow consumers. Research indicates that individuals are more inclined to believe other guests than more formal forms of promotion methods.

But are hotels acknowledging this game-changing shift in communication? Are they attempting to regain control by participating in the dialogue, responding to negative reviews and taking action to drive improvement in the guest experience? Are they finding new insight and opportunity from their own and competitor reviews?

A recent survey conducted by Market Metrix and TripAdvisor focused on these questions. How are hotels perceiving and responding to the growing importance of user reviews? Are they embracing or ignoring this significant new trend?

Our sample included hotels registered on TripAdvisor as well as a mix of hotels from all industry segments. The consensus among these hotel managers is that review sites, such as TripAdvisor, are important to hotels. An impressive 90% of hotel managers think reviews are very important and nearly as many (81%) visit review sites at least weekly. Although some managers expressed concern about the authenticity of reviews, many described their dependence on these sites (e.g.,