Starwood Hotels to publish online customer reviews

By Barbara De Lollis

Starwood later today will launch a first-ever online review function – a first-ever move by a U.S. global hotel company that gives its customers a high-profile voice and potential influence with other guests.

The new function will let Sheraton, Westin, W and other Starwood-brand hotel customers write their assessment of their recent hotel stay directly on Starwood websites, senior Starwood executive Chris Holdren tells Hotel Check-In.
Anyone will be able to read the reviews and share them via social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Starwood hopes that by giving customers the chance to write reviews, they’ll be more engaged with the company and more likely to book repeat stays.

Risky move?
So far, none of Starwood’s biggest rivals such as Marriott and Hilton have attempted to post customer reviews.
Doing so, after all, could be risky if reviewers expose weak points, such as a nasty hotel staffer, broken air conditioning unit or inadequate Wi-Fi connection. But Holdren says that’s not a big concern.
“We are confident in our hotels,” Holdren, the senior vice president who runs the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program, tells me.

Reviews will lead to hotel ratings
Once enough reviews have been written about a hotel, Starwood will use the data to give the hotel a rating that ranges from “1” being the worst to “5” being the best.
To make the process uniform, Starwood created “rating categories” for the following areas: “Overall Rating,” “Room Comfort,” “Staff Met My Needs,” “Room Cleanliness” and “SPG Recognition.”
Guests will be able to filter content by “Star Rating,” “Purpose of Travel,” “Frequency of Travel,” “SPG Level,” “Above/Met Expectations” and “Below Expectations.”
Since some reviews will clearly emphasize negative experiences, Starwood has bolstered its system to follow up complaints with individual hotels, he says.
Starwood, like other hotel giants, already had a system in place to perform a similar function as it relates to negative comments on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Get the full story on USA Today


Posted on October 25, 2011, in Hospitality Digital Marketing Services, Social Media Tools and Strategies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Excellent – I wondered when hotels would take control of their own guests’ comments – as was previously in the paper comment card days.

    Lodging Interactive has a similar platform

    and Get Satisfaction has been around for quite awhile

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