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Archive for 19 febrero 2007

Hotel opinions

Travel websites cracking down on bogus customer reviews
Comments: 12
Travel websites are clamping down on fake online ‘user’ reviews which could be damaging their business.According to a debate at the Reuters Hotels and Casinos 2007 Summit in Los Angeles this week, illegitimate reviews are sometimes posted on to sites by hotels wanting to make their property look good.

Priceline.com says it is coping with the problem by only allowing users to post their views only if its records show the person has stayed at the hotel.

Meanwhile, TripAdvisor employs a team trained in fraud detection to monitor fake reviews and has software which continually tracks the reviews for anomalies.

It said hotels which try to go against the system are penalised.

“A handful of hotels try to manipulate the site and most don’t do it very cleverly,” said a TripAdvisor UK spokesman.

“It tends to be the smaller establishments that are a little bit naive. It’s not worth it for any hotel because if we catch them at it we will penalise them.

“It’s done on a case by case basis depending on how naughty they’ve been. One hotel in Wales was asking its customers that if they’d had a good time, could they contact TripAdvisor, which is fine, but they were also giving customers photos to put up on the site, which is a bit naughty.

“Other hotels blatanty try and post positive reviews and we will have no hesitation by naming and shaming and dropping their popularity rating. It can ruin their reputation. But it is very much the exception.”

By Bev Fearis

 
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USER COMMENTS
 
Glynis Wieczorek, 18 February 2007, 12:17:44 GMT
Reply to Holiday from hell type progs.
We have discussion forums at holidaytruths.co.uk where we have an advice/complaints forum specifically for complaints. Travel law solicitor Ros Fernihough often assists our members.We are asked by TV holiday programmes for assistance and we do so as the prime objective of both our sites is to try and ensure that holidaymakers have a safe and happy holiday.

We have saved countless people from going to a hotel that wasn’t finished being built and also to hotels that were found to have an infection outbreak at the time.

If anyone posts a really negative review, we tend to remove it and email the reviewer asking them to post in our complaints forum for assistance.

We also state that readers should use review sites as a guide only as everyone has their own idea of a perfect holiday.

 
Gary Hewitt, 17 February 2007, 11:56:57 GMT
To Hazel
Well I’m glad we agree on something then Hazel, the short descriptions being the best I mean.Now while I have no doubt that you have visited plenty of hotels in your time, you still sell your wares by telling your customers your opinion of the hotel they are looking to book.

So what’s the difference then, between your opinion of a hotel and mine?

Because you disagree with what I think of it, doesn’t mean you’re right.

If you’d stayed in 20,000 hotels in the last couple of years, as our users have, I’d have to bow to your greater judgement, but until then, I’ll continue to use http://www.RealHolidayReports.Com.

 
Arnold Stewart, 17 February 2007, 09:51:52 GMT
Negative sites
I agree Chris that your site currently seems more positive. My particular problem is with TripAdvisor.It has a much higher profile (at least as I perceive it) compared to yours and whilst it doesn’t openly go after negative comments, it seems to attract them and, for the most part, only very negative ones at at that. Look up just about anywhere that they list and you’ll find that almost all of the comments fall into the “very negative” category with relatively few good comments.

Even in places that are clearly excellent still end up with massive numbers of negative comments. Anywhere that doesn’t fall into the “absolutely excellent” category (ie isn’t a five star place) usually ends up with only very negative comments.

I gather that you guys are more careful in checking up on the comments coming in thereby presumably weeding out the “griping for the sake of griping” type of comment, but TA don’t do that and appear to take anything that comes along. I’ve even seen comments on TA which blame the hotel on a cancelled wedding when it was cancelled because the groom pulled out!

Sites such as your own offer a commendable alternative but the problem is that, at the moment, your profile is relatively low.

 
Hazel Dinnen, 17 February 2007, 08:57:50 GMT
in reply to Gary Hewitt
No Gary I do not think using a brochure which is out of date would be the answer, it should of course be just another tool of the trade. I have worked in hotels and as a travel agent for the past 8 years and do know the difference between a good post or just another gripe on the Holiday Web Reports. Of course everyone’s expectations are different and I always take that into consideration when reading these feedbacks. However I mentioned before about having stayed in hotels which have had “bad reviews” and not found this to be true. I find 1st hand experience to be the best selling tool but have been beaten by poor reviews on the Web which are either untrue or as I said simply nit picking. The most honest reviews tend to be the short ones, brief descriptions, likes dislikes etc…….

 
Chris Brown, 17 February 2007, 00:07:49 GMT
To Arnold Stewart
I have to disagee with your comment regarding review sites only being ussed for negative comments. Over 80% of the reviews submitted to holidaywatchdog.com rated their holidays 6 out of 10 or higher.In their defence the sites that ask and look for ‘holiday disasters’ & ‘Holidays from Hell’ are the ones helping to push television programmes such as ‘Holidays from Hell’ rather than the site in question looking for poor holiday experiences.

 
Gary Hewitt, 16 February 2007, 15:14:57 GMT
Only Honest Reviews
I’ve been validating reports on Real Holiday Reports.Com for about 6 years and can usually tell a bogus one by just looking at it.
By the same principle, I look at other sites like ours and wonder how they have huge written sections from the reviewer, while we get quite a few with just a couple of lines.!In reply to a comment by Arnold Stewart, what you don’t see on our site, are the personal details of the reviewer which we store separately to contact and verify their review, if there’s a complaint by the hotel manager or owner. The decision to remove the review is then taken.

Hazel Dinnen says of ‘untrue’ reviews she’s read, as she’s stayed at those Hotels and they were fine. But Hazel, what you expect from a particular accommodation can be totally different to what I might expect. You should use a review site as one of the many tools available on the net, to thoroughly investigate the Hotel your about to book, you can then make a more informed decision to stay there or not.

Or would you have us go back to the days of just a printed brochure made 6 months before.?

 
Arnold Stewart, 16 February 2007, 19:15:27 GMT
Why stay anywhere?
The approach from Glynis and Jonathan is commendable. However, I think that the main problem with “review” sites is that there is a tendency for them to be used almost exclusively for negative comments.Tripadvisor in particular seems to only attract the negative. We’ve looked up what we’d consider excellent hotels only to find that 90% of the reviews are negative and, on the whole, very negative.

Whilst I do appreciate that most of these sites couldn’t realistically go out and inspect the hotels concerned, I think that more needs to be done to encourage the positive comments.

We look at a few hotel reviews now and again and I honestly don’t know why anyone would stay in any hotel mentioned on Tripadvisor (mainly read as a comic by us!). That’s not to say that their hotels are dreadful but that they tend to encourage (or at least attract) negative comments to such an extent that any hotel listed by them for any amount of time is sure to end up with 90%+ very negative comments.

Also worrying is the emergence of sites specifically looking for “holiday disasters”.

 
Jonathan Ashworth, 16 February 2007, 12:39:37 GMT
Use your best judgement!
This is a problem we take seriously at holidaywatchdog.com. We too use good people and software to catch unscrupulous reviewers. You can usually tell if a well known, really bad hotel suddenly has a shining review, it’s obvious that’s it’s fake. We decided to implement video reviews on the site to combat this. This almost removes the need for written reviews as people can actualy see what the hotel is like for themselves, on video. As this initiative grows, it will offer more and more for the consumer. The trouble with written reviews is that one person’s idea of a shabby hotel is another’s idea of a palace so you have to read between the lines sometimes.

 
Arnold Stewart, 16 February 2007, 13:09:32 GMT
Bogus guests
The other side of bogus reviewing also needs to be addressed too ie that from “guests”. We have received three separate reviews from guests who didn’t even turn up and all three negative because we charge the no-show fee which they agree to when they book.Two sites did remove the review from the non-guests but Tripadvisor didn’t so we’re sitting with a very negative review from someone who never even stayed with us.

Now I’ll grant that TA can’t just take our word that the people didn’t turn up as obviously that could let people say that X wasn’t a guest whenever X gave a negative review, but there must be some onus on them to get some confirmation that the guests actually did stay. At the moment, we could very easily put negative comments against all our competitors with no comeback at all.

 
Glynis Wieczorek, 16 February 2007, 12:27:07 GMT
Holiday-Truth.Com
We at http://www.holiday-truth.com, one of the longest running hotel review websites, do not allow posts from the country where the accommodation is situated.We check the isp of the posters. We remove the review ratings, edit the post to add an admin message to show that a potentially false report has been made, as shown:-
http://www.holiday-truth.com/holiday_truths/hotel_reviews/6316/Alagoa%20Guesthouse%20/

(This is obviously more difficult if the accommodation is British based)

 
Jon Moody, 16 February 2007, 12:26:40 GMT
Fake and be damned
What may seem like a good idea at the monthly marketing meeting often ends in calamity. At Asomo, we’ve been monitoring and extracting intelligence from online consumer dailogue for hotel chains, airlines and tourism authorities(other non-travel companies) for 3 years and our Information Brokers can usually spot the fakes. With the possible exception of 4 and 5 star hotel reviews, a fair balance of positive and negative comments for a particular hotel usually indicates genuine customer sentiment and I think most travellers can spot that. Whether the hotel groups and other companies are prepared to leverage this customer feedback is another question altogether…

 
Hazel Dinnen, 16 February 2007, 11:41:13 GMT
First hand experience
I have seen this happen first hand where management have asked guests to post reviews on Trip Advisor to counteract previous unfavourable reviews even offering free meals or drinks as reward. It is shameful practice, and creates an untrue account of an hotel. On the other side of the coin I have read reviews which are simply untrue. Having stayed in the hotels some people nit pick and put others off by giving false impressions of the property.
Categorías:travel 2.0, varios

Dynamic Pricing/Precio Dinamico

Managed Biz Shifting To Dynamic Pricing
2/14/2007 2:11:39 PM
By Glenn Haussman For many in the hospitality business, effectively managing group business is a linchpin strategy. And companies looking to give their employees a fairly priced room on the road, structure deals with hotel companies for a single discounted rate applicable in all markets (with few exceptions) in return for a guaranteed number of nights. This system worked great for years. But then technology and internet came along and upended the entire process. Now, the hospitality industry (both hotels and airlines) is changing the way rates are negotiated. It’s not yet known if margins will be positively affected in the long term, but it’s irrelevant anyway since this change is inexorable.The change is a shift from static to dynamic pricing. Where static pricing generally sets a single rate across all markets, dynamic pricing is a more flexible model where pricing fluctuates based on individual market demand at a particular time as well as each market’s typical rates.

According to Dorothy Dowling, SVP Marketing with Best Western, group business –while not as large as its leisure business – is a large revenue stream for the company’s member properties. Last year alone, Best Western saw 30 percent growth for managed corporate growth.

Dowling said her company has been benefiting as corporations continue to reign in expenses and shift room nights from upper tiers to the mid market.

“Corporate business is a very important segment for us on Monday through Thursday nights, accounting for 40 percent of system revenue stream,” said Dowling. She added that these agreements also help boost leisure business as guests coming through this portal will use corporate rate for vacation stays as well.

Bill Connors, Executive Director and COO, National Business Travel Association – an organization that promotes the value of business travel management – said business travel represents the second or third most controllable expense in a corporation. And now that business has soared to pre 9/11 levels, Connors said, companies are planning to spend more on business travel. He said 68 percent of his organizations members, which includes 65 percent of Fortune 500 companies, expect to take more business trips in 2007 and spend more on hotels, flights and car rentals.

Because the lodging industry is currently experiencing strong demand, Connors said corporations are looking to minimize what they spend per day on business travel.

“Companies are increasing online bookings so travelers can see corporate rates right on their desktops. They are also reducing the number of preferred suppliers to leverage volume for better rates,” he said.

The shift to a dynamic pricing model is gaining popularity because the Internet has made pricing largely transparent. An employee can surf the web to see if their corporate rate is higher or lower than the best available rate, or BAR. Dynamic pricing allows a company to then negotiate a discount off BAR rather than pay a set dollar amount for each room.

“Certain parties maybe felt they weren’t getting BAR, so there is more rate integrity. There is nothing worse from a partner perspective than if their end user arrives at a better price then what they contacted for,” said Dowling. She believes that within the next 12 to 24 month this will be model of choice when negotiating managed business.

As technology enables Best Western to more effectively track the company’s managed business, Dowling said they are now trying to target small companies that purchase just 10 to 12 nights a year. She believes this is a relatively untapped and significantly deep market.

Though it does not offer discounts for volume business, low-fare air carrier Southwest Airlines has hit on a business model the company feels gives it an advantage over the legacy airlines.

Dubbed SWABIZ, the program serves as an in-house travel agency for corporations to assist their travel managers with a one stop shop to manage air travel. The program allows financial tracking, transferring of funds between customers from the same company, change and cancel flights at no additional fee as well as other features. Reports can also be printed from the interface too.

“This is a wonderful program because it was created by the business traveler,” said Loretta Hohmann, Marketing Manager with Southwest Airlines. She noted the program has seen a 44 percent increase in enrollment since 2005

Categorías:pricing & strategies

guest coments/comentario clientes

Trustworthy sources of information are sometimes difficult to find on the Internet, and user reviews have become a way for many sites to offer apparently unbiased opinions – at a low cost to the Web companies. But the authenticity of the opinions has not always been reliable.

Travel Web sites, such as Priceline.com Inc. and Expedia Inc., are clamping down on fake online consumer reviews of hotels, which could undermine a growth area.

Trustworthy sources of information are sometimes difficult to find on the Internet, and user reviews have become a way for many sites to offer apparently unbiased opinions – at a low cost to the Web companies.

But the authenticity of the opinions has not always been reliable.

“We have certainly seen instances with other properties where insiders have put reviews up for a particular hotel or a particular thing and it’s not a legitimate review,” said Jeff Boyd, Priceline.com’s Chief Executive.

“It’s somebody who’s in effect been paid to make the property look good.” Boyd said, speaking at the Reuters

Categorías:travel 2.0

more hotels guaranteeing equal or better prices to travelers who book with them directly.

By MICHELLE HIGGINS Published: February 18, 2007 WITH more hotels guaranteeing equal or better prices to travelers who book with them directly, online travel agency Web sites like Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity aren’t always the bargain bins they once were for hotel rates. In response, the agency sites are forced to concentrate on other ways to keep and attract customers. Skip to next paragraph Readers’ Opinions What has been your most successful strategy for getting the best deal on a hotel room? Leave a Comment | Read Comments “It used to be that you would book through an online agency because of the savings,” which for one night “could have been upward of $30,” said Lorraine Sileo, an analyst at PhoCusWright, an online travel consulting and research company. The cheaper rates often came with stricter cancellation policies and requirements for full payment when booking. Travelers accepted those conditions because the savings were significant. “That was yesteryear,” Ms. Sileo said. During the travel slump after the Sept. 11 attacks, hotels were eager to work with discount and travel agency sites to fill rooms. But now that the economy is stronger, the hotel companies have been working to cut out the middleman. If a customer who reserves with Hilton finds a lower rate for the same stay at another Web site in the next 24 hours, for example, Hilton will match the rate and throw in either a $50 American Express gift check or a $50 discount. Marriott and Starwood Hotels also offer rate guarantees. As another incentive for direct booking, major hotel chains have largely stopped offering loyalty program rewards to guests who reserve rooms at negotiated discounts from the online travel agencies. The efforts have been working. In 2004, half the $14.5 billion in online hotel bookings with hotel companies based in the United States were made through online travel agencies, and half were made directly with hotel sites, according to PhoCusWright. Last year, 55 percent of the estimated $23.5 billion in online hotel bookings were made directly, with hotels cutting the online agencies’ share to 45 percent. “Many people are searching online travel agency sites,” Ms. Sileo said, and then moving on to the hotel sites to make their reservations “because they are either getting the same rate or a more flexible cancellation or change policy.” Rick Leonard, a fund-raising executive from Los Angeles, is one of many travelers who book directly with hotels. But to make sure he’s getting the best price, he still searches online travel sites before contacting a hotel. This way, if he is quoted a higher rate, he can say he saw a lower one on the Web. He calls this “keeping them honest.” He favors dealing with the hotels directly, he said, because requests for particular types of rooms are more likely to be honored and, if there is a problem of any kind, being in direct communication with the hotel “just makes the chain of responsibility that much clearer.” Online travel agencies are finding various ways to fight back. Travelocity introduced its own price guarantee last year. A customer who finds a lower rate on an identical reservation within 24 hours of booking can get a refund of the difference and $50 off a future travel purchase. The company also started a loyalty program in October that lets customers with five or more bookings in a 12-month period redeem points for discounts. Expedia offers a similar price guarantee and loyalty program. The online travel agencies have also begun to focus on discount packages combining flights, hotels and rental cars in various ways. And they are trying to set themselves apart with new customer services. Orbitz, for example, introduced a hotel notification service in December for travelers who book flight and hotel packages through its Web site. If flights are delayed, Orbitz will call customers and, with their permission, alert their hotels that they will be arriving late. If a flight is canceled, Orbitz will also rebook customers at new hotels. So what’s the best place for a traveler to book online? It depends on what matters to you most. If you want points or preferential treatment, book directly with the hotel. Most major chains deny loyalty rewards to guests who book negotiated rates from online travel agency or discount sites. And even if your hotel doesn’t have a points program, it’s best to book directly if you want to establish yourself as a repeat customer, worthy of favors and extra perks. “We always recognize customers that are coming back with a small amenity in the room — maybe a bottle of wine or bottle of Champagne — or sometimes an upgrade,” said Jyrki Auvinen, front office manager at the Hotel of South Beach in Miami, which keeps detailed records of guests’ preferences. But because “the information transmitted from a third-party vendor is less than we received from a guest,” he said, customers who book through Web sites other than the hotel’s are typically viewed as first-time guests. Marriott, which keeps files on requests that guests have made for everything from extra towels to foam pillows, said those preferences might not be automatically honored if a traveler booked through a site other than its own. “When they book on another site,” John Wolf, a Marriott spokesman, said in an e-mail message, “only the details absolutely necessary to facilitate the transaction” are shared. If price is your main concern, it pays to shop around. Travel agency sites offer quick comparisons across hotel chains. And they tend to offer good bargains on independent hotels, which may not have the resources to offer real-time online booking themselves, said Henry H. Harteveldt, a travel analyst at Forrester Research. If your trip requires more than just a hotel stay, travel agency Web sites can often offer savings through packages that include flights or car rentals. But the online agencies are not ideal for customers who are tied to particular hotel brands. “If you’ll only stay at St. Regis hotels, for instance,” said Michelle Peluso, chief executive of Travelocity, “you’re probably better off going to their site.” She said people go to Travelocity because of its breadth of offerings like package deals, a variety of hotels and customer reviews of hotels. But you can still use a travel agency site to get a better rate from the hotel directly. If a call comes in from a guest who found a better rate on another site, said Mr. Auvinen of the Hotel of South Beach, any hotel is likely to match it. “It’s just common sense,” he said. “I have yet to meet a hotel general manager that would say, ‘Don’t match the rate.’ ”

hotel en londres The Cumberland

Categorías:varios

Thomas Cook-MyTravel to merge

MyTravel and Thomas Cook have agreed a merger in a move which will put intense pressure on Thomson and First Choice and spark further European tour operator consolidation.

The parent company of the planned enlarged group will be named Thomas Cook Group, headquartered in the UK and listed in London.

The merged company would combine Thomas Cook AG’s 33 tour operating brands, 2,400 travel agencies, 66 aircraft and almost 20,000 staff with MyTravel’s 17 brands, 31 aircraft and 13,000 staff worldwide. 

MyTravel handled 5.5 million holidaymakers in 2005-06 and made a pre-tax profit of £44 million, while Thomas Cook AG is the second largest European travel group after TUI. Thomas Cook UK & Ireland made a profit of more than £87 million in the last financial year.

MyTravel and Thomas Cook believe that the annualised pre-tax cost benefits arising from a combination of the businesses will be at least £75 million a year once the full benefits of the merger are realised.

The deal is subject to clearance by relevant competition authorities and is conditional on the sale of Lufthansa’s 50% holding in Thomas Cook to German department store group KarstadtQuelle. The board of MyTravel is to unanimously recommend the merger

Categorías:ttoo

The delicate balance between direct and indirect –

The delicate balance between direct and indirect – The cost of distribution through intermediaries, unworkable commission structures and improved technology have led to a continuous rise in direct-to-consumer sales by travel suppliers. Is this trend likely to continue in the future, further dis-intermediating the market? And as the market matures and growth slows down, how can you make sure your distribution and marketing efforts stand out from the crowd and successfully retain the consumer?

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