A cross-country comparison of accommondation manager perspectives on online review manipulation

Taylor & Francis Online
Current Issues in Tourism

Accommodation businesses are increasingly dependent on a limited number of reservation platforms. A significant feature of these platforms is guest evaluations, which are transformed into ratings and rankings. As the positioning of the business in comparison to competitors determines customer demand, accommodation managers have considerable interest in maintaining or improving their online reputation. One response may be to engage in manipulation strategies. This paper presents the results of a survey including 270 hotel managers in five countries, Germany, Israel, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Managers confirm growing competition as a result of ratings and rankings, and they report that guests are increasingly aware of the importance of reviews. To avert negative online feedback impacts, managers intervene strategically. The paper discusses new market pressures, emergent consumer judgement culture and consumer citizenship, opportunities for legal redress and the emerging importance of reputation management strategies.