Four Crazy Facts About Online Hotel Reviews

Our friends at Tnooz covered an article we wrote yesterday about some fun trends we unearthed while analyzing more than 1.3M reviews. Analyzing online reviews is serious business… but it can also make you chuckle every now and then. Read the whole article below… or see it in its published glory at Tnooz.

In my role at Revinate, I read hundreds of hotel reviews every week and am constantly amazed by both the amount of public feedback available to hotels, and how important this feedback has become to hoteliers. We spend a lot of time performing sophisticated analysis of hotel reviews and social media mentions, looking for trends, interesting tidbits, and ways in which hotels can improve their operations, loyalty and satisfaction based on all this valuable feedback.

And yes, we also like to have some fun with our analysis. Our team recently analyzed over a million public hotel reviews and found the following conclusions to be seriously interesting.

Positive Reviews Are Written by Smarter People

Our first conclusion: positive reviews are written by smarter people. To discover that fact we evaluated a set of well over one million reviews against the Coleman-Liau Index, which approximates the minimum grade level required to comprehend a body of text (by looking at the average number of letters per word and the average number of words per sentence).  We were surprised to find that positive reviews have a higher grade level index than negative reviews.

With discoveries like this, it’s tempting to jump to conclusions. Do smarter people receive better service, or rates? Or do they know how to get better rooms? Or do smarter people simply pick better hotels in the first place?

Positive Reviews Get To the Point Faster

Another interesting discovery was that positive reviewers are more concise; they get to the point more quickly. We looked at all positive reviews (4 or 5 stars) and found that positive reviewers used 38% fewer sentences and 45% fewer words in their reviews. In fact, as the star rating increases the average number of sentences and words per review decreases.

So, negative reviews…. can you say, ‘endless rant?’

Women “Wear the Pens” in Relationships

When a couple comes back from vacation, who do you think writes the hotel review? To figure out whether it’s men or women penning reviews after traveling with their spouses, we looked at the occurrences of “my wife and I” vs. “my husband and I” (and variations, even if not grammatically correct). The latter represent 59% of mentions from both sets, so it appears that overall wives are more prolific reviewers than husbands.

Also, wives also appear to have a better handle on grammar. 96.3% of women correctly wrote ‘my husband and I’. 94.5% of men wrote ‘my wife and I’. You don’t want to see the other variations.

Watch out, GM!

Curious as to what really ticks off 1 star reviewers? We are, so we wanted to look at what was mentioned more often in 1 star reviews than in reviews with higher ratings.

We looked at common word and phrases across all reviews, and then compared those common words to the subsets of reviews represented by each star rating (1 to 5). Interestingly, the most common words from 2 to 5 star reviews were not statistically different from words common to the overall review corpus (with a few minor exceptions). However, 1 star reviews produce a lot of words that are statistically distinct when compared to the overall review corpus. In other words, dissatisfied reviews have a lot of unique things to say!

What is the most interesting finding from 1 star reviews? It appears that the phrase ‘the manager’ is 4.2 times more likely to appear in a 1-star review than a 5-star review.  Apparently, when the manager gets involved, bad situations are afoot.

Please tweet @revinate with research suggestions or feedback. We would love to hear from you.

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