Do old reviews tell a story?

I wasn’t there, but it sounds like TripAdvisor‘s head of sales for Europe, Martin Verdon-Roe, took a beating at WTM 2010. He was asked why old reviews are never removed from the site – – even ten years after being published. Martin’s response was, “These reviews still tell a story. Travelers want to understand how hotels perform over time – that is part of their research process.”

I think we can all agree that old reviews are irrelevant and will only confuse travelers who are looking for accurate reviews. And do travelers really want to understand how hotels perform over time? I don’t. I want to know how they are going to perform when I’m there.

The silver lining is that, like any feed, old reviews get pushed to the bottom so unless a traveller wants to read 15 pages of reviews, he is unlikely to get to your reviews from the year 2000. And, if he does, let’s hope he’s smart enough to realize that things have likely changed over the last decade.

The bottom line is that TripAdvisor, by ammassing so much user generated content, has done a tremendous job with search. Type a hotel name into Google and you will see a TripAdvisor listing near the top of the page. Content is great for Web sites, which also explains why companies don’t remove their old blog posts even though the data is likely out of data.

Rather than worry about your out of date reviews, concentrate on generating new, fresh reviews from your guests that enjoyed their stay with you. Focus on what you can control and improve and watch those old reviews drop into ‘next page’ blackhole.

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