Note: This article was originally published in Webintravel.com.The original content can be found here.
How many reviews can anyone possibly read before deciding on a hotel? Well, a recent TripAdvisor study commissioned by PhoCusWright shows that travelers read at least six to twelve reviews prior to booking.
Now imagine as the universe of user reviews grows – TripAdvisor now boasts more than 150 million reviews and we know that quantity does not necessarily relate to quality – someone has to aggregate and make sense of these reviews and portray them in a fashion easy enough for consumers to understand.
Well, that’s the code Munich-based TrustYou is cracking with its idea of the meta-review, a summary of a hotel’s reputation derived from semantic analysis of reviews across the world, supplemented by a Trustscore that hoteliers can use to help customers make quicker, easier decisions.
“What we want to do is develop the alternative to TripAdvisor in the B2B context to help hoteliers and intermediaries,” said CEO and co-founder Benjamin Jost. “It’s like Intel, we never want to sell the computer, we just want to sell the chip.”
He added, “We know that every reputation system is built on trust and meta-reviews are 100% objective. Our analysis is based purely on algorithms and math, without any agenda.
“Plus, with the sheer volume of content that is analyzed, meta-reviews are working with the law of big numbers, meaning that any outlier or small volume of extremely negative reviews is washed out.”
Jost said the company was taking a bet on the future of reviews. “Users won’t want to read reviews, but summary of reviews. There are signs trending towards users being fatigued by reviews, especially on mobile, where time is limited. And a score alone is not enough so we thought something in between – a text and a score – a meta-review.
“Context will be king. We bet our company on that trend and invest in technology to analyze exactly this kind of information, and then present the outcome in an easy to digest format so that both travelers and hoteliers can understand the pros and cons within seconds.”
Such a believer is Jost that he’s even shrunk his name card into a Trustscore speech bubble.
TrustYou has signed partnerships with travel sites such as Kayak, Wego, Hotels.jp, MakeMyTrip, Ixigo, Room 77, gogobot and Jost said it was working on more partnerships in Asia with meta search sites and OTAs.He said response had been positive. “When incorporating TrustYou data onto their sites, our partners see conversion rates increase from 0.8% to up to 40%. Time spent on the sites has doubled in some cases, and repeat usage numbers are growing as well.
“Another interesting data point we’ve found is that when sites show both a meta-review summary and traditional text reviews, about 75% of travelers only read the summary and don’t click through the actual text of all reviews. That’s why I am so confident that this is a game changer and will change the way travellers will consume user reviews in the future.”
What he will not do is build the Trustscore into a consumer facing brand as TripAdvisor has done with its brand. “We will let partners build our brand because it benefits them. So if you go to Qunar and see a Trustscore, you might be more likely to book with them than with another site that doesn’t have our score.”