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The proliferation of online travel-related content is changing how consumers book and research travel. Before making an online hotel reservation, consumers visit on average almost 14 different travel-related sites, with about 3 visits per site, and carry out 9 travel-related searches on search engines. Official hotel classifications are often used by consumers as a filter mechanism in the hotel research and booking process, with guest reviews being used to make a final selection among a smaller group of hotels. As online reviews continue to grow in popularity, questions arise as to whether traditional hotel classifications systems are becoming less relevant. Traditionally, classification systems have been about amenities, whereas guest reviews are about meeting expectations; thus, guest reviews may be able to provide a quality check on the amenities that are required as part of the classification system. We outline an integrated approach for the inclusion of online reviews into hotel classification whereby guest reviews add a quality dimension to hotel classifications, thereby refining the classification.


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© INFORMS. Final version published as: United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Blomberg-Nygard, A. & Anderson, C. K. (2016). United Nations World Tourism Organization study on online guest reviews and hotel classification systems: An integrated approach. Service Science 8(2), 139-151. doi: 10.1287/serv.2016.0139
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.