Reviews have always been an integral part of any major Online Travel Agency website. While their importance used to be underestimated, the opinions and summaries of guests’ stays provide invaluable information not only for the potential future guests considering a stay at the hotel, but also for the hotel managers looking to improve their service. A review section is the first stop for any conscious traveler when they are searching for initial information.
OTAs are fully aware of this fact. Today, all the major OTA websites even allow you to filter the reviews by reviewer origin and travel type to show you the reviews that are the most relevant to you. To maintain this level of engagement of their visitors, various brands following the consolidation in the OTA industry brands have begun to share their reviews.
In this regard, the most prominent example is Expedia and its extensive network of sub-brands, which includes Orbitz, Cheaptickets, Wotif and more. With the exception of Hotwire and Travelocity, the Expedia brands do not just share the same technical platform, but also their reviews. Thanks to this shared pool of reviews, the reviews section stay relevant as it increases the likelihood of having the most recent reviews at all times. However, for certain markets the brands choose to display only their own reviews – as in the case of Wotif and the Australian market.
Expedia’s competitor The Priceline Group is not lacking behind either. Agoda.com is a great example, as they display Booking.com reviews on the hotel pages on their website. Moreover, there is a dedicated “Booking.com Reviews” tab to make the distinction clearer. The Priceline Group takes advantage of review sharing also on Kayak.com, where they display reviews from Agoda.com, Booking.com and Priceline.com as well.
We have observed similar practicies in Indian OTA market. Travelers that book their hotel on MakeMyTrip.com can post a verified review there, that in turn also gets displayed on HolidayIQ with an additional ‘Booked on MakeMyTrip’ symbol. This partnership goes both ways, with MakeMyTrip displaying a tab dedicated to HolidayIQ reviews on their hotel pages (similarly to Agoda.com). With the recent merger of Goibobo and MakeMyTrip, we can also expect review sharing to happen between these two websites.
As we can see, the practice of sharing the reviews is already very common in the OTA world, and will definitely become even more notable as time progresses. Which should not be surprising, when we take into account how much they influence decision-making of potential customers. This is also the primary reason why TripAdvisor holds such a strong position in the market, despite its struggle to turn itself into a booking site.
OTAs that do not have their own reviews or participate in any sharing network can still make use of review data and review summaries. Olery offers a review data API that can be used for this exact purpose.