The paper intends to review the article “Responding to online reviews: problem solving and engagement in hotels” by Sun-Young Park and Jonathan P. Allen. . It is based on an evaluation of four hotels in the US and how they respond to consumers’ reviews. Results from a study of four hotels in the US reveal that the service industry is highly reliant on the use of online reviews in the improvement of services to consumers. Data from this study observed that hotels that considered the online reviews to be honest impressions of consumer sentiment responded to the reviews on a regular basis. The study found that the four hotels had uniquely different patterns of response to the comments and complaints posted through online reviews. The uniqueness of the patterns of response is dependent on a variety of factors such that hotels in the same brand may have different response patterns. Despite these differences, the study provides that online reviews are increasingly gaining ground as important sources of management information.
This paper entails a critical review of the journal article and the results from a study. The criterion used in the selection is outlined as well as the main points of the journal article. Also, an in-depth analysis of the arguments made in the study is done and supported with evidence from the study.
Reasons for Article Choice
The choice of the article under review is “Responding to online reviews: problem solving and engagement in hotels” by Sun-Young Park and Jonathan P. Allen. The paper is an analysis of the role of online reviews in the co-creation of the service experience. It is based on an evaluation of four hotels in the US and how they respond to consumers’ reviews. The choice of the article is based on the current trends where technology is taking root in every aspect of the economy. Consequently, the use of social media in strategically serving consumers is a source of motivation in the selection of this article.
Results from a study of four hotels in the US reveal that the service industry is highly reliant on the use of online reviews in the improvement of services to consumers. The study aimed at providing insights on future research regarding the interactions of hotels and consumers through the social media. While two of these hotels responded to the public comments regularly, the other two did not respond to guest comments or complaints (Park & Allen, 2012, p. 68). However, all the hotels did monitor and react to the complaints and comments posted. The study finds that the four hotels had unique and different management styles with regard to the perceived accuracy of online reviews, approaches to the use of online reviews in management and internal communication styles.
Data from the study observed that hotels that considered the online reviews to be honest impressions of consumer sentiment responded to the reviews on a regular basis. On the other hand, some hotels did not respond to the comments as they believed that the reviews were just extremely positive or negative views on the hotels. Still, there was a correlation between the communication style in use in the hotels and the tendency to reply to the comments. Indeed, hotels that adopted a collaborative communication style were more likely to respond to the comments and complaints. However, those with fewer meetings and consultations did not respond to the public reviews frequently. Also, some of the hotels that did not respond to the online reviews had an external corporate manager in charge of social media as opposed to the frequent responders who used an internal manager. Only one hotel used the reviews in their strategic relationships with the consumers, despite all of the hotels viewed the comments in solving customer problems.
The conclusions adopted in the review are based on evidence from the exploratory study conducted on four high-end hotels. Indeed, the study found that the four hotels had uniquely different patterns of response to the comments and complaints posted through online reviews. In this undertaking, the research employed data collected from social media and voluntarily sourced from the hotel management. The uniqueness of the patterns of response is dependent on a variety of factors such that hotels in the same brand may have different response patterns (Park & Allen, 2012, p. 69). These assertions are derived from the independent study of all the hotels thus yielding different results. Despite these differences, the study provides that online reviews are increasingly gaining ground as important sources of management information. These findings are based on prevalent data as well as evidence from past studies and are used in concluding that hotels should devise better response plans for online reviews. Ideally, the use of online reviews in making sound management decisions is therefore emphasized.
The study identified three differentiating traits between hotels that responded regularly and those that did not respond to the reviews regularly. The paper observed that hotels that responded regularly had collaborative communication styles and perceived online reviews as accurate reflections of consumer reality. Also, these hotels used information from inline reviews in solving problems and strategically coordinating with other management and operation areas in the hotel. This evidence is used in making the four hotel classifications identified in the study based on the three characteristics of hotels. Also, the importance of online reviews to either solve problems efficiently or improve customer relationship is critical (Park & Allen, 2012, p. 68). The observation of different applications in different hotels is used to distinguish hotels in two unique classifications. The management of these two functions of online reviews is also identified as a source of immense challenges in response to online reviews.
Still, evidence from the research is used in making recommendations among different hotels. For instance, resource allocations, utilization of online reviews as well as internal communication are emphasized as points of differences in managing different hotels. In laying out this argument, the study uses empirical evidence to support claims of the evidence of two different functions of online reviews. Also, the study stresses the importance of creating awareness with regard to the two functions of online reviews and their influence in the response patterns employed by different hotels. Ultimately, some of the issues that clog the management of hotels may well be solved through the understanding of the dual roles of online reviews. Results from the prevalent study can be used to make inferences in other sectors to guide the concepts of management. In the end, the empirical evidence from the study is significant in supporting the arguments and claims made in the paper.
The report achieved the goal of analyzing the journal article by presenting the main points from the study and evaluation of the different claims. Evidence from the study is used in supporting the arguments laid out regarding online reviews in the hotel industry. Ultimately, the report finds that the article fulfilled its objectives as suggested in the results.
Park, S.Y. and Allen, J.P., 2012. Responding to online reviews problem solving and engagement in hotels. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 54(1), pp.64-73.
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