How hotel responses to online reviews differ by hotel rating: An exploratory study

Hyeryeon Lee, Shane C. Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate how hotels respond to online reviews on a third-party Web site (such as TripAdvisor) based on the hotel’s star rating. Design/methodology/approach – Content analysis was used to compare responses to online hotel reviews at fve different levels of hotel based on a star-rating system ranging from one star to fve stars. Findings – Most hotel managers’ response rates were low, and they paid the most attention to positive comments. Managers at four- and fve-star hotels more often responded to negative online reviews. Guest service manager was the most common job title of managers who responded to guests’ reviews. Research limitations/implications – This paper is limited to an analysis of ten hotels, two for each of the fve-star ratings. More hotel cases with long-term data collection involving the use of the star-rating system may provide more insights on this discussion. Practical implications – The exploratory study sought to identify strategies for managing online reviews in the lodging industry. Hotel managers should respond to negative online reviews with appreciation, apology and an explanation of what went wrong. Moreover, hotels may need a designated person to observe and respond to guest comments on their Web sites and third-party Web sites. A designated person is also needed to monitor online comments and communicate with guests to better manage the hotel’s online reputation. Originality/value – As an exploratory research project, this paper expands the understanding of hotel managers’ responses to their guests’ online reviews in an attempt to identify best practices for the industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-250
Number of pages9
JournalWorldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 8 2015


  • Electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM)
  • Hospitality industry
  • Management responses
  • Online reviews
  • Ratings
  • Reviews


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