retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times has a story about the challenges of trying to do business in an internet-and-social-media world, in this case focusing on the hotel business, where one estimate is that almost eight out of 10 travelers make their lodging decisions based on online reviews.

The pressure apparently is even greater in the luxury hotel business, where there are concerns that not enough people actually understand what they are all about - that online reviews often are written by people who may be unfamiliar with what such hotels are supposed to provide, or those who may work for a competitor or could have another dog in the hunt. At the same time, there have been instances of hotels that have actually had their own people filing online reviews without representing themselves.

And, there is a sense that the chains may feel that it is their responsibility to "cull" the reviews, to make sure that they are representative of the actual experience.
KC's View:
I am conflicted about this.

On the one hand, I think that companies that "cull" user reviews run the risk as being perceived as anti-transparency.

But ... to be fair, that's exactly what I do on MNB. "Your Views" uses the emails that I choose to post, and I've long resisted a bulletin board approach, because I think MNB readers have limited time, I choose the letters and issues to include.

So I get it. But I might do it differently if I ran a hotel.

And I think that people looking to appeal to a broad consumer audience need to think twice about culling reviews.