Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startup Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startups, parties, and interesting people. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and Google+.
Travel service Kayak announced today the launch of hotel reviews enabling customers to read feedback from verified travelers before they book their stay. Over 400,000 hotels worldwide will have reviews imported from services like Booking.com, Travelocity, Priceline.com, and includes reputation analysis form TrustYou.
How exactly is Kayak’s new feature any different from what you might get from looking on Yelp, TripAdvisor, or any other hotel review site? Company Chief Product Officer Giorgos Zacharia tells us that it’s based off of verified travelers, that means those who have actually stayed in the hotel. So the time when Travelocity or the hotel calls you directly to ask how your stay was? That is passed along to Kayak for inclusion.
What this means is that you’re going to read thoughts from people who have actually stayed there and can speak to the hotel’s customer service, Internet access, room quality, dining experience, and more, all through first-person experiences, not third-person accounts. Zacharia says having direct customer feedback is important since it will avoid the potential of fraudulent reviews and those from hotel providers and competitors.
In addition to the reviews, Kayak is also including sentiment analysis that will see it aggregate and score all of the reviews. By doing this, the company hopes to simplify the time it takes to get enough information before booking a hotel. Now, it will include a computer-generated analysis that looks at all reviews and scores them based on whether it’s positive or negative.
Most of Kayak’s listed properties will display these reviews, but for those hotels that are brand new or have zero feedback, customers won’t see a thing. Additional reviews from Lonely Planet, Travel & Leisure, Jetsetter, Expedia, and Hotels.com have been considered for integration, although no specific timetable has been given.
Oh, and in case you’re also interested, Kayak has updated its homepage with a new design and enhanced search form with less search parameters. It hopes that this will make it easier to use.
Kayak’s hotel user reviews is initially for its US website only, but other countries will be added soon.
Photo credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images
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