A new website designed to give power back to hoteliers and restaurateurs who have been the victims of negative and falsified reviews has been launched.
www.trustmico.com allows diners and guests to recommend businesses to others based on their experiences. Those who choose not to and have a specific comment to make can do so, but the feedback is sent directly to the restaurant or hotel and not published online.
Founder and chief executive Alex Small described the website as an opportunity to "redress the balance", claiming that customers "currently have all the power" and added that the main problem with review sites is that people are programmed to focus on the negatives not the positives.
"If you look at research on the negativity bias it shows from our basic evolutionary need to survive we focus on the negative more than the positive," he told Caterer and Hotelkeeper. "We're four or five times more likely to talk about negative things than the positive things. It means people are far more driven to go review sites and write something negative than positive.
"The same negativity bias causes us to want to see five times more positive reviews to outweigh the psychological impact of one negative one. I think review sites are severely flawed. Our view is people don't trust the anonymous people they have never met. They trust recommendations from people they know - we're a website that enables word of mouth recommendation to be spread to friends and family."
His comments come as the owner of the Evesham hotel prepares legal action against online review site TripAdvisor, which red-flagged the hotel's reviews and warned that "individuals or entities associated with or having an interest in this property may have interfered with traveller reviews and/or the popularity for this property." Deborah Sinclair, of the Riverside Hotel and Restaurant strongly denies tampering with reviews for her hotel.
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