Expedia is to introduce a new feedback element to its platform, allowing guests to express their satisfaction or dismay as soon as they've checked in to a hotel.
Currently being rolled out in the US, the new system sends a notification to a guest who has booked through Expedia portals as soon as they have checked in asking how they are feeling. The guest is presented with a simple choice between happy and sad, with the results fed back in real time to the hotel.
Expedia believes its Real Time Data Platform will enable operators to act immediately to rectify problems, and potentially avert a negative online review.
Arthur Chapin, vice -resident of global lodging product at Expedia, said: "Our real time reviews, essentially takes what today is a reactive process and makes it more immediate. Now when a customer checks in we send an email asking if they're happy. They literally click happy or sad."
He added that follow up questions would pinpoint any issues, allowing the hotelier to address the problem immediately.
Chapin said that Expedia was currently working on making the reviews visible in real time to prospective bookers too, so that a hotel can promote its advocates to other potential guests.
Though operators must currently log into their Expedia dashboard to access the real time feedback, there are also plans for a more immediate warning system that raises the alarm if a guest is not happy.
Chapin was confident that the system would be valuable to both operators and guests, particularly as only verified reviews can be posted.
"Unlike TripAdvisor and others our reviews are verified, so you know this is the opinion of people who actually stated at the hotel," he said. "This is something that we think is important."
Expedia chief product officer John Kim added: "Our hotel partners have told us time and again that their feedback to a negative review is simply ‘I wish the guest had told us, as we would've corrected the issue. So our product team began ideating how we could troubleshoot that, and Real Time Feedback was born."
The new feature, currently being trialled in the US, is expected to be rolled out in the UK during 2015.