Online Reviews Prove to Be Overwhelmingly Positive, Says Cornell Report

Aug 24, 2011

Contact:  Jane Henion, 607.255.9780,

Online Reviews Prove to Be Overwhelmingly Positive, Says Cornell Report

Study of vacation home reviews shows relatively few balanced reviews 

August 24, 2011 – A study of a popular website that posts ratings and reviews from vacation home stays found that the bulk of the reviews are strongly positive. However, as detailed in a report from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR), the second highest category is strongly negative reviews, with few in the middle. The study "Unscrambling the Puzzling Matter of Online Consumer Ratings: An Exploratory Study," by Pradeep Racherla, Daniel Connolly, and Natasa Christodoulidou, is available from the CHR at no charge at

"We examined nearly 3,200 reviews from a popular site which posts reviews of vacation rental properties across the USA," said Racherla, who is at West Texas A&M University. "Not only did we find a vast number of favorable reviews, but the odd thing we noticed was that the "star" ratings didn't always match the consumers' assessments of the homes' specific features, such as value, cleanliness, and location. A "five-star review" might award an average rating of 3 on the home's features."

Connolly is on the faculty of the University of Denver, and Christodoulidou is at California State University.

The authors suggest that review sites should develop better methods to aggregate, synthesize, and publish the review contents, particularly the numerical ratings, and the sites should provide more information to help the consumers get the information they desire about prospective rentals.

Thanks to the support of the CHR partners listed below, all publications posted on the center's website are available free of charge, at

About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center's 75 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit

Center Senior Partners: ASAE Foundation, Carlson Hotels, Hilton Worldwide, McDonald's USA, Philips Hospitality, SAS, STR, and Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces

Center Partners: Davis & Gilbert LLP, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Denihan Hospitality Group, eCornell & Executive Education, Expedia, Inc., Forbes Travel Guide, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Fox Rothschild LLP, French Quarter Holdings, Inc., HVS, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, LRP Publications, Maritz, Marriott International, Inc., Marsh's Hospitality Practice,, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Proskauer, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Sathguru Management Consultants (P) Ltd., Schneider Electric, Thayer Lodging Group, Thompson Hotels, Travelport, and WATG

Center Friends: • Berkshire Healthcare • Center for Advanced Retail Technology • Cruise Industry News • DK Shifflet & Associates • • EyeforTravel • Gerencia de Hoteles & Restaurantes • Global Hospitality Resources • Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) • • • Hospitality Technology Magazine • • International CHRIE • International Hotel Conference • International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) • iPerceptions • JDA Software Group, Inc. • J.D. Power and Associates • Lodging Hospitality • Lodging Magazine • LRA Worldwide, Inc. • Milestone Internet Marketing • MindFolio • Mindshare Technologies • PhoCusWright • PKF Hospitality Research • The Resort Trades • Resort and Recreation Magazine • • Shibata Publishing Co. • Synovate • The Lodging Conference • The Wall Street Journal • The TravelCom Network • Travel + Hospitality Group • UniFocus • USA Today • WageWatch, Inc. • WIWIH.COM • Wyndham Green