Cornell Quarterly study finds increasing balance in online hotel reviews

Aug 06, 2013

Contact: Ashlee McGandy, 607.254.1368,

The popular view of online hotel reviews is that many are unfairly negative, but a new study published in the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly (CQ) finds that as more reviews are posted on a site, the overall tone becomes more balanced. The study, "Online Customer Reviews of Hotels: As Participation Increases, Better Evaluation Is Obtained," by Santiago Melian-Gonzalez, Jacques Bulchand-Gidumal, and Beatriz Gonzalez Lspez-Valcarcel, is the featured article in the August 2013 CQ. The journal is published by Sage Publishing on behalf of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration.

The authors, who are all on the faculty at University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, analyzed a broad and varied sample of 16,680 hotels in 249 tourist areas. They found that early reviews of a business do tend to be disproportionately negative. As the number of reviews increases, however, the reviews become more balanced, and the negative effect is mitigated. Indeed, this study agrees with an earlier CQ article that found that positive comments overall are more common than negative reviews—although many reviews are extremely positive or negative.

Based on this study, the authors suggest that hoteliers should try to increase the number of reviews they receive to balance the positive and negative comments regarding their property, in addition to investigating and correcting the causes of negative comments.

Reviewing the glass ceiling
Also appearing in the August 2013 CQ is a new study by HVS Executive Search which questions the common view of the so-called glass ceiling. Senior author Juliette Boone said the study reveals that personal choices are the greatest hindrance to women's advancement, although workplace barriers do exist. At the same time, both men and women placed family first in their personal priorities, with career coming in third.

Other articles in the August 2013 CQ include content analysis of the top 100 hotels' websites and a model for including customers in hotels' organizational citizenship activities.

About the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly
The Cornell Hospitality Quarterly (CQ) editorial content is broad, and the CQ publishes research in all business disciplines that contribute to management practice in the hospitality and tourism industries. The objective of the CQ is to help all those involved or interested in the hospitality industry to keep up-to-date on the latest research findings and theory development in order to improve business practices and stay informed of successful strategies.

About the Cornell School of Hotel Administration
The Cornell University School of Hotel Administration is shaping the global knowledge base for hospitality management through leadership in education, research and industry advancement. The school provides management instruction in the full range of hospitality disciplines, educating the next generation of leaders in the world's largest industry. Founded in 1922 as the nation's first collegiate course of study in hospitality management, the Cornell School of Hotel Administration is recognized as the world leader in its field. For more information, visit