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The Raffles hotel in Singapore

Hotels that provide upbeat and sincere replies at sites like Expedia and TripAdvisor can be perceived as genuine and caring toward guests, and that may carry more weight with guests and potential guests than positive reviews alone, according to new research by professors at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. The researchers—Jonilda Bahja, Cihan Cobanoglu, Katerina Berezina and Bhuvan Unhelkar—surveyed 800 hotel customers over six months to gauge their opinions about online reviews, both good and bad. They found that when managers give warm replies to “positive” guest reviews, the respondents viewed those hotels favorably. The study is currently under peer review to be published by an academic journal in the hospitality field.