Online hotel reviews and guest feedback on social media sites are not good sources of information as they are not statistically relevant, claims Market Metrix, a provider of customer and employee feedback services for hospitality companies.
Survey research, on the other hand, is scientific, it says.
The study found that online reviews on a certain travel review site tilted heavily toward the negative with 300% more negative responses compared to survey research, while positive responses were underrepresented by 35%.
Market Metrix director of research Jonathan Barsky said that several hotels were depending on feedback from social media to make critical business decisions.
"Millions of dollars are at stake as hotel executives make resource allocation decisions based on faulty information. These expenditures may not have any impact on satisfying customers and growing the business, and the things most likely to attract guests and increase loyalty may go unnoticed," added Barsky.
The data retrieved from social media is not dependable for various reasons, the prominent being the likelihood of the reviews being bought and sold; according to a third-party survey 15% of the online reviews will be paid for by 2014.
The number of reviews that a particular property manages to get on a site is low, with an average of 15 reviews a year.
Social media is frequently used by younger people, while older adults, who are the biggest patronisers of the hospitality industry, are less likely to post reviews.
Hotels are not in a position to control the damage that could occur to their reputation due to comments posted online, real-time feedback helps it resolve customer issues and regain loyalty.
Barsky said: "The time to fix a problem is when it occurs, not when it’s already been posted to the world."