Bad weather clouds your opinion of a hotel, researchers say

A sudden downpour can ruin a day out or even an entire holiday. There’s no doubt that rainy weather often puts a downer on our mood.

But it could also affect what we write when we review a hotel, according to new research.

A study, recently published in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that online reviews are negatively impacted by bad weather on the day they are written.

On average bad weather – rain or snow – reduced reviewers’ evaluation of past hotel experiences so much that it nearly moved them from a 5 to a 4 star rating. On rainy days, people were more likely to write a review – and make it more critical and detailed.

“This research has much wider implications because it shows, for the first time, how our external physical environment – in this case the weather – can be a factor in our online judgements,” says the paper’s co-author Dr Yaniv Dover.

But the effect of the weather on the day they wrote the review was completely separate from the weather on the day people actually stayed.

The authors of the study suggest this could be because rainy and snowy days trigger more negative memories, or induce a negative mood which can colour the content of the review.

How did researchers work out that rainy days cause bad reviews?

Understanding how we form opinions and make decisions online is the focus of Dr Dover’s research at the Hebrew University Jerusalem Business School and the Federmann Center for the study of Rationality.

Together with researchers at the University of Lucerne in Switzerland, he looked at 12 years of data and 3 million hotel bookings. The team examined a total of 340,000 anonymous online reviews to see how the weather on the day they were written influenced the content.

They matched the booking made by the customer to the review and then identified the weather at the location of the reviewer on the day it was posted. The researchers looked at the star rating given and the vocabulary used in the review and cross-referenced with the weather on the day that reviewers stayed.

Using this data they discovered that writing a hotel review on a day with bad weather might not be the best idea if you want to give a fair evaluation of your stay.

Read the full article here

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