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Best Western links to reviews; 1 click leads to TripAdvisor

Best Western has become the latest hotel giant to make consumer reviews a prominent part of its website.

The hotel giant recently added a prominent link to TripAdvisor reviews on its hotel Web pages as part of a broader website update, to make it faster and easier for consumers to find reviews -- without leaving a hotel's website.

When considering a hotel, Best Western shoppers now will see the familiar TripAdvisor logo and a star rating on the lower right-hand corner of each property description. A click on the words "Read reviews" opens a separate box with the hotel's TripAdvisor reviews.

"We recognize that a growing number of guests turn to social communities and online reviews for research before they book a hotel stay," says Dorothy Dowling, Best Western's senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Best Western is hardly the only large hotel brand to see the benefit of emphasizing consumer reviews. A year ago, Starwood became the first in the industry to do so by letting guests write reviews for its site.

"We remain thrilled with the results. We have over 42,000 reviews posted on our site," says Chris Holdren, senior vice president of the Starwood Preferred Guest program. Most other large chains are either evaluating the addition of consumer reviews on their site or already incorporating them. Among them:

Four Seasons. In January 2012, the luxury chain unveiled a revamped website that includes a “Reviews at a Glance from TripAdvisor” box for each hotel.

Marriott International. Nearly a year ago, Marriott began letting guest of its chains such as JW Marriott, Courtyears and Marriott submit reviews on its Marriott Rewards loyalty program website.

Wyndham. Earlier this year, Wyndham Hotel Group, which runs Ramada, Wyndham, Days Inn, Howard Johnson and other chains, began including TripAdvisor’s star ratings and a link to reviews on its hotel sites.

Although some hoteliers believe it’s risky to reveal reviews that might be hard, Holdren says consumers appreciate it when hotels are transparent, acknowledge potential “construction criticism” when it arises, and provide useful information.