Online reviews: your business’s obligations in the UK

Consumer spending on hotel/travel sector after reading online reviews (Source: CMA)
Consumer spending on hotel/travel sector after reading online reviews (Source: CMA)

In the UK, the new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently published guidance about how UK businesses should handle online reviews – an area of particular relevance to the hotel and restaurant sectors. Many consumers are relying on the statements made in online reviews to help make their purchasing decisions (see image on left). Businesses of all kinds, from hospitality service providers to PR and social media firms, need to stay on the right side of applicable consumer protection laws.

The CMA explains more fully in its new Online Reviews: giving consumers the full picture. It states, “If your business’s website allows people to review your products or services or someone else’s, or if you work with a third party to generate or manage reviews, you need to make sure that the reviews provide the full picture to consumers. If the way you publish, present or manage reviews might mislead customers, you may be breaking the law.”

The document goes on to provide guidance about what do you need to do if:

  • your business’s website publishes or hosts reviews of products or services.
  • you’re a business whose products are being reviewed.

What makes this document even more helpful is its brevity – it is a single page “60 second summary” – so there’s no excuse for hospitality managers not to check it today!

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Author: Institute of Hospitality

Established in 1938, the Institute is the international professional membership body for managers and aspiring managers who work or study in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries. We help more than 10,000 hospitality professionals in 100 countries grow their knowledge, professional profile and expertise offering a wide range of high quality membership services such as targeted and regular industry networking events, hospitality qualifications and extensive online quality resources such as free management guides, Hospitality magazine, webinars, ebooks and ejournals. To learn more about our many member benefits, view our website or email membership@instituteofhospitality.org