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Online rating platforms – specializing in hotels (TripAdvisor), restaurants (Zagat), apartments (Airbnb) and taxis (Uber) – allow travelers to exchange reviews and experiences for all to see.Hospitality businesses are now ranked, analyzed and compared not by industry professionals, but by the very people for whom the service is intended – the customer. As a result, businesses are much more accountable, often in very specific ways, which creates powerful incentives to improve service.Businesses that attract top ratings can enjoy exponential growth, as new customers are attracted by good overall reviews and subsequently provide yet more (positive) feedback.Nefarious operators are known to pay fake review services to bolster ratings.Geolocation tracking can ensure that only customers who have actually used a service can express an opinion (as is the case with Airbnb).Not every service, however, has been touched by online ratings.Singapore's Changi Airport is a rare exception: It solicits user ratings at every turn, via feedback screens with cheery, touch-enabled smiley-face emoticons that request travelers' opinions on everything from the efficiency of immigration service to the cleanliness of toilets.
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