Bad Weather? Your Business is More Likely to Get Negative Reviews

April 02, 2014

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When it comes to your online business reputation, there are many factors that come into play and shape how people perceive you. Like customer service. Or pricing. Or search engine performance. Or your visibility on social media sites. Or the weather.

The weather?!?

We’re not kidding. A new study that’s about to be released has found that weather – among many other things, of course – can skew the quantity and quality of your business’ online reviews.

(Check out: “Reputation and Review Management for Restaurateurs: Your Questions Answered”)



Written by Georgia Institute of Technology’s (GT) Saeideh Bakhshi, Yahoo Labs’ Partha Kanuparthy, and GT assistant professor Eric Gilbert, the study analyzed close to 1.1 million reviews of over 840,000 restaurants – including reviews from sites like TripAdvisor, Foursquare, and Citysearch. (According to reports, Yelp was not included, since the data that they were willing to release was not sufficient for the researchers.)

The findings will surprise you. According to the study, the most negative reviews were written when it was colder than 40 degrees or hotter than 100 degrees, or whenever it was raining or snowing.

Well, there’s really nothing restaurateurs and business owners can do about that. But the new study does offer some important insights about what goes on in consumers’ minds whenever they’re writing online reviews of local businesses.

Like what, for example? Here’s one: the review-writing tendencies of consumers today could be determined by a locale. “Restaurants in the Northeast and on the West Coast were reviewed more than those in the South or the Midwest,” reported Kim Severson for the New York Times. 

Also: “People who waited a long time for a table in busy cities were more forgiving than those who waited in smaller communities…. (Moreover), the (research) team found that Seattle, as a whole, tended to offer lower reviews than many other cities. Sunny San Diego had the most five-star reviews.”

Looking for a platform to track business reviews and manage your online reputation? Sign up for a free trial of ReviewTrackers, which is powered by proprietary data collection technology, and tracks online reviews from sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, Citysearch, Google, and more.

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