New guidelines for online reviews have been welcomed by the Accommodation Association of Australia as a “tangible” solution to the problem of fake online reviews.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched the new guidelines last month, with the AAA anticipating their effect will be felt by both businesses and the review platforms themselves.
"The Association has led calls for changes to the oversight of online reviews for some time,” chief executive Richard Munro said.
"There are no winners with fake online reviews – they are bad for consumers and even worse for the accommodation businesses who are the subject for them.”
He proposed a combination of consumer reviews with property inspections as the best way forward.
With the internet emerging as one of the most powerful influencers of the accommodation industry, steps to ensure accuracy of online reviews are now “even more important than ever”, Munro insisted.
He pointed to the “exponential” growth of third-party accommodation booking websites and called for closer scrutiny of online businesses that promote “non-compliant” accommodation in residential homes.
"The Accommodation Association may seek discussions with the ACCC and other relevant regulatory authorities on issues related to these e-businesses as well," he said.