Most people are willing to spend money to try the local cuisine when they travel abroad. However, finding a good restaurant in an unfamiliar city is not an easy task.
In the past, travelers would rely on travel books or pick restaurants with long queues. In the internet era, they search for eateries online.
However, travelers may want something more precise, not just a list, such as the most popular restaurant in town or where to find an unforgettable dessert.
Google Maps comes close to fulfilling such a need. It recommends interesting places and eateries near the location of the user. I find this a very helpful tool when I travel overseas.
If there are recommendations from past customers, that would be even better.
I believe most travelers would like to cherish every meal they encounter. As such, what they need most is a website or an app that can recommend the best restaurants and dishes, and not just offer a list of eateries.
For small restaurants or lesser-known brands, being mentioned by such an online advisor will be a tremendous boost to their business.
I’ve done a survey with my students recently, asking them if they would share good restaurants they’ve been to or whether they will be influenced by reviews made by friends or strangers.
The survey showed that comments and reviews from real consumers are given much value, especially now when we receive an overwhelming amount of advertisements and there is a proliferation of fake online content.
Comments and recommendations from real customers can really help people make their decisions.
TripAdvisor, a travel and restaurant review website, encourages travelers to explore new cities, take photos and write comments. That helps to build up the site’s database and boost its value.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Jan 12
Translation by Julie Zhu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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