By Jack Peat, Editor of The London Economic
The internet has given birth to a new generation of consumer power. Whatever the product or service the web has become a platform upon which open letters of praise or grumble can be voiced, which means for better or for worse, there’s no hiding from the wrath of public opinion.
There was once a time when a recommendation or word of caution from a friend or family member would be enough to sway your evenings plans. ‘Avoid that bar but this restaurant is incredible’, ‘I’d recommend this from the menu and that bottle of wine’, and hence forth your evening was planned. But word of mouth has gone viral, and with it a new generation of uber-cautious consumers has been born.
Throw spontaneity out of the window; why get it wrong when millions of people are telling you how to get it right?
TripAdvisor is the Mecca of consumer opinion. The world’s largest travel site is home to some 170 million reviews and opinions from travellers around the world and more than four million businesses and properties in 140,000 plus destinations.
Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor, told The London Economic: “Today, TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel website and we’ve empowered travellers with free access to an incredible wealth of travel opinions written by other travellers just like them—more than 175 million traveller reviews and opinions on hotels, destinations, restaurants, attractions and holiday rentals across the world.”
With a wealth of reviews at its disposal the website has moved beyond being a search and find resource into a reputable awarding body, with Travellers’ Choice awards “honouring top travel spots worldwide based on the millions of valuable reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travellers.” And its not just travel titbits that consumers are interested in. “The Travellers’ Choice restaurant winners have won over the TripAdvisor community with their outstanding food, service and ambiance – the perfect ingredients for a memorable fine dining experience,” Messing added.
“TripAdvisor is raising a glass to these top restaurants in the world that have delighted our community and their appetites.”
Top 5 Restaurants in the world
So with 2.3 million restaurants on their books and unbiased public opinions on all of them, TripAdvisor’s top 5 restaurants in the world form just about the most reputable list of all – and there are many – the rankings out there. The latest list includes Chicago’s Alinea, the French Cafe in Auckland, Maison Lameloise of Chagny and our very own Midsummer House in Cambridge, but clinching the top spot was a band of brothers; Josep, Jordi and Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca.
“We feel great, very happy, very grateful that the clients are thinking about us. We’ve had a lot of recognition recently, and this particular award from clients is especially important to us,” Joan Roca i Fontané of El Celler de Can Roca told The London Economic.
“We are very interested in reviews from all our clients, both the ones they tell us in person here or the ones we can read online or social media. For us, knowing what people think about us is extremely important, and this is why we monitor, analyse them and many times this helps us even to improve our service.”
Roca’s sentiments underline what makes a restaurant truly outstanding. The food is imperative, as is the wine and drinks selection, the atmosphere and the presentation. But if you excel at all the aforementioned traits without the customer in mind, your time is as good as wasted.
“There are probably many things that clients can evaluate in Celler de Can Roca, from the cooking to the service, the attention… We are very interested in the concept of hospitality, try to make our clients feel at home and in this case we try to make our home, their home.
“This award, for us, means that we are doing things right. We know that this one is based on the opinions of clients and we value this greatly.”