The limits of user generated content

The temptation to use non-professional content (commonly referred to as “User-Generated Content”) from the most well-known review sites (TripAdvisor, Booking, OpenTable…) is extremely high for our clients: airlines, rail and bus companies… And what could be easier than opening an API and filling the passenger entertainment system with the opinions of thousands of users?

The Shed at Dulwich (London) case speaks volumes about the limits of these platforms. In a couple of months, this fake restaurant created by an independent journalist succeeded in becoming one of London’s top-rated restaurants!

Certainly, these platforms are useful, essential even, for a sort of quality control on what is in store for us.

But when passengers consult content on entertainment systems on planes, buses or trains, the company’s image is at stake. Of course, the company displays the source of this content, and will even spend a lot of money to use the brand of the platform in question. However, these have no added value, nor provide a service to their customers, since this information can be accessed by anyone with a smartphone or tablet.

It is essential, therefore, that this content comes from professionals in tourism, gastronomy, or other sectors… And that it is published or produced upon the company’s request.

Once at their destination, inspired passengers are entirely free to check these platforms, to see if the on-board favourite picks match their inclinations at the time.

To take things one step further, if transport companies wish to introduce a scoring system of recommendations that takes inspiration from this content, they can. With tools such as XPlore by PXCom, they can organise their own opinion community, starting a virtuous cycle of personalising recommendations to match the tastes and habits of their passengers as closely as possible.