What is Digital Valuation Made of? The integration of valuation poles on a reservation platform and its effects on the hotel industry in Switzerland
Keywords:algorithms, Booking.com, digital platform, markets, online consumer reviews, ranking
Digital platforms act as new powerful intermediaries challenging existing market orders in many sectors. Algorithmically producing ratings and rankings often built from online consumer reviews, platforms are important players in the digitizing of valuation. This article asks how these new platform-generated valuations relate to other forms of valuation. It presents a qualitative case study of valuation in the hotel sector in Switzerland, drawing on interviews with professionals and a description of valuation categories on the Booking.com website. Going beyond the description of the opposition between online consumer reviews and traditional judgment devices, the analysis shows that valuation on the platform is based upon a permissive hierarchical integration of a plurality of valuation poles, with algorithmic valuation at its center. This destabilizes the evaluative landscape with regard to three issues: lack of transparency of the algorithmic ranking; weakening and even undermining of formulaic valuation; and the issue of singularization of the online offer.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Philip Balsiger, Thomas Jammet
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