Click on a label to read posts from that part of the world.
Suspicious About Hotel Reviews? You Are Not Alone
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the hotel review equation is difficult to navigate. "It's hard to overstate how important customer reviews are [to hotel sales]," said Douglas Quinby, senior research director at PhoCusWright Inc., a travel-research firm.
Common complaints about online hotel reviews stem from their accuracy. What one guest experiences and reviews turns out to be an entirely different experience for someone else.
Reviews often highlight a stark difference between commonly rated factors like the "value received" and whether a hotel "exceeded expectations" from one stay to another.
Oh, and those reviews that jump off the page as being just too good? Reviews that sound like they were written by a hotel manager looking for business? They might very well be.
In a study of hotel-review websites last year, PhoCusWright decided to remove one small national brand of hotels because the data was suspicious. "The volume of reviews was off the charts and the [rating] scores were off the charts," said Mr. Quinby. He declined to identify the hotel brand.
Which reviews should you trust? Probably not TripAdvisor.
TripAdvisor says it has technology to filter reviews, weeding out problems and that customers and hotels themselves are able to police the site for fake or inflated reviews.
But do they?
"When reviews don't match up with reality, consumers return to the site to post reviews of their own experience," said Adam Medros, vice president of global product for TripAdvisor in the Wall Street Journal report. Hotel owners sound the alarm either when another hotel is suspected of adding in fake reviews.
"It just works," said Mr. Medros. "The site wouldn't have grown as it has without users coming back and saying the information was useful."Experts disagree.
Travel-guidebook legend Arthur Frommer told the Journal that he began printing reader letters about hotels in the 60s. After a few years, he realized that hotels were writing him letters about themselves. "I was being gamed," said Frommer. "Hotels are so dependent on reviews that of course they will generate their own. They would be crazy not to."