Should you trust online travel reviews?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, Aug 17, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,421
    Likes Received:
    33,847
    Status Points:
    16,520
    http://mankatofreepress.com/talkers/x1144042104/Should-you-trust-online-travel-reviews

    The Internet has fundamentally changed the way that buyers and sellers meet and interact in the marketplace. Online retailers make it cheap and easy to browse, comparison shop and make purchases with the click of a mouse. The Web can also, in theory, make for better-informed purchases — both online and off — thanks to sites that offer crowdsourced reviews of everything from dog walkers to dentists.

    In a Web-enabled world, it should be harder for careless or unscrupulous businesses to exploit consumers. Yet recent studies suggest that online reviewing is hardly a perfect consumer defense system. Researchers at Yale, Dartmouth and University of Southern California have found evidence that hotel owners post fake reviews to boost their ratings on the site — and might even be posting negative reviews of nearby competitors.

    Read More: http://mankatofreepress.com/talkers/x1144042104/Should-you-trust-online-travel-reviews
     
    Switch2, marcwint55, violist and 2 others like this.
  2. rwoman
    Original Member

    rwoman Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,617
    Likes Received:
    13,489
    Status Points:
    11,070
    I know we've talked about this before - I think it's important to take all information into account, even if the hotels are posting their own reviews. The use of pictures can be especially useful, especially if they're pointing out specific good/bad claims.

    :)
     
  3. milchap
    Original Member

    milchap Gold Member

    Messages:
    27,667
    Likes Received:
    148,070
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Caveat emptor also applies here.
     
    marcwint55, violist, uggboy and 2 others like this.
  4. Sedosi

    Sedosi Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,546
    Likes Received:
    9,504
    Status Points:
    7,425
    The problem with (even legitimate) online reviewing is there's no such thing as an "OK" experience. It's either a "1" or a "10" in most cases.

    Reality is typically somewhere in the middle.
     
    marcwint55, violist, uggboy and 3 others like this.
  5. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,421
    Likes Received:
    33,847
    Status Points:
    16,520
    I have noticed this also, either someone has an ax to grind or they have fallen in love!
     
  6. healinginfluence

    healinginfluence Silver Member

    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    44
    Status Points:
    120
    I look overall at the reviews to see if there is a clear pattern. Otherwise I am not sure they much value. What is important to one customer may not be important to another customer. And all businesses sometimes make mistakes.
     
  7. uggboy
    Original Member

    uggboy Gold Member

    Messages:
    50,181
    Likes Received:
    133,436
    Status Points:
    20,020
    It's important to know what the future guest is looking for, the world of reviews can be confusing, having said this, it's equally important to read reviews between the lines, ie. think about expectations and experiences from prior travel and the identified needs on future travels. A mix out of travel forums like MP, reviews on TA [ look out for consistencies, descriptions, images uploaded ] and the hotels own webpages plus as a bonus booking websites incl. hotels.com own reviews will eventually help to make an informed and most likely right decision, which makes for safe and happy travels.
     
  8. violist
    Original Member

    violist Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    7,781
    Status Points:
    6,770
    Caveat lector, too.
    In the middle doesn't usually generate the need to write.
     
    marcwint55, uggboy and Koschmar like this.
  9. PanAm
    Original Member

    PanAm Silver Member

    Messages:
    342
    Likes Received:
    465
    Status Points:
    545
    Looking for a pattern is useful. For me just seeing the actual customer photos is most helpful, as I can decide if it's "tired and worn" vs. "retro" furniture, for example:) I also like to pick up on actual experience with hotel amenities - is the hotel shuttle reliable, what's really in the breakfast buffet line.

    I give more weight to posters, say on TA, with a variety of reviews across different locations and types of properties. It can be hard to adjust for different reference points and expectations. A North American who goes to Tokyo expecting large hotel rooms, and rants on TA about the "tiny room" doesn't help me. Or the guy who complains about a room being in "sad shape" and his sole evidence is a photo of a loose, misaligned light switch cover.

    One thing that can be entertaining is to compare guidebook hotel recommendations (which typically I don't find useful) to TA reviews.
     
    marcwint55 and uggboy like this.
  10. thetravelanalyst

    thetravelanalyst Silver Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    64
    Status Points:
    200
    With more and more stakeholders getting into the travel review business, I think conflicts of interests arise. (e.g., Google acquiring Frommer's effectively combines content and search providers into one unit). I suspect it's quite common for companies to post fake reviews (rather praising said company or bashing competitors). The whole system doesn't feel democratic at all.

    In my opinion personal travel blogs are the way to go.
     
    marcwint55 and uggboy like this.
  11. Jenny & Curt
    Original Member

    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,571
    Likes Received:
    2,379
    Status Points:
    1,270
    And sometimes, if you read the review, you realize that the reviewer (sometimes a non-English speaker reviewing on an English-language review site) has a glowing review for which they've given one star (or vice versa) -- just a misunderstanding of the ranking system. Not statistically significant on a heavily-reviewed property, but really skews the average score for a more obscure property.
     
  12. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

    Messages:
    762
    Likes Received:
    973
    Status Points:
    770
    I always love the folks who stay at a Hampton Inn (for example) and are shocked they didn't receive the same service as a Waldorf. Or stay at a hotel and are "outraged" that they had to actually pay for Internet, breakfast or parking, even though had they actually read the hotels website they would have known this. I find most user review sites useless, way to many idiots and folks with axes to grind for my taste.
     
    marcwint55 and uggboy like this.
  13. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,517
    Likes Received:
    4,573
    Status Points:
    2,570
    one of the great benefits of Milepoint is the ability to see what your fellow frequent travelers think of hotels. Someone who stays at a hotel once or twice a year is probably not in a position to give an accurate report or comparison. If I found out that a hotel had written a bad review of another hotel, I would not stay at the hotel that wrote the report under any circumstances. I think competition is one of the great things in our democracy, but all businesses should be touting their attributes and not berating their competitors, especially if the comments are not factual.
     
    healinginfluence likes this.
  14. Switch2

    Switch2 Silver Member

    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    407
    Status Points:
    520
    For me when I read hotel reviews, If I tend to see the hotel itself replying to people's comments/complaints makes me trust the whole thread more than normal.
     
  15. Jenny & Curt
    Original Member

    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,571
    Likes Received:
    2,379
    Status Points:
    1,270
    I agree, especially if it is a thought-out response indicating a desire to do things differently, rather than a "Thank you for your review."
     

Share This Page