The Upgrade Travel blog points to a story in the Sunday Times of London on bogus reviews on internet websites like TripAdvisor.
- Proprietors describing hotels as “outstanding”, “excellent” and “charming” without declaring their interest in the business.
Marketing executives to top British hotels recommending perks be offered to customers in return for a promise of a good review.
Hotel star ratings on well-known websites that could be easily “ramped” with just a few e-mails from bogus customers.
To me it matters little whether reviews are bogus or just written by the median traveler with preferences nothing like my own. I don’t go off of internet rankings of properties. That’s not why I find sites like TripAdvisor useful. I look for common themes in written reviews, specifically for repeated factual details about a property. For instance, if several reviews mention “mold” or “peeling wallpaper” I take that seriously.
Properties get knocked for bizarre reasons that aren’t meaningful to me… check out the Ritz-Carlton Central Park (which is currently ranked #45 in Manhattan, though it is certainly better than that). You’ll no doubt find reviews here and at other top properties complaining that room service is expensive. Gee. That’s not a particularly useful comment. Neither is ‘great stay’. Again, look for facts and patterns and these sites can be useful. It’s rare that bogus reviews will have completely false factual details on the property.