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To Trust TripAdvisor Reviews or Not? That Is the Question

November 20, 2012 at 10:38 AM | by | ()

Just when we thought the whole question of TripAdvisor's reliability had mostly dissolved into oblivion, along comes this LA Times article asking, once again, whether we can really, really trust those online hotel reviews.

And while our first reaction is to roll our eyes, there's no denying that this is still a hot button issue in the hospitality world. For starters, it goes beyond just hotels: restaurants, bars, cafes and music venues all fall prey to unnecessarily malicious, or suspiciously enthusiastic reviews from customers with an agenda. But since we deal with hotels around here, we're focusing on that side of things.

The LA Times article refers to a study by a group called Market Metrix, which found a few interesting things. First off, online reviews are almost entirely written by young people (ie, over the age of 50). No surprise there, but still an alarming statistic when you consider that the people staying in hotels (and reading the reviews) span a wide range of ages.

And even if you can get past the fact that people half your age are writing these reviews, the question still stands: are the reviews trustworthy?

The article goes on:

"And even if those online comments are genuine, the study said the reviews could be skewed because hotel guests with bad experiences are three times more likely to write a review than those who had a good or neutral experience."

Personally, we rarely write TripAdvisor (or any other user-generated feedback site) reviews. That's what we've got HotelChatter for!

What about you? Are you ever prompted to write a review after staying in a hotel? Or do you check out other people's reviews of a hotel you're planning on staying at? Let us know your thoughts!

[Photo: HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:

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Yes, for the most part

I use TripAdvisor as a guide.  The volume of reviews is what helps.  Of course, I have stayed at a hotel or two based on TripAdvisor reviews and been disappointed.  And value is a big part of TripAdvisor -- which gives the Magic Castle Hotel the best rating in Los Angeles.  Having stayed there, I can say it is one of my favorites in LA.  There are many better hotels but they come with a steep price.  Most people doing reviews are not staying at $500+ per night hotels.  Staying with LA, if you are looking for the best hotel without regard for cost, TripAdvisor is not where you should look first.  But, it is still worth a look.