How reliable are online hotel and travel reviews?

Online Travel Reviews

Accommodation ratings have been in the height of criticism lately, in the light of fake and paid evaluations, or purposely negative travel reviews that can put hotels out of business. Computer engineers at Cornell University are working on developing a software that will be able to detect fake hotel reviews. The computer text analysis for detecting genuine and fake hotel and travel reviews is based on some established rules, for example, genuine comments include words such as “bathroom”, “check-in” or “price”, and fake travel reviews are full of “vacation”, “business trip” or “my husband”.

Gilbert Scott Kings Cross review St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel -- 01 via londonchow

How Realistic and Reliable are Hotel and Travel Reviews

When 800 reviews of hotels in Chicago were put to the test, the software recognized up to 90% of the fake hotel reviews. However, this study is first of its kind and needs further improvement, but it represents a leap forward in terms of customer care and protection when it comes to internet services.

One of the many websites that rank hotels by customer reviews, TripAdvisor, claims it has developed rigorous procedures and mechanisms to detect fake reviews. The site features 45 million reviews of around 500.000 hotels, which makes this website quite the relevant source of tourist information. However, Adam Raphael, editor of The Good Hotel Guide(s), said that he believes that more than a half of the comments on TripAdvisor were written by the hotel owners themselves, their friends and families.

nun-hotel-spa-review-mezzanine -- 02 via averagejanesblog

Testing Reviews

“In order to test the website, I wrote a few reviews, made-up of course. I picked the worst hotels and rated them with top grades, and everything got published without any check-up”, said Raphael.

The overall analysis of over 90 million guest reviews in 10 languages, and more than 65 million relevant websites, showed that most of the reviews, over 60%, were positive. Only 12% of the reviews contained negative experiences and complaints.

DSC_0777 -- 03 via travelandcount

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