How Do You Spot A Fake TripAdvisor Review?

How Do You Spot A Fake TripAdvisor Review?

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OMAAT readers will never guess which hotel is making me question the legitimacy of some online reviews…

Some TripAdvisor reviews are obviously fake

Review platforms like TripAdvisor are fantastic for travelers in so many ways:

  • They’re a great resource when planning travel, since you can learn about firsthand hotel experiences, rather than just what a hotel puts out there
  • Only review platforms make hotels even more accountable for the service they provide, since suddenly everyone has the ability to leave feedback on a platform that matters to the company

As you’d expect, one of the major challenges with these platforms is the legitimacy of some reviews. While TripAdvisor does what it can to make sure reviews are legitimate, there’s only so much that can be done when the platform can’t verify that someone has actually stayed at a hotel.

As you’d expect, some hotels take advantage of this, and leave fake (positive) reviews. Typically they’re easy enough to spot. Some of the common signs of fake reviews include:

  • The person leaving a review is new to the community, and hasn’t left any other reviews
  • There are a bunch of new reviews at once, mostly from accounts with limited history
  • The reviews are short and don’t contain many details
  • The reviews use the same type of language and grammar, perhaps even regurgitating the hotel’s marketing bullets

My personal thought process is that if a review is left from an account with no other reviews, and it’s light on details and/or uses hotel marketing bullets, it very well could be fake.

Some TripAdvisor reviews are trickier

While perusing some TripAdvisor reviews in recent days, I couldn’t help but feel like something was a bit off. The reviews seemed fake, but they also came from accounts that had some other activity. So then I started Googling, and noticed that there are all kinds of companies out there selling fake TripAdvisor reviews from more established accounts.

I mean, the concept makes sense — most hotels would gladly pay $10+ for a positive TripAdvisor review that comes from a legitimate-looking account.

My question is, how can you spot these kinds of fake reviews? I suspect the answer is similar to other fake reviews — they are either vague or share strange details, except they come from accounts with more activity. I’m curious what OMAAT readers think…

Are these online reviews real?

As some of you may have guessed, it’s the Aegon Mykonos that makes me bring this up. For those not up to date on the saga from earlier this summer, see these posts:

I’ve been keeping an eye on the hotel’s online reviews, both on TripAdvisor, Google Reviews, and on Marriott’s own website, to see if things are improving there. Many of the same issues I had during my stay are persisting, and are reflected in reviews.

There are some genuine negative review, some genuine positive reviews, and then some positive reviews that are… suspicious. Let’s start with the reviews on Marriott’s website, which in theory are verified. The Aegon Mykonos’ rating on Marriott’s website is pretty bad (3.8 stars, which is among the lowest scores I’ve seen at any hotel).

The third most recent review gives a five star rating, and is titled:

“A must try hidden gem”

The fifth most recent review gives a five star rating, and is titled:

“Hidden Gem in Mykonos”

Both reviews are vague on details, but there’s something I find weird about that. Seriously, there are many things I’d call a decent Marriott, but a “hidden gem” isn’t one of them — there’s nothing hidden about a hotel belonging to the world’s biggest hotel group. Is it just a coincidence that two reviews not far apart use the same language?

So I looked a bit further back on the reviews page to see if there was any other use of the term “hidden” or “gem.” Well, going back a couple of months, the general manager responded to a review, using the “gem” word as well:

“We are a team of professionals gathered for the first time to open this brand new gem of property and tries to implement all this experience in a pressurized time schedule with all of the new safety measure on board.”

I suppose this could be a coincidence, but that seems… unlikely.

Looking over at TripAdvisor, I can’t help but find the reviews to be suspicious as well. For example, the most recent review is titled:

“Beautiful resort!! Only pay attention to 5 star reviews.”

Isn’t that a bit strange? When I left my (negative) review of the hotel, I didn’t say “terrible resort, only pay attention to one star reviews.” The review continues:

“We arrived yesterday and simply excellent so far. Dismiss any review other than 5 star.

Being a Marriott Ambassador members we are very discerning when it comes to resort properties. The Aegon is beautiful complimented by a wonderful accommodating staff. The breakfast buffet was excellent and I’ll be surprised if we have dinner tonight we are so full!”

Another recent review was also allegedly written by a Bonvoy Ambassador member:

What an incredible stay! We are here for 7 nights and are in day 4. As a Marriott Ambassador I have to say the service is the best I have had! We recently stayed at the Cosmo in Las Vegas and the Marriott Villas in Newport Beach, but this is just as good or better than any service we have had. We have 3 rooms and we are welcomed with friendly smiles and service that goes above and beyond. We are staying in the Revive part of the property, steps away from the beach, and we have amazing views of the beach every morning. Disregard all the negative reviews, as a native of Los Angeles, I can say with full confidence this is the place to stay when you come to Mykonos! I follow up with more as we continue our stay!!!

This review is bizarre on so many levels:

  • “Disregard all the negative reviews”
  • Being “a native of Los Angeles” allows you to say “with full confidence this is the place to stay when you come to Mykonos?”
  • You’re comparing this to… the Cosmo in Las Vegas and Marriott Villas in Newport Beach?

Those are just a couple of examples, but there’s something about so many of these reviews that just seems off. I’m not suggesting they’re all fake, I’m just wondering how others go about analyzing the legitimacy of these reviews.

And while I can’t say anything with certainty about the above reviews, I do know with certainty that this isn’t the hotel’s first time getting into the suspicious review business — on the hotel’s Google Reviews page, a family member of someone with a stake in the hotel leaves a review with her own name talking about how great the hotel is (at a time when the hotel had been closed for many months), and the general manager responds to thank her for the feedback, and say how much they’d love to welcome her again at the property.

Bottom line

TripAdvisor is a fantastic resource for travelers. That being said, there are no doubt a lot of fake reviews on the platform. Most of them are easy enough to spot, but as I’ve started to do some online research, it’s now becoming apparent that some of the fake reviews are more sophisticated than many may have previously assumed.

When looking at TripAdvisor reviews, how do you decide whether they’re trustworthy or not, especially for accounts that have multiple contributions?

Conversations (62)
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  1. Disappointed Guest

    There was one establishment we thought seemed like a nice place because of all the good reviews on Tripadvisor. After asking a couple reviewers some questions, I decided to book the place, however, the stay itself was quite strange. The most recent entry in ths guest book had been three years prior which was incongruent to the amount of raving reviews of the place.
    In hindsight, it is obvious the reviews were either paid...

    There was one establishment we thought seemed like a nice place because of all the good reviews on Tripadvisor. After asking a couple reviewers some questions, I decided to book the place, however, the stay itself was quite strange. The most recent entry in ths guest book had been three years prior which was incongruent to the amount of raving reviews of the place.
    In hindsight, it is obvious the reviews were either paid for or written by the establishment itself. I still think one of the so-called guests I contacted was actually the owner because she was defensive from the start of our stay and the conversations had the ring of 'I know you know that I know' sort of thing. Very creepy.
    One of the impossibly positive reviews went on in detail about the number of rooms the place had and how amazing the hosts were. But, there was no way for us to know nor did we care how many rooms the place had and, from what we experienced, the female host was manipulative and critical, even of the other guests and her own dog...poor thing.
    On a more serious note, the male host (presumably her much, much older husband or even grandfather) spoke no English whatsoever and just sat there scouling in the corner the entire time except when he tried to enter our room without knocking when it was obvious (the walls were thin) that my daughter was taking a shower.
    The same adjectives kept popping up over and over in the positive reviews and the only three remotely negative reviews were faced with long drawn out and defensive responses by the owners. This tactic succeeded in warding off my negative review of the place. I didn't care to be abused publicly on Tripadvisor. Incidentally, from what I read, none of the positive reviews even got a thank you from the owners. This I found odd but also very telling. Perhaps thanking themselves was where their twisted minds drew the line!
    Also, the experiences of the guests who left negative reviewers were very similar to our own negative experiences. Small things started to go missing from our room and when we spilt something on the quilt, the owner kept guilt tripping us on how they had replace the washing machine. She even made one guest pay to replace a sheet they spilt something on. I'm pretty sure that's illegal.
    If one missed the very limited breakfast one would be subjected to a passive aggressive ambush for the rest of the stay.
    Alas, if anyone wants to figure out which establishment this place is: let's just say it's in the south of France and has the English translation of Port in its name.

  2. Graeme Guest

    Recently asked a question as to extent of impacts of refugees of the Ukraine crisis on travelling in Poland as planned to travel thee. Got responses saying , basically, everything good - come to aid the economy. I am not against assisting in regard to the crisis, but wanted honest travel advice about rail etc, not political information. Then scathing responses started to pile up, especially from a couple of regular contributors, with more than...

    Recently asked a question as to extent of impacts of refugees of the Ukraine crisis on travelling in Poland as planned to travel thee. Got responses saying , basically, everything good - come to aid the economy. I am not against assisting in regard to the crisis, but wanted honest travel advice about rail etc, not political information. Then scathing responses started to pile up, especially from a couple of regular contributors, with more than 10000 and 3000 posts respectively.
    When I looked further, found one ran a tour company in Krakow aimed at UK tourists coming to Krakow, and the other Gdansk/Sopot walking tourist tours. Both obviously involve a major conflict of interest. Noted other posts by them where they jumped on anyone at all who did not have absolutely positive information about travel posted. Appears they had most posts they didn’t like deleted. Checked and both of these operators advertise on TripAdvisor - another potential conflict.
    Shows an absolutely critical issue on TripAdvisor as, although these types of contributors may post valuable information, they also appear to post biased information that suits their business self interest.
    I don’t believe TripAdvisor actually takes enough action against those who pay them fees etc, where suspicions are real, as conflicts of interest are obvious and flaws in the information they provide can easily be shown.
    Pays to be more circumspect than rely on supposedly independent reviews unfortunately.

  3. Sexy_kitten7 Guest

    Well Amazon has Fakespot so I guess Tripadvisor could use Tripspot! It might already exist!

  4. Sam Guest

    While hotels, restaurant and others can and do ‘arrange’ rigged reviews on sites like TA, they can’t do much about negative reviews. I scan review sites to see if problems were one-off mistakes unlikely to repeat, or endemic issues that predict a bad experience.

    Also, Booking.com only allows reviews by customers who booked through their site. This eliminates much of the fake reviews by family, friends, and phonies.

  5. Craig Guest

    As an early member (they used to send me swag) I had hundreds of reviews at the site, but I deleted my account when they stopped screening fake reviews and when they ignored multiple requests to delete an overtly racist review.

    When I do use TripAdvisor, I disregard any review that contains the word "amazing." It's become a garbage word that means nothing. Also, florid reviews by new users that lavish praise on an employee by name.

    1. Disappointed Guest

      Even if I stay at a place for more than a week, I don't remember the names of employees. So, when I see a series of reviews on a hotel naming the same employees repeatedly, I am very skeptical.

  6. Corey Guest

    Your best solution is to never use Trip advisor ever. Use a composite or review sites and avoid tripadvisor at all costs.

  7. Radtel New Member

    I agree with many of your points. For instance, when I look at an establishment on TA, I very seldom look at reports by reviewers that have done less then 10 (I have over 400, by the way). Sometimes this is not possible (there might only be a few) but most times this is a rule that I follow.

    I also like to look at the bad ratings first (drives my wife up the...

    I agree with many of your points. For instance, when I look at an establishment on TA, I very seldom look at reports by reviewers that have done less then 10 (I have over 400, by the way). Sometimes this is not possible (there might only be a few) but most times this is a rule that I follow.

    I also like to look at the bad ratings first (drives my wife up the wall). This way, I see how awful it could be. I think that competitors to some establishments, post negative articles, to boost their own business.

    TA is a bit unlike Google in that you really must include some words (I like to add photos as well). With Google one can just point and click and collect a brownie point. VRBO is really bad in that one has no idea how many articles the writer has done.

    I have some good friends in LA. Some of them think that this makes them an expert on travel advice. Some have been vaccinated.

    Some folks just can’t write. Some don’t get out much. Therefore, you will find writeups with bad grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc...

    Since the start of the pandemic, I have written very little. So, I may be falling into the same poor-quality work. Thank you for inspiring this response.

  8. Priscilla Guest

    I have accepted a long rime ago that positive reviews are fake. I think the ones giving you very specific details like types of rooms on different floors or reviewing policies are suspects ( something the management would want the customers to know) but at least informative. But lately I wonder if negative reviews are also be fake- bought by the competition and should not be trusted either.

  9. alain millett Guest

    I learnt all about Trip Advisor years ago, I was very involved and became a Destination Expert - I found that it was a vipers nest of self important people who were all intent on backstabbing and ego trips.
    I got badly treated and removed and banned from the site.
    New phone later and I got back on with a very different id and new email to do some research for travelling.
    ...

    I learnt all about Trip Advisor years ago, I was very involved and became a Destination Expert - I found that it was a vipers nest of self important people who were all intent on backstabbing and ego trips.
    I got badly treated and removed and banned from the site.
    New phone later and I got back on with a very different id and new email to do some research for travelling.
    We did an extensive UK and EU trip in May and June of 2016, being Aussies were had a few communication issues in Zermatt. We did not realise that virtually everyone ate at their hotels - we had been up the Gronergrat Railway after arriving from St Moritz on the Glacier Express.
    We ended up eating at the hotel we were staying at - no one explained to us it was a 3 course prix fixe - so while we were not overly hungry we just ordered a delicious clear beetroot soup and a desert each. The waiter was a bit superior to us , as we did not speak much german and the rest was history, we were not presented with an account to sign.
    When we checked out the next morning, I queried the EUR 90 for 2 soups and 2 deserts - and the owner just walked away into his office . The reception staff were left to deal with us and grudgingly gave us a EUR 14 credit.

    When I got back to Sydney I did log onto Trip Advisor under a id that would not indicate anything about me, gave a ripping review and 1 star.

    A couple of days later I get an email, from the hotel saying that my review had dropped them from the top ten hotels in Zermatt (down to 27) and would I remove my review, they offered to refund our nights accomodation and f&b tab. I did consider it for a moment and wrote back saying NO - I want other travellers to know how we experienced your hotel.

    So there you go - business's are prepared to pay for good review

  10. polarbear Guest

    Would not review left in the middle of the stay be another red flag?
    Do people really think of writing reviews while still in the hotel (unless maybe they were offered an incentive as some mentioned here)?

    1. Tom Guest

      I just did,and it's what led me to look up how to spot fake reviews. :-) I have written both good and bad reviews while killing time somewhere .

    2. Disappointed Guest

      There was a time recently where I wanted to write a negative review during the stay, it was that bad! I didn't though because they'd know it was me.

  11. Claus Guest

    The only thing I really look at on TripAdvisor is the photos people upload there. I find these very helpful to get a sense for the quality of the hotel and facilities. What people write mostly tells more about the person who writes the review than about the hotel. Not helpful for me.

  12. Neck Guest

    Everyone should leave this hotel a review based on their “recent experience”. OMAAT should bankrupt this place

  13. Ray Guest

    I only use TA reviews to get a general idea on the direction the property is headed. I travel back to the US a few times a year and stay in Orange County for 10-15 days. I could always find a great rate in one of the Hilton family properties near SNA (Hampton Inn Suites, Doubletree, etc.) but before Covid hit they rented out many of the properties to the homeless program and the reviews...

    I only use TA reviews to get a general idea on the direction the property is headed. I travel back to the US a few times a year and stay in Orange County for 10-15 days. I could always find a great rate in one of the Hilton family properties near SNA (Hampton Inn Suites, Doubletree, etc.) but before Covid hit they rented out many of the properties to the homeless program and the reviews saved me a lot of hassle cancelling once I saw it. What I do use TA for here is to get a quicker idea on parking situation, distance to city center (Americans like to go to Europe and then complain it is a 15 minute walk to center), and breakfast for Diamond members, etc. Other than that, the negative reviews are just angry people that didn't get what they felt they "deserved" or their spoiled brat kids caused a problem and the hotel talked to them about it so they lash out.

  14. Barry Guest

    I used to review for trip advisor a lot and gave a range of reviews. One day I discovered that most of my negative ones were edited or deleted. They refused to tell me why or change them. I have never posted on them since. When I read them I always read the bad reviews first and look for consistency of issues. One abysmal hotel and two bad restaurants had 4.5 star ratings but the handful of negative reviews identified all the issues I found there

  15. Bob Guest

    Details. Any comment lacking in details good or bad I ignore. Some fake reviewers are just there to try to lower ratings so they put sparse comments in. Poor English is another. Chances are good that the site will support localization so why would they try to post in a secondary language? I also look at comment dates. If a hotel didn't have a lot of comments then all of a sudden there are 4...

    Details. Any comment lacking in details good or bad I ignore. Some fake reviewers are just there to try to lower ratings so they put sparse comments in. Poor English is another. Chances are good that the site will support localization so why would they try to post in a secondary language? I also look at comment dates. If a hotel didn't have a lot of comments then all of a sudden there are 4 within minutes and all of them have similar language I know it's the same person.

  16. D3kingg Guest

    Any serious critic won’t just throw around 5 star reviews all the time.

  17. Peter Guest

    I'm with @Euro.
    I've had them remove mine. My complaint was about security and a theft in the lobby of the hotel. A very legitimate complaint.
    That's the last review I left there, and also the last time I used TA for anything but pictures.
    Good to know they're paying for reviews though. (kidding)

  18. Allison Guest

    Another way to spot fake reviews is that they tend to call out employees by name, over and over. You'll notice things like in the last 30 positive reviews, a dozen of them mention Brittany's amazing service at the front desk and another dozen mention Chad's amazing bartending skills.

    1. BBK Diamond

      Can't agree on this one, the only names I can remember are those of GREAT staff, and it's highly probable that many guests enjoy a similar experience with outstanding staff which naturally lead to more mentions of the name. D

    2. Disappointed Guest

      I had a horrible experience at one place and just couldn't believe how many 5 star reviews it had. I thought there was something wrong with me. Then, I was able ascertain that most the reviews were fake and I felt vindicated.

  19. VaCavalier Guest

    Cruise Critic, which is fully owned by TripAdvisor, has a history of their management actually incentivizing favorable reviews on their Cruise Critic Community Boards. In an episode dubbed by the media a "CruiseCriticGate" the website's management, including its President, with the participation of its Editor, made a deal with a leading cruise line (RCL) to secretly encourage some of their frequent posters to post favorable comments, secretly rewarding them with free cruises where they could...

    Cruise Critic, which is fully owned by TripAdvisor, has a history of their management actually incentivizing favorable reviews on their Cruise Critic Community Boards. In an episode dubbed by the media a "CruiseCriticGate" the website's management, including its President, with the participation of its Editor, made a deal with a leading cruise line (RCL) to secretly encourage some of their frequent posters to post favorable comments, secretly rewarding them with free cruises where they could mingle with Cruise Critic executives and staff members. This blew up in their face and was a major embarrassment to TripAdvisor.

  20. Dr. Stan Guest

    Excellent write-up, Ben! Thank you.
    "
    My default reaction to reviews anywhere is that they are fake.

    I only read those that have specifics ("we were in Room 23," "there was hair in the bathtub," "we paid $35 a night," "the smell of cigarettes in the room was overwhelming, so we asked for another, more acceptable, room).

    As you mentioned, the amount of detail is key to feeling that you are reading a...

    Excellent write-up, Ben! Thank you.
    "
    My default reaction to reviews anywhere is that they are fake.

    I only read those that have specifics ("we were in Room 23," "there was hair in the bathtub," "we paid $35 a night," "the smell of cigarettes in the room was overwhelming, so we asked for another, more acceptable, room).

    As you mentioned, the amount of detail is key to feeling that you are reading a real review. One or two lines of text...those I never read.

    Most of the time, when I have a wonderful stay, I don't write it up anywhere. I share my experience and positive opinion with the manager or front desk staff instead.

  21. DSK Guest

    Tripadvisor is very valuable to me but for a different reason than anyone stated in the comments (or at least that I noticed). I look over many reviews for tidbits of information that I would not otherwise realize. For example, letting the hotel know at check-in if you want housekeeping. How the reservation system works at the pool or beach. Whether there are good restaurants within walking distance. Whether wi-fi is weak in certain parts...

    Tripadvisor is very valuable to me but for a different reason than anyone stated in the comments (or at least that I noticed). I look over many reviews for tidbits of information that I would not otherwise realize. For example, letting the hotel know at check-in if you want housekeeping. How the reservation system works at the pool or beach. Whether there are good restaurants within walking distance. Whether wi-fi is weak in certain parts of the hotel but not others. Which locations are better in the hotel for the view. What is included in the free breakfast (or not included) since sometime it is less than clear and sometime there are items included if you only know to ask. If I can get an upgrade to a room on points with an undisclosed cash payment. Whether the hotel in the Hamptons has free beach passes or free bikes if you ask. All of these are real life examples. Things that the hotel will not necessarily volunteer unless asked. In other words, the things I would not necessarily have thought about before check in.

  22. Marty Guest

    Check out the Westgate Las Vegas. Review after review with folks with less than 2 or 3 reviews. The place is a giant timeshare hustle and most of the 5 star reviews are short and shy of details and always praise a particular staff member.

    Most of the negative reviews are left by experienced travelers with lots of posts under their belts.

  23. D3kingg Guest

    @JetSetGo

    Yeah exactly. That one star review because their was a $150 hold placed on my credit card.

  24. Joe Guest

    Hardly the worst of offenses.
    I took a terrible limo ride once... smelled of sewage, claimed privacy divider was broken.

    Left a bad review on Yelp. Stood for awhile until a group of people who actually worked for Yelp used their limo service for a party, and every one of them left a positive review. Everything else was filtered out.

  25. Bob Guest

    lol... a chain hotel called a hidden gem... yup thats a giveaway.

  26. Malc Gold

    If you want to read some fake reviews, go and have a look on TripAdvisor at any hotel or restaurant in Cairo. I mean it – any one. I would estimate more than eighty percent of the reviews for Egyptian hotels and restaurants are fake. A good indication is when thirty reviews in a row are written by someone who has made only one contribution. It's in stark contrast to somewhere like, say, New Zealand,...

    If you want to read some fake reviews, go and have a look on TripAdvisor at any hotel or restaurant in Cairo. I mean it – any one. I would estimate more than eighty percent of the reviews for Egyptian hotels and restaurants are fake. A good indication is when thirty reviews in a row are written by someone who has made only one contribution. It's in stark contrast to somewhere like, say, New Zealand, where well over ninety-something percent of the reviews seem genuine. It's actually hard to find a review of an Egyptian hotel or restaurant that doesn't seem fake.

  27. JOJO Guest

    its just like amazon reviews all BS

  28. Greg Guest

    I generally do a cursory read of the reviews - often looking for details about the hotel lounge or Platinum breakfast offering. I spend more time looking at the hotel photos to get a description of what the hotel looks like.

    And of course look to see if OMAAT has reviewed the hotel... that is the review I trust!

  29. Eskimo Guest

    For the Ambassador name drop part, reviews on Marriott.com does explicitly disclose your membership level. So no faking there.

    However, doesn't mean that hotel owners don't get these status comped either.

  30. Fsuga Guest

    My favorites on TripAdvisor are the reviews that don't address the hotel rooms at all. Check out The Gates South Beach for example. They manage to get tons of people to review the "yoga class" featuring a ridiculously buxom woman (not complaining) or the henna artist who apparently shows up on occasion with glowing 5 star reviews. As soon as you get to a review about the property, it's 1 Star reviews because the place...

    My favorites on TripAdvisor are the reviews that don't address the hotel rooms at all. Check out The Gates South Beach for example. They manage to get tons of people to review the "yoga class" featuring a ridiculously buxom woman (not complaining) or the henna artist who apparently shows up on occasion with glowing 5 star reviews. As soon as you get to a review about the property, it's 1 Star reviews because the place is filthy and management doesn't care. These are all over the place and TripAdvisor really needs to work on filtering those out to their own location. Who cares if the property has a nice hair braider on Sundays if you're sleeping in a roach motel for $300 per night.

  31. Reno Joe Guest

    All of the online rating services are compromised. We've all seen it: top Steakhouse in town has a 4-star rating but Sizzler Steakhouse has a 4.5-star rating. Different customers types, different expectations . . . even if honest.

    The question everyone really wants answered: Is there anything at this property that would make my stay not great? To that end, as a few have suggested, read the negative reviews and one will have the answer.

    ...

    All of the online rating services are compromised. We've all seen it: top Steakhouse in town has a 4-star rating but Sizzler Steakhouse has a 4.5-star rating. Different customers types, different expectations . . . even if honest.

    The question everyone really wants answered: Is there anything at this property that would make my stay not great? To that end, as a few have suggested, read the negative reviews and one will have the answer.

    An alternative strategy -- admittedly expensive -- is to limit one's stay at hotels whose network strictly enforces service standards. Dorchester Collection, Four Seasons, Mandarian Oriental, Peninsula, etc. Book through AMEX FHR and receive elite-type benefits. I've had consistently superior stays with AMEX FHR. (I'm not an owner or employee of AMEX or any hotel.)

  32. Donna Diamond

    If I relied on TripAdvisor reviews, I’d never stay anywhere! There are some brutal ones about properties at which I have stayed many times and found absolutely great. In contrast, like Lucky’s nightmare, I’ve had some terrible experiences at top rated places. I learned to discount most of the overly complimentary and brutal reviews and focus on the middle of the pack ratings always keeping in mind that people have highly different standards when rating...

    If I relied on TripAdvisor reviews, I’d never stay anywhere! There are some brutal ones about properties at which I have stayed many times and found absolutely great. In contrast, like Lucky’s nightmare, I’ve had some terrible experiences at top rated places. I learned to discount most of the overly complimentary and brutal reviews and focus on the middle of the pack ratings always keeping in mind that people have highly different standards when rating their comfort level. I don’t expect perfection from a three star place but if I’m staying at a five star hotel, that place needs to be run in a state of near perfection.

    Restaurant reviews are crazy on TripAdvisor. You can’t believe anything, good or bad. Goes to illustrate that opinions on what constitutes good cuisine vary greatly.

  33. kk Guest

    The other sign of a fake review is if a staff member's name is mentioned numerous times and way too fawningly, in kind of a fake way (NOT like the way OMAAT mentions very kind staff, like the Greek ladies at the other resort he stayed at). Doesn't make a huge difference, and relatively benign, since those reviews don't usually focus on the rest of the hotel, but mainly the staff member... but something to...

    The other sign of a fake review is if a staff member's name is mentioned numerous times and way too fawningly, in kind of a fake way (NOT like the way OMAAT mentions very kind staff, like the Greek ladies at the other resort he stayed at). Doesn't make a huge difference, and relatively benign, since those reviews don't usually focus on the rest of the hotel, but mainly the staff member... but something to consider, as employees can be rewarded due to direct mentions.

  34. DENDAVE Guest

    I think there is another angle to fake TA reviews that falls between non guest fake and legitimate guest reviews. I've received offers for perks for leaving a positive review (I think always at restaurants or attractions - don't think this has happened at a hotel yet). Sometimes this has been in the form a free drink, other times as rewards staff will get. Most recently, if I left a 5-star review and mentioned the...

    I think there is another angle to fake TA reviews that falls between non guest fake and legitimate guest reviews. I've received offers for perks for leaving a positive review (I think always at restaurants or attractions - don't think this has happened at a hotel yet). Sometimes this has been in the form a free drink, other times as rewards staff will get. Most recently, if I left a 5-star review and mentioned the server's name in the review, he would get like a $15 (might have been more) gift card. He even left us a business card with instructions and his name. It was good service, so if had left a review it would have been accurate in this case. And maybe he tried harder due to the incentive. Still, a lot of gaming...

  35. brteacher Guest

    It's hilarious that the "native of Los Angeles" writes exactly how you would expect someone to write if English were their second language.

    1. Nick Guest

      Like Billy Joel said, “Los Angelenos, all come from somewhere.”

    2. Donna Diamond

      I also find that hilarious. I’m a native of San Diego but I can’t see how that would add credibility to any hotel review I could write. It’s not like I stay in hotels in San Diego or have higher standards because of where I live! Even more crazy is the Marriott Ambassador name dropping, like it’s a hotel evaluation credential. Frankly, anyone who stays so many nights at Marriott is probably a long suffering soul who needs to be set free from that prison!

    3. Dodger Guest

      As a native Angeleno (proud graduate of Calabasas High School - go Coyotes!), few people from there will write “I follow up with more…” omitting the word “will” or contraction “I’ll”. Perhaps it’s a typo, but I doubt it. I’m certainly not criticizing anyone for having English as a second language and missing certain rules. Like most Americans, my foreign language skills are basically limited to hola, por favor, gracias, and adios - and the...

      As a native Angeleno (proud graduate of Calabasas High School - go Coyotes!), few people from there will write “I follow up with more…” omitting the word “will” or contraction “I’ll”. Perhaps it’s a typo, but I doubt it. I’m certainly not criticizing anyone for having English as a second language and missing certain rules. Like most Americans, my foreign language skills are basically limited to hola, por favor, gracias, and adios - and the equivalent in a few other languages. However, I don’t think a “native of Los Angeles” would write in English that way.

  36. Euro Guest

    Ever since I found out that Tripadvisor can censor or take down negative reviews, I just almost entirely ignore them for reviews and ratings and instead either read reviews on various blogs. Even Flyertalk discussions on specific properties I give more credibility to than Tripadvisor reviews.

    1. Allen Member

      I learned this the hard way about 5 years ago. Until then, I had written a few dozen hotel reviews on TA and had read hundreds if not thousands when preparing for trips. On on occasion, I had a poor experience at a hotel--several minor/moderate problems with the hotel itself and a significant problem with one of its guests. I left a balanced, detailed review, giving it 2 stars overall. The review posted, but I...

      I learned this the hard way about 5 years ago. Until then, I had written a few dozen hotel reviews on TA and had read hundreds if not thousands when preparing for trips. On on occasion, I had a poor experience at a hotel--several minor/moderate problems with the hotel itself and a significant problem with one of its guests. I left a balanced, detailed review, giving it 2 stars overall. The review posted, but I noticed several days later, the review had disappeared without a trace, and with notification to me that the post had been removed. (For the record, I said absolutely nothing untoward or that would violate any T&C at all. It was just a standard review, albeit critical.) Clearly, the hotel did not appreciate the less-than-5-star review, contacted TA, and had the review deleted. And since I had done nothing to warrant that censorship, TA did not bother to tell me what they had quietly done. Ever since that time, I've not contributed to their site and no longer regard their reviews as fully credible since I have no idea how many legitimate critical reviews of a hotel may have been suppressed.

    2. C Brown Guest

      I have written negative feedback on EBay and TA and it has been deleted. I think it all about $$$

  37. Hepworth Guest

    Neither Cosmo nor Newport Villas are the type of property where there would be any real personal service/staff interaction (casino hotel and vacation club property). But people are idiots, so doesn’t necessarily mean review is fake :)

    1. NIck Member

      Lol the claim about being a Marriott Ambassador is a giveaway...

    2. Michael Guest

      I wonder if that reviewer has filed reviews of the Cosmo or Newport Villas. I suspect not.

  38. x Member

    Ben, that person also posted in the FT thread - new account, same regurgitated garbage - pretty sure it is fake.

    https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/33428436-post244.html

  39. C Brown Guest

    So ignore the positive ones and take all the negatives as real.

  40. JetSetGo Guest

    I never bother to read 3,4,5 star reviews. I mainly read 1 and 2 star ones as those ones tell you what’s wrong with the property and how management handles them. It’s easy to tell bad reviews left by anal whack jobs. I ignore them. How a manger respond to criticism tells you the culture of the hotel and what would happen to you if you have similar problem when you arrive at the hotel...

    I never bother to read 3,4,5 star reviews. I mainly read 1 and 2 star ones as those ones tell you what’s wrong with the property and how management handles them. It’s easy to tell bad reviews left by anal whack jobs. I ignore them. How a manger respond to criticism tells you the culture of the hotel and what would happen to you if you have similar problem when you arrive at the hotel and encounter same problem. Of course I also pay attention when the reviews took place as management could easily have moved on.

    1. lamphstravels New Member

      I do much of the same, expect I include the 3 star reviews also. And I only look at the reviews a year or newer. I find so many of the 1 and 2 star reviews to be because of a very minor issue specific to that guest. Also if in question, I'll checkout hotels.com or booking.com for a comparison. This process has worked successfully for me.

    2. David Guest

      I also do the same. Impossible to weed out which 5 star reviews are real (and even if they are, would I trust the review of someone who's FOTSG?). Best policy is to look at the bad reviews to see what issues the hotel might have, and see how the hotel responds.

    3. Bubba Guest

      Yeah. If a hotel only has glowing reviews, it's clearly paying clones. There's always some problem customer complaining about something. For that matter, very little in this world is perfect, and for everything else, a good review should point out where and at what level the flaws are. So if I get a British tourist complaining that the room in the fourth arrondissement is way too small compared to a motorway Travelodge, I know I...

      Yeah. If a hotel only has glowing reviews, it's clearly paying clones. There's always some problem customer complaining about something. For that matter, very little in this world is perfect, and for everything else, a good review should point out where and at what level the flaws are. So if I get a British tourist complaining that the room in the fourth arrondissement is way too small compared to a motorway Travelodge, I know I can trust the complaints. If I then get a solid 4 star review that notes that the worst sin was that toilet paper roll was inserted backwards, I can conclude that, while not a legendary experience, the place will be decent.

    4. Timtamtrak Member

      Couldn’t agree more - the tone of the responses from hotel management are hugely indicative of the hotels culture. Well said!

    5. Points Adventure Guest

      There are plenty of suspicious 1-2 star reviews from new users either hired by a competitor or has serious issues.

  41. 23H Guest

    "I follow up with more as we continue our stay!!!"

    Unless I'm missing something, guests can only get a Marriott.com review onto the site as part of the post-stay survey process - odd that they'd follow-up later in their stay.

  42. Brutus Guest

    I didn't realize people still take Trip Advisor reviews seriously. It's just too easy to game the system.

  43. NIck Member

    Good Tripadvisor reviews are the one of the most important thing for hotels in places like Myknons where most folks won't return at least for many years. There are shady outfits that curate profiles and even advertise that the reviewers will be "real" and authentic. So for any profile carefully look at the other reviews, even 25+ contributions doesn't mean they are legitimate. There are usually some give aways though, like grammar errors that are...

    Good Tripadvisor reviews are the one of the most important thing for hotels in places like Myknons where most folks won't return at least for many years. There are shady outfits that curate profiles and even advertise that the reviewers will be "real" and authentic. So for any profile carefully look at the other reviews, even 25+ contributions doesn't mean they are legitimate. There are usually some give aways though, like grammar errors that are common for folks from certain parts of the world.

    1. Disappointed Guest

      Also, if it's a tourist community the establishments may have an 'I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine' reciprocity going on.

  44. VITOR SILVA Guest

    I did grass on a number of clearly fake reviews or planted by the manager in different countries, like Brazil, Thailand, Germany, Argentina.
    TA take no measures whatsoever, the platform hast lost its credibility years ago when decided to turn the portal into 'social media', even allowing disguised monetisation of posts by some 'preferred' users...
    One must be extra careful and always prefer the very long and detailed reviews that mention both the good and the bad.

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Allen Member

I learned this the hard way about 5 years ago. Until then, I had written a few dozen hotel reviews on TA and had read hundreds if not thousands when preparing for trips. On on occasion, I had a poor experience at a hotel--several minor/moderate problems with the hotel itself and a significant problem with one of its guests. I left a balanced, detailed review, giving it 2 stars overall. The review posted, but I noticed several days later, the review had disappeared without a trace, and with notification to me that the post had been removed. (For the record, I said absolutely nothing untoward or that would violate any T&C at all. It was just a standard review, albeit critical.) Clearly, the hotel did not appreciate the less-than-5-star review, contacted TA, and had the review deleted. And since I had done nothing to warrant that censorship, TA did not bother to tell me what they had quietly done. Ever since that time, I've not contributed to their site and no longer regard their reviews as fully credible since I have no idea how many legitimate critical reviews of a hotel may have been suppressed.

3
alain millett Guest

I learnt all about Trip Advisor years ago, I was very involved and became a Destination Expert - I found that it was a vipers nest of self important people who were all intent on backstabbing and ego trips. I got badly treated and removed and banned from the site. New phone later and I got back on with a very different id and new email to do some research for travelling. We did an extensive UK and EU trip in May and June of 2016, being Aussies were had a few communication issues in Zermatt. We did not realise that virtually everyone ate at their hotels - we had been up the Gronergrat Railway after arriving from St Moritz on the Glacier Express. We ended up eating at the hotel we were staying at - no one explained to us it was a 3 course prix fixe - so while we were not overly hungry we just ordered a delicious clear beetroot soup and a desert each. The waiter was a bit superior to us , as we did not speak much german and the rest was history, we were not presented with an account to sign. When we checked out the next morning, I queried the EUR 90 for 2 soups and 2 deserts - and the owner just walked away into his office . The reception staff were left to deal with us and grudgingly gave us a EUR 14 credit. When I got back to Sydney I did log onto Trip Advisor under a id that would not indicate anything about me, gave a ripping review and 1 star. A couple of days later I get an email, from the hotel saying that my review had dropped them from the top ten hotels in Zermatt (down to 27) and would I remove my review, they offered to refund our nights accomodation and f&b tab. I did consider it for a moment and wrote back saying NO - I want other travellers to know how we experienced your hotel. So there you go - business's are prepared to pay for good review

2
DSK Guest

Tripadvisor is very valuable to me but for a different reason than anyone stated in the comments (or at least that I noticed). I look over many reviews for tidbits of information that I would not otherwise realize. For example, letting the hotel know at check-in if you want housekeeping. How the reservation system works at the pool or beach. Whether there are good restaurants within walking distance. Whether wi-fi is weak in certain parts of the hotel but not others. Which locations are better in the hotel for the view. What is included in the free breakfast (or not included) since sometime it is less than clear and sometime there are items included if you only know to ask. If I can get an upgrade to a room on points with an undisclosed cash payment. Whether the hotel in the Hamptons has free beach passes or free bikes if you ask. All of these are real life examples. Things that the hotel will not necessarily volunteer unless asked. In other words, the things I would not necessarily have thought about before check in.

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