You can usually sniff out a bogus review on TripAdvisor or Yelp.
There’s just something about it: The language is too precise, the praise too nuanced, the grammar errors too easy.
You know what I’m talking about.
Before you suggest I'm just being paranoid, Metrics Marketing, a San Francisco-based hotel research marketing firm, released a report
showing that as much as 40 percent of hotel reviews are made up by the establishments or commissioned by them.
According to a Los Angeles Times story on the report
“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.
“The study also argued that young people are overrepresented in online reviews. Only 20 percent of adults older than 50 submit such reviews, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.”
A graphic from Metrics Marketing helps visualize these results:
There’s an important caveat to this story: Metric Marketing wants hotels to hire the company to conduct guest surveys.
Meanwhile, TripAdvisor released survey results
last week indicating “98 percent of respondents found TripAdvisor hotel reviews to be accurate of the actual experience.”
It's probably best to take the reviews, and the studies about the reviews, with a grain of salt.