Online reviews: separating the wheat from the chaff

By | Category: Travel news, Travel rumblings

How can you tell if online reviews are true, before booking your next break?

It’s a question of increasing importance after the recent revelation by The Sunday Times that TripAdvisor – the popular website owned by the giant internet travel agent Expedia – features fake reviews. Apparently a whole host of hoteliers have offered free meals and rooms, or cash alternatives, in exchange for favourable reviews.

The good news is that researchers at Cornwell University are developing computer software that will be able to pick out bogus reviews, by analysing parts of speech. Word is that deceptive reviews generally use more verbs, adverbs and pronouns while real reviews focus on features of the hotel. But what happens when reviewers wise up to what the computer programme looks for?

Our advice? By all means read travel reviews but keep in mind that like anything, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The best way to gain a sense of what a place is really like, is through word of mouth.

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