An easy way to test this sorta stuff

Up to fifty per cent of five star reviews for some of the highest-ranking hotels on TripAdvisor are “suspicious”, a Which? investigation has found.

The consumer watchdog has criticised TripAdvisor for failing to stop luxury hotels being boosted by fake reviews which can mislead travellers and ruin holidays.

It’s not that difficult to find work writing reviews…..

16 thoughts on “An easy way to test this sorta stuff”

  1. A+++ Would visit again. My wife and I had a splendid time at Timmy’s, fabulous views and something for everybloke.

    Contra the fake 1-star reviews we barely heard any screams from the nearby Mr Eckses Socialist Helicopter Tours.

  2. I use Tripadvisor reviews to help with holiday and hotel choices and find it really useful. I also contribute reviews as well.

    There is a certain skill required to parse the reviews and often the negative reviews are more telling (although often saying more about the reviewer).

    Overall though, if everyone says somewhere is good, it generally is and vice versa.

  3. I don’t give five stars; three— good enough, four—pleasantly surprised, two— won’t be coming back. But everyone thinks they deserve five, and would be upset by three, so often I don’t review at all.
    As for reading reviews, ignore all the 5*, read the bad ones first, they may be an unjustified rant but there is likely a kernel of truth in something less than 5*.

  4. Also, I doubt there is a certain way to decide what’s fake and what’s not.

    Somewhere along the way I subscribed to a business traveller email and a couple of months ago noticed.a forum discussion about the merits of various airline premium economy services.

    I thought I’d be helpful and pointed out that I have been travelling in PE from HKG-SYD once a year for a while and I much preferred the Qantas service and cabin, especially compared with Cathay.

    I got a response from some bell end accusing me of being a Cathay stooge because apparently no-one could possibly genuinely argue that Qantas is better.

  5. I quite like the way that Ecks will always ask a bad reviewer exactly what could be done to improve the experience.


    Yes, that’s my approach too, Head for the ones and twos, and try to interpret (both content and number).

  6. The thing with TA is that it works. You’re in a strange town, you fancy a certain sort of food. Pick one of the places on the first page.

    It might not be great and not just because of fraud but personal taste. But it’ll at least be good.

    Personally, I think it’s why Jamie’s Italian went down the tube. People used to go there because in a strange town, they trusted Jamie Oliver over random family Italian restaurant. Along comes TA and his restaurants get lots of 3* ratings, which means people go to a great local Italian place instead.

    It also sharpened up the Red Lion at Avebury. People used to visit the stone circle, have no idea where to go and just go to the Red Lion, which was crap. Along comes TripAdvisor and people start going to the Waggon(sic) and Horses nearby instead.

  7. MC,

    You can try and flag these things up with AI stuff, but it’s never great and if you get good human reviews, they’re unrecognisable.

  8. I’m one of the Google account admins for a small steam railway.

    If I was totally honest (and knowing a bit about the competition) I’d say rated fairly we are a 3-4 star quality experience. I’m constantly surprised that we actually get almost all 5 star reviews (about 80% of reviews are 5 star, with about 15% 4 star, and 5% 3 or lower). I’m also surprised how many reviews we get – I reckon around 1 in 50 customers leaves a written review – I assume this is Google prompting for reviews after tracking people there via maps.

  9. theProle,

    Maybe the sort of people who go on steam railway trips are a bit kinder than most? But it’s also about expectations. Does your steam railway do what people expect it to do?

  10. the Prole
    I think the large number of 5* reviews is a consequence of this grade inflation by which anything less will be seen as unfair. As I said up-thread, I often consider it kinder and fairer to not give a review than be truthful and say ‘not bad’. “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all”

  11. It depends what you’re comparing it with. Only a few anoraks go on a steam railway many times a year, so for most customers it will be a subjective rating based on their experience. And since steam railways are largely staffed by enthusiastic volunteers who are delighted to be there, the subjective experience is likely to be good, compared to (say) a supermarket.

    I’ve just given the Vale of Rheidol 5*, and yes I was prompted by Google, but I don’t respond unless my experience was particularly good (or bad).

  12. I gave up on ratings years ago when I realized gunbroker and ebay have inflated ratings to where EVERYONE is wonderful.

  13. My TA reviews start at 3*, then I work out whether is justification for movement either way
    TBH anywhere that’s in business for a decent period will be running at a 3* rating. Genuinely crap businesses rating a 1 or 2* will be out of business sharpish

    I’m sparing on 5*but if I think somewhere is worth it I will justify it in the text

    5* reviews with a single sentence review are not worth considering

    I’m keen on places which respond to poor reviews, even if it is to criticise the reviewer, it shows they care

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