Nine tips for travelers on how to spot fake hotel reviews by expert Matthew Hairsnape, CEO of Triend. In his advice to tourists, he emphasized that the problem of fake hotel reviews, as well as restaurants, attractions and other “travel industry enterprises”, is very common and tourists need to know how to identify such reviews in order not to be disappointed in their vacation.
< p>The expert gave the following statistics: in 2020, more than two million reviews were rejected or removed from Tripadvisor in 2020. Reasons for removal include fraud, bias, and violation of community standards. The author of the tips also collected statistics – his Triend application pays users to share unedited videos about places while traveling.
The expert highlights the following warning signs:
- Extremely high percentage of 5 stars: “While some people may have had a flawless experience at the listed location, it is very unlikely that no customer had a problem,” stated Mr. Hairsnape. According to him, live reviews, even positive ones, tend to include small suggestions for improvement or add something that was not to your liking. If a significant number of users leave exclusively “five-star” reviews, it is likely that this is a fake.
- “Flowery” language, full of superlatives: if a significant part of the reviews are written in flowery, extravagant language, especially full of superlative adjectives – most likely, you have a fake – says the expert. There may be one or two reviews of this kind, tourists are still different, but if there is a lot of such an enthusiastic approach, it is rather suspicious. “The overly decorative language suggests that these particular users are doing their best to make this place 'bewitching', for example,” the expert noted.
- Too much “I”: As Mr. Hairsnape stated, fake reviewers often overuse the word “I” in an attempt to compensate for the lack of direct experience with too much of this pronoun. “If the story seems to indicate the immediacy of the author’s visit, to the detriment of the descriptions of the environment, food and service, this is a wake-up call,” the expert noted.
- Vague testimonials: The more detailed the testimonial, which highlights specific strengths and weaknesses, the more likely it is to be real. And vice versa – the more vague the description, the more likely it is that the review is not authentic. “Most genuine reviewers consciously delve into the details of their experience in order to give an honest picture,” notes Mr. Hairsnape. Small details like a faucet blocking part of the view, or free bread sticks served as a nice surprise at the start of a meal, go a long way in assessing the credibility of a story, he says.
- Checking dates: the expert recommends reviewing the review history of each user just in case. “If a tourist claims to have tasted the worst Parisian coke-o-wine one day and the finest chili crab in Singapore the next day, something is wrong,” Mr Hairsnape explained. He recalled that paid reviews are an objective reality, many write completely artistic and detailed fakes, which, nevertheless, are easily identified by such trifles. “For most paid reviewers, it doesn't matter if they're reviewing two places 10,000 miles apart in the same day. Therefore, evaluate the validity of the dates and places that users claim to have visited,” he emphasized.
- Polar reviews: another indicator of fake, which is worth looking at the user's page. If most of the reviews turn out to be either a complete plus or a categorical minus, there is a high probability that you have a professional fake review creator in front of you.
- Diagnosis by avatar: if the user profile does not contain his photo, you can also be wary. As a rule, they try to attach neutral pictures to fraudulent reviews. Also, fakes are not signed with a real name. “Be careful when reading reviews from users who don't have a profile photo, have a very extravagant name like Theodore GoldenApple or one that is considered very common like John Smith,” the expert warned. Speaking in Russian, Ivan Ivanov is likely to be a fake review writer.
- Public Advertising: Mr. Hairsnape also urged to be careful with reviews that are critical of one place, and in the same review in a positive key respond about another institution. Often this is hidden advertising – the expert warns. “In most cases, these types of comments come from someone who is trying to redirect customers to a competing business,” he said.
quantity. The first thing to consider is that “defamatory reviews” are often published by business competitors for their own benefit.
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