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Travel Tip: Finding Accurate Online Travel Reviews

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In today’s world of citizen journalism, everyone can be a critic. But is what you’re reading necessarily accurate?

Plenty of people use TripAdvisor to check out hotels. It’s a powerful tool, and the law of averages usually gives you a pretty good picture. But the problem is anyone can post a review, even if they haven’t stayed there. TripAdvisor has a policy against those who post fake reviews, but policing it is another story. And believe me, there’s an incentive.

One study from Cornell found that if a hotel’s score on the website Travelocity goes up by just one point, they can raise rates by 11.2 percent and still keep the same occupancy rate. So how can you tell whether a review is legit?

Cross reference with sites that require proof that reviewers have stayed at the property. HotelMe is a new site that requires verification, and Expedia will confirm that you booked through them before you can review.

Trust your gut. If you see several reviews posted within a short period, it’s a red flag. And all those superlative words like “best,” “lushest” and “superb,” are a dead giveaway.

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