Hotel review sites can be a big help, but of course the problem with them is that you usually don’t know if a reviews is bogus or not. There are competitors and disgruntled workers bashing hotels, and on the flip side, there are hotel employees getting paid to generate fake glowing reviews. In fact, I have a friend that used to work for a hotel, and she and her colleagues were asked to create fake reviews. The hotel would pay for them to spend the night so it looked legit, but obviously it wasn’t.
So what’s a consumer supposed to do? I always say take reviews with a grain of salt. I usually throw out the best and the worst and use the rest. However, there’s a new website out there based on research at Cornell University called Review Skeptic, which uses machine learning to identify fake hotel reviews with supposedly almost 90% accuracy. Users can copy and paste a review into a box on the site to have it analyzed. Review Skeptic also asks users to flag reviews that they know are real or fake to help improve their algorithm. The site works best with English hotel reviews and it warns that its service is offered “for entertainment purposes only.”