This report seems to say that consumer driven reporting on hotels can be skewed, even toward a negative review.
You'll have to decide after reading the article.
Interesting article, thanks for posting!!
I have mixed reviews on the article. I agree that sometimes there may be situations where employees at a hotel might give a good rating to their hotel and/or a bad rating to a competitive hotel, but if TripAdvisor has 100 reviews, and 90% say a hotel is awful, I would give that collective opinion a strong weight.
The article mentioned that some reviews posted are from people who have only stayed one night, and therefore give a negative review. My experience is quite the opposite. If I stay for only 1 night, I dont get a chance to see all the potential problems in service and I tend to rate those hotels higher. After spending 4-5 or more nights in one hotel, then I think the hidden issues have more of a chance to show themselves.
I hope lists like the ones tripAdvisor publishes will force bad hotels to clean up their act.
Thankfully, even the worst Marriott (I've stayed in) did not place on TripAdvisors Dirtiest Hotels in the United States, but one of IHG's Days Inn did.
As little 83% will qualify on TripAdvisor's Top 25 ahead of the six Marriott properties that enjoy higher percentages (underscoring the questions about methodology.)
TripAdvisor's claim of having more than 30 million 'trusted' members is very suspect too. Leads one to ask, what are they counting, unique IPAddress or e-mail address?
The TripAdvisor site can be skewed by employees or competitors. But the reviews have information about the reviewers which help one determine if they are biased. The number of reviews by contributor and the reviews themselves are available. So a very positive or negative review that is the only review done by that person can be given less weight than a review by someone who has contributed numerous reviews.
Reviewers tend to expect more as room prices increase. So a four or five star property that is otherwise a better stay than a two or three star may be rated lower because expecations are higher. As the number of reviews grows, the average score tends to accurately reflect what one should expect. Many reviews point out factual items which may help decision making.
Sometimes the property changes substantially and the reviews still attach. I was checking a new Atlanta Marriott at Lenox Square Mall which had been (I think) a Sheraton and recently reopened as a Marriott. The reviews went back several years, mostly for the prior ownership. Many were very negative. There was no indication of the changeover. So a quick review without noting that may give an incorrect impression.
But overall, the TripAdvisor site provides a great deal of information. A careful reviewer can glean insight to help select appropriate properties.