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Why Hotel Reviews Usually Do Not Matter..
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There are a lot of web sites that exist for the sole purpose of collecting reviews. This is their way of growing and having consumers create content that other consumers use to make decisions. For the type of web site that offers its user reviews to the web public this model offers a route to growth and sustainability that is cheap and if it is not abused, potentially valuable. This type of growth for a web site is basically free user generated content. Aside from a reviewer or two of these user generated pages the cost is nothing. This is a good model for growth. It works for Wikipedia. Web sites do better in Google and other search engines the more pages and links any web site has.

If any business gets a bad review on a web site, especially a popular web site, its business can be hurt. In theory this makes businesses more responsive to consumers. It makes sense if it is used responsibly and ethically. The veracity of reviews is paramount in their effectiveness. One can easily understand how reviews can be abused or be abusive.

First, suppose that a good or bad review is honest. In the latter instance suppose you rent a hotel room at a 1-star hotel and the Jacuzzi ports have some grunge in them. You tell the manager about it and he/she offers to make it good by offering a room type upgrade. You refuse that and later write a bad review about the place. This actually happened at a hotel in Redlands California. Did the hotel deserve a bad review? In the first instance the hotel was rated 1-star which should be a red flag to anybody. Second, the manager did offer to make it good. Third, the room rate was less than one third of what the 3-star hotels charged in Redlands. In her review the lady did not mention the mitigating issues and only wrote of the bath tub issue. A reader of her review would not know this. Granted crap in the bath tub is really tacky but was this a biased review given the other circumstances?

In the latter instance, a good review, two issues emerge. First, was the review contrived in any way to make the place look good? Second, it was just an actual review and thus reliable. The first issue, was the review made up, is the main weakness of relying on reviews. Most of the large hotel chains have people writing reviews full time. This is well known in the industry and has been happening since the first reviews were published on the net. Why not write your own reviews? It is not hard to understand why writing a positive review for your company is compelling. You don't have to lie. Just write about the good or great things about your hotel or in most cases, hotels. Then if you write a positive review about you establishment what's stopping you from trashing your competitors?

Reviews can be informative whether they are made up by the staff of the hotel chain or by some honest traveler wanting to inform, or in some cases, warn, fellow travelers.  

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