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Consumers warned of fake hotel reviews


How some hotels promote their own accommodation



A rising tide of false reviews is forcing consumer groups to warn consumers about fake hotel reviews. Most recently the organisation Choice Consumers said that users of sites like TripAdvisor should look out for fake reviews this holiday season.

“The boom in hotel review sites has given rise to the practice of ‘astroturfing’ or the writing of fake reviews by companies to promote their own accommodation,” Choice Consumers spokesman Tom Godfrey explained.

“Second to friends, people place their trust in reviews before editorial content, ads, marketing and government-sponsored tourism websites. Yet US-based TripAdvisor, the world’s biggest online travel review service, has no plans to improve its verification processes.”

In one example, the New York Attorney General heavily fined 19 companies that wrote fake online reviews or created fake online profiles for businesses.


[pictured: Berchtesgaden Resort, Germany; photo courtesy IHG]


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