When is a Holiday Inn actually a Rodeway Inn? When you’re booking on TripAdvisor, that’s when. At least that’s what Thomas Burgei discovered when he tried to make a reservation through the site and encountered a TripAdvisor website error that he couldn’t resolve.
Maybe you’ve heard about Jason Puerner, or someone like him.
Puerner, a transportation planner from Lakewood, Colo., says he recently rented a Chevrolet Cruze with a pre-existing scratch from Enterprise. After returning the vehicle, he refused to cough up $412 for repairs and ended up on the company’s infamous “Do Not Rent” list.
Alina Novak’s complaint had a familiar ring to it. While she was searching for an inexpensive round-trip ticket from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on TripAdvisor.com, she stumbled upon a $177 airfare.
Don’t believe everything you read online, especially on user-generated review websites such as TripAdvisor or Yelp, which claim to help you find the best hotels and restaurants.
At least that’s the standard warning issued repeatedly by travel experts for the last decade. The ratings are rigged by hotel or restaurant operatives, or by unhappy patrons trying to shame a business, they say. Since the sites make no meaningful efforts to stop these bogus posts, all the so-called user-generated sites should be ignored when you’re planning your next trip.
TripAdvisor is a regrettable by-product of the information revolution whose user-generated ratings too often hurt travelers and travel companies more than they help.
As I’ve noted in the past, the company cynically monetizes the labor of its unpaid contributors while making virtually no effort to verify its reviews.
TripAdvisor doesn’t promise its readers much, but the least it can do is to live up to the few guarantees it makes.
Even so, when I heard from Ellen Garland, who charged the company with allowing a hotel in Anguilla to brazenly game its ratings, I didn’t want to go there.
Glenn Monroe and his wife own the Westbrook Inn, in Connecticut, which he describes as the “perfect” place to “step back in time to the romantic Victorian era.”
But that isn’t how some TripAdvisor reviewers see it. Although the Westbrook Inn is fairly highly ranked on the site, it has a few critics, some of which claim his rooms are overrated and that Monroe’s staff is “not nice.”
Who is hunnyb62?
The answer matters to Daniel Corcoran and a group of contributors to TripAdvisor’s Baltimore forum. It should matter to you, too.