Many tourists are influenced by reviews when they book a holiday. But, they could be being misled by fake or scam reviews.
Kim Burgess, chief customer officer at Feefo reviews platform, said: “Ninety-seven percent of people read reviews before making a purchase and the vast majority of Brits won’t book a getaway until they have spent time reading other travellers’ feedback.
“Yet, fake reviews are duping people out of their holiday money. In fact, research from Channel 4 found that as many as one in three hotel reviews are fake.”
Accommodation providers might write reviews themselves to boost their rankings or scammers could use review platforms to trick customers.
But before Britons panic too much, there are a few ways that tourists can spot a dodgy or fake review.
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Kim said: “To make sure your holiday is a success and you get the best deal, it’s important to know how to look out for a fake review.
“Reading reviews on verified platforms where feedback has been through robust verification procedures is your safest bet.
“Open review platforms are where anyone can leave a review, with no robust checks in place to ensure the reviewer has experienced a hotel or a holiday.”
This means that even properties with the maximum amount of stars could be very different to what customers expect.
She added: “If you’re using an open platform to read reviews, watch out for over enthusiastic feedback.
“Too much of a good thing should be treated with caution. Multiple reviews that simply state ‘Best hotel I’ve ever stayed in’ could be a tell-tale sign that feedback isn’t genuine.
“Look for a pattern of over complimentary reviews that use suspiciously similar wording.”
If the fake reviews were written by a bot or one person they might use very similar wording to each other.
If none of the reviews contain any negative points, it could also be a sign that some of the reviews aren’t genuine.
“Everyone should also be cautious of websites with large numbers of reviews left on the same day as this is likely a way to hide negative feedback,” said Kim.
She added: “When reviews repeatedly use the name of a hotel, this could also be because someone is trying to push it up in search engine websites’ ranking pages.
“Ultimately, the devil is in the detail when it comes to looking at authentic reviews. Genuine buyers tend to leave longer detailed reviews if they experienced a fantastic holiday.”
Some hotels might be using review sites to try to raise their profile and the reviews may not be genuine.
Authentic reviews will usually include a lot more detail and may be specific about the person’s experience.
If someone mentions extra special service or includes a detail about their own trip, it’s more likely to be genuine.
Tourists could also ask friends and family for their recommendations if they’re worried about fake reviews.
They could also speak to a travel agent who will have their own trusted way of gathering review data.