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Why TripAdvisor’s ratings should be considered carefully

A few years ago, tripadvisor.com, a highly popular travel website that relies on customer reviews, came under scrutiny after it began posting disclaimers that some hotels allegedly wrote fake reviews in an effort to boost their popularity ratings on the site.

TripAdvisor’s credibility took yet another hit this month. The UK’s Daily Mail reported some hotels are offering guests bribes for favorable write ups. It targets specifically the Cove Hotel in Cornwall, England, but notes that more than two dozen properties have already been blacklisted from TripAdvisor for posting bogus reviews or, worse, “reimbursing” customers for favorable words.

Now, it should be noted there’s no word on whether any of this chicanery is being practiced at Las Vegas properties. But that certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t. After all, this is one of the premier destinations in the world, and those visitors can’t all stay at Bellagio or Wynn. In the ultra-competitive atmosphere here, any edge can make a difference.

In addition, TripAdvisor officials confess that despite their best efforts to weed out suspicious-looking customer feedback, they ultimately have no way of knowing whether posters actually stayed in the hotel in question. In other words, what’s to stop a Strip property from having an employee, or two or three hundred, from posting an enthusiastic word or two? Who would ever know?

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Weekly's associate editor, having previously served as assistant features editor at the Las Vegas Sun ...

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