Really good piece in the LV Sun today about the rise of phony online hotel reviews, and what travel sites are doing about them:
The rise of traveler-generated online reviews has forced hotel managers to contend with anonymous posts from angry or disappointed customers.
For people in the business of promoting Las Vegas hotels, it has also opened the door for sneak counterattacks in the form of bogus positive reviews created to boost their clients’ image among the traveling public.
The potential for industrial espionage is just about unlimited with online reviews. With a lot of money at stake, I’m not surprised that some people would try this.
Looking at a few out-of-market hotels recently, I saw that one hotel owner responded to a negative review by claiming it was put there by rivals trying to ruin him/her. While that may have been true, it came across as paranoid.
When I look at online casino reviews, I assume that you’re always going to have a small percentage of cranks who aren’t happy with anything. Looking at all the reviews, though, you see trends emerge: if most people say that hotel is noisy, or has bad service, or has the best blueberry muffins in the state, it’s a fair bet that this is a genuine response.
As far as TripAdvisor goes, it judges just how happy guests were with their stay, rather than the amenities or value a property provides. For the top 20 Las Vegas hotels (as of right now), there are just 7 five-star hotels–the rest are 3, 4, and even lower.
That being said, unless there’s a widespread campaign to sabotage Aria, you’ve got to consider that they’re tracking far below the other resorts in their class on TripAdvisor–ranked at #66 in the market, they are below the Four Queens and Planet Hollywood. While some of this may be because guests at the Four Queens have lower expectations, the fact that other five-star properties are ranked sixty places ahead of Aria should be a red flag that there are, at the very least, customer service issues at the resort.
I’d agree with Professor Erdem that casinos should really be using the negative reviews to engage their guests. At the very least this will help to weed out the bogus reviews, and at best it will help them resolve some issues.