Online review sites offer what appears to be helpful information. But it’s not always reliable.
Just a few days ago, Italian authorities fined TripAdvisor $600,000 for failing to adopt controls to prevent false reviews, while at the same time promoting the site’s content as “authentic and genuine.” Continue reading…
Mandy Fleming’s Airbnb rental couldn’t have happened at a worse place — or time.
Thousands of miles from home, on an extended visit to Hong Kong during the Christmas holidays, she showed up at her apartment with her husband and six-year-old son for an 18-night stay, only to discover the place fell dramatically short of its description.
Now, Fleming has a simple request: She wants to warn others about her substandard accommodations. And she wants my help.
I can’t invoke the British sitcom Fawlty Towers, since this happened at an apartment. But I would if I could. She contacted me a few days after trying, but failing, to fix the many problems in her rental.
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.
You don’t have to read the 59-page congressional report on the Transportation Security Administration’s shortcomings, released on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, to conclude the agency has “become its own worst enemy.” Continue reading…