3 On Your Side: Online Hotel Reviews

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Getting ready to book a spring break trip or your summer vacation? Websites that compile reviews can be a great resource when you’re looking for a place to stay. But as 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds, they can also trip you up if you’re not careful.

Websites that let hotel guests sound off anonymously about the good and the bad of their stay can be a helpful resource, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the location. But those user-generated reviews can also have their share of pitfalls.

“Some of these hotels actually post reviews that are positive of their property and in some cases, they’ve been caught posting negative reviews of their competitors. So how do you sort the wheat from the chaff? I think that’s the big challenge,” says travel expert Mark Murphy.

If reviews look stellar but there are only a handful of them, that should raise a red flag. Murphy recommends reading all reviews carefully and looking for certain clues in quality and quantity. A hotel should have a longer list of feedback, both good and bad.

“Some people will have a bad experience, and they’ll go on and complain about it, even though the property might be quite good. Some people will go on and rave about it, and then you kind of get to that mean, and I think that’s what you want to look for,” says Murphy.

By the way, looking for guest reviews by travelers with your interests, in your age group, and from similar geographic regions can also help ensure you a better match.

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One Comment

  1. Donna Lauria says:

    Mr. Hayes – how can you be collecting unemployment AND social security? That’s the first suspecious line.

    Go to a local PECO office and demand that someone come out and replace your meter. If you have had a professional examine your heating system and he said it was operating fine – then the issues lie with PECO and/or PGW. Never trust them – they lie all the time.

  2. william hayes says:

    Sept. 2010 had gas turned on. Bill started out high and i had no thermostat on. Gas reached a peak of $438. With a thermostat setting of 69. All of the heat was in the basement and did not heat upper rooms unless set at 80 degrees.
    I got on a payment plan and did not catch up paying $172. Mo until July. In 2011 had gas shut off paid in full but still got bills. Gas system was running even though disconnected
    (So i thought) but thermo was still running until i took it apart.
    Got an electric radiation heater in Nov. To heat one room in 2011 ran good until mid Jan 2012. Circuits started cutting off building freezing.
    Called PECO who said meter was good showed no system problems. Called electrician who repair arcing wire said system was fine. Next day power outages continued daily. Called another electrician said wiring was good meter bad. Called PECO and asked for another meter, they said the one i had was good and showed no power outages. Meanwhile i am freezing at 50 degrees in-house and forced to ware/sleep in. Double clothing. More than anything else i am afraid of burning in electrical fire for unknown reason. Have no money, 74 years old, living single, income of $1000 SS and $400 pension with $1200 monthly unemployment due to run out this month. 100 watt light bulb dims to 60.
    Living expenses with outstanding debt alone is 1000.
    Went to legal who told me they could only help if utilities were cut off or i was being evicted, Up the creek with no paddle. What can i do. Please advise or resolve situation.
    Mr. Hayes

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