10 Signs A Hotel Review Was Paid For By The Hotel
People depend more and more on online customer reviews to decide where to go for brunch, where to order takeout, where to find discount antiques and where to book a hotel room. It’s important to know which reviews are written by customers, which are written by angry, disgruntled former employees, and which are written by hired help. Here are 10 signs a hotel review was paid for by the hotel.
It starts with a verb
“Sitting across from the pristine beaches…”
“Overlooking the ethereal, misty mountains…”
When you see a review that begins with a verb describing the property, you can almost guarantee the hotel itself, or a writer hired for the job, wrote that review. Ordinary people who just want to drop a few nice lines about a hotel don’t usually write like novelists.
The photo looks professional
It’s really just shortsighted of a property to post professional photos in a review they’re trying to pass off as a customer review. How would a guest have snagged that birds-eye view photo hundreds of feet above the roof of the hotel?
“Happy hour from 4 to 7 in the coral room.”
“Wine time in the lobby patio from 6 to 8.”
“Brunch from 10 to 2 in the main restaurant with $5 mimosas for the first 20 guests.”
Most real guests don’t memorize the precise times of every activity on a property.
There is lots of evidence
“There are several places to get a view of the ocean, like the Stargaze room on the northeast corner of the seventh floor, the free helicopter rides, and the viewing deck on the rooftop pool.”
Actual guests don’t write like a scientist proving a hypothesis.
The name of the hotel is repeated
For search engine optimization, a hotel might repeat the name of its property several times in a review. If a regular guest writes a review, she just wouldn’t take the time to write out the name of the hotel more than once. She’d probably even abbreviate it the first time.
Packages are promoted
Packages are subtly — or not so subtly — promoted throughout the review. For example, if a hotel offers a package with free Wi-Fi, in a review pretending to be a guest writing about working on her laptop poolside, it might include something like, “…which I was able to do via the free Wi-Fi package available on the ‘Special Offers’ tab of the hotel’s website.”
A real guest might encounter a staff member who made a particularly memorable impression. But he wouldn’t tell you to ask for “Maria in the lobby for dining suggestions” or “Brad in the main dining room for great wine suggestions.” And he probably wouldn’t remember the staff member’s last name.
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