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Be wary of hidden ads on travel review sites

These days, many of us wouldn’t think of booking a hotel without reading visitor reviews. But it’s always wise to keep your guard up when using customer feedback and other community content as a factor in your buying decisions. Sometimes that glowingly positive review can be an ad in disguise, or the travel provider posing as an objective traveler, seeking to boost its ranking and lure new customers.

Red flags: Watch out for reviews that use superlatives (“best restaurant I’ve ever been to”), flowery language cribbed right from a brochure (“outstanding amenities, unparalleled in New York City”), or rock-solid expertise (“I travel to Europe all the time and therefore know what I’m talking about. This hotel was way better than all the other I’ve stayed at, ever.”) Also look to see if that glowingly positive review stands alone among scores of otherwise negative or so-so feedback.

At, we always advocate comparing prices when booking travel. The same rule applies when reading user reviews. Visiting a few sites such as [% 72034 | | TripAdvisor %], IgoUgo, and Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree, among others, and comparing notes between them, can give you a broader picture before you book.

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(Editor’s Note: is published by Smarter Travel Media LLC, a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network.)

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