WASHINGTON — When deciphering travel reviews, it’s important to look for consistency.
“If you see the same negative point emphasized over and over again, there’s something to it,” says CNN travel writer Jordan Burchette.
“Whether you’re in the low end or there is praise appearing on the high end, you’re looking for patterns.”
More than 260 million users are on TripAdvisor every month. Others turn to sites like Yelp or Google Travel.
But with millions of reviews posted, how do you know which are real?
Burchette says look for people who have rounded perspectives on things. Often, people focus on one part of their experience that may never be repeated by other patrons to the site. Those types of reviews should be discarded.
Burchette says it’s important to look at the language.
“You’re looking for the kind of language that real people just don’t use, like ‘breathtaking,’ ‘thrilling’ or ‘mouthwatering’ and ‘succulent.’ These are terms that if you were in conversation with a friend you just wouldn’t use.”
Another feature to look for is balance.
“Despite the number of stars they gave it, they are willing to say something that offsets or balances that star rating,” says Burchette.
For example, “There was one guy that wrote I found a tooth in my food on the subject line,” says Burchette.
“But the first line of the body of the review said ‘you know, usually they have good food here.'”
Burchette also advises looking at reviews in order of date. And don’t overthink the trip.
“No hotel is worth two hours of your life reading reviews about it.”