Unscrupulous authors of fraudulent travel reviews are obviously well aware of our human nature. Unmoved by a genteel approach to why we should or shouldn’t stay at a given hotel, they now appear to be baiting us with the cursed words potential visitors fear most.
Bed bugs and rodents.
When I read hotel reviews, I need only hear these words mentioned once to immediately go to the next accommodation choice without looking back.
TripAdvisor’s unscientific research
TripAdvisor analyzed its January and February U.S. hotel reviews, and found that reviewers mentioned the word “rat” 31% more times than a year ago. As USA Today’s Barbara De Lollis pointed out, this was far from scientific. That having been said, however, it got me thinking about whether the rats were of the rodent or human variety.
Beat of Hawaii’s unscientific research
I searched for the term “rat” on Tripadvisor.com and found 72 pages of results in the past year compared to 26 pages in the prior year. That indicated an increase of nearly 300%, rather than the 31% shown above.
My attention then turned to bed bugs. I did the same search for that term and found 44 pages of results. In the prior year, there were only 8 pages of results for “bed bug.” I can only conclude that the problem or reporting of hotel bed bugs has either increased by 550% percent in the past year, or that professionally crafted fraudulent reviews are making great use of our worst hotel fears.
On a side-note, I was surprised that not one comment on USA Today even alluded to the possibility that the problem was with rats of the human kind. That seems to say that while the travel industry is well aware of the review fraud issue, it has still not become widely known outside the business.
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