Once upon a time, a good or bad hotel experience might be passed along to a small group of friends. Now it gets posted via the World Wide Web on sites such as tripadvisor.com or fodors.com. For consumers, the sites are a back channel way to check up on the advertising and marketing claims put out by hotel chains.
For hotels, the benefits are more mixed. Comments like “God awful” and “Run away as fast as you can” can sour travelers and may not be objective, even as “Terrific” and “Great view and beach” could lead to bookings.
But hotel executives say they do monitor the sites, in part to uncover problems glossed over on guest comment cards.