How to spot a fake online travel review so you don't waste your money

Don't Waste Your Money

(WXYZ) - Some hotels and vacation spots are in hot water for writing their own website reviews while claiming to be just regular tourists.  Typically, before you book, you look to see what other travelers have to say.

"If I'm gonna spend $3000 on something, I'm gonna research it a lot," said Tyler Hurst.

Hurst glances at hotel reviews on sites like trip-advisor and hotels.com when he plans his trips.  But he's never really believed all of them.

"The trust isn't there," he said.

Hurst is a writer who blogs about the power of social media to share feedback instantly.  In this case, he says the sharing isn't always constant.

"We want to believe everything is true, but take it with a grain of salt," Hurst said.

Trip-advisor.com is now posting red-flags on certain hotels saying, "there's reasonable cause to believe an individual has interfered with traveler reviews."

But there are certain techniques you can use to screen the reviews on your own.  As bad as it sounds, analysts say good grammar isn't good. If the review looks like it could be in a brochure, it may have been.

"People online, they're typing quick - they're using tech speak," Hurst said.

He says the real reviews are often really poorly written.  And there's more - if a hotel usually gets a review once a month, but for some reason has 5 great reviews in one day, you should proceed with caution.

"If you end up spending a ton of money and you get bilked out of something - not that it's your fault, but you could have prevented that," Hurst said.

Remember what the experts say. There are plenty of good and bad reviews. Somewhere in the middle is probably the truth.

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