Everything Wrong With Travel Reviews In 2023

Looking up reviews of hotels, restaurants, and tour operators is as much a part of travel as taking selfies when we get there.

The statistics around reviews – and more broadly about user-generated content – are astounding.

  • 93% of customers say user-generated content is very helpful when making a purchasing decision
  • 72% of new customers won’t book until they’ve spent time reading travel reviews
  • Travelers visit 38 sites on average to finalize and book their travel plans

Taken together, this suggests travelers are bopping around from site to site, taking in reviews and other pieces of content before making their decision.

As more and more of us rely on online reviews to make decisions about where to go and what to do, the quality and reliability of these reviews becomes more important than ever. 

However, despite their popularity, travel reviews are not without their problems. From their authenticity to people using reviews as a chance to vent and now the rise of A.I., a review is not as simple as it used to be.

Finding a way forward with the travel review system starts with understanding where we are. Today we’re sharing five potential issues with travel reviews that you should be aware of before making your next travel plans, our thoughts on how artificial intelligence will affect travel reviews, and one company that’s working to make a difference.

5 Problems With Travel Reviews

Authentic reviews

One major issue with travel reviews is the question of authenticity. 

Since anyone can write a review, there’s a risk that some reviews might not be genuine or could be biased. 

Some businesses or individuals may even pay for fake reviews to make themselves look better online, which can be misleading for travelers.


Related to the issue of authenticity is the question of verification. 

Since reviews can be posted anonymously, it can be difficult to verify that the person leaving the review actually had the experience they’re describing. 

This can make it hard for travelers to know whether they can trust a particular review or not. After all, who has the time to open the profile behind every review that’s been written? 

While some sites offer reviewers badges or titles based on the quality of their reviews, it often requires users to be on the site to see those qualifications.

Complaints vs reviews 

There is also a difference between a complaint and a review. While that sounds obvious in theory, how many 1-star restaurant reviews have you seen that are just trying to complain to get a refund?

Some people may leave a negative review because they had a single bad experience, while others may leave a review because they generally had a poor experience. 

While travelers can discern the difference when they dive into the individual reviews, these poor reviews can lower a business’s place on a ranking… making it impossible to even be found by that discerning traveler in the first place.

Lack of incentives

Another potential issue with travel reviews is that there’s often little incentive for people to leave a review unless they had an especially good or bad experience. 

This means that some businesses may have lots of customers who had a fine time but didn’t feel strongly enough to write a review, making it seem like they have fewer customers overall. 

Reviews owned by a single company

Finally, there’s the issue of reviews being owned by a single company. Some travel websites or apps may have a monopoly on reviews for certain destinations or businesses, meaning that they have a lot of power over what reviews are visible and how they’re displayed. 

This can be problematic if the company has a vested interest in promoting certain businesses over others, or if they don’t do enough to moderate fake or misleading reviews.

How Artificial Intelligence Is Complicating Travel Reviews in 2023

With the rise of ChatGPT, we’re seeing travel marketing being impacted in many unexpected ways. One worrisome realm is the travel review. 

In an area where the ability to have verified reviews is already tricky, the rise of computer programs being able to ever more closely imitate natural human language poses a real problem.

Lack of human experience

A big issue could be people using A.I. to help them write their reviews. One of the challenges with using AI to generate travel reviews is that the technology may lack the human perspective and emotions that make travel experiences so unique and personal. 

This could lead to reviews that feel robotic or incomplete, and fail to capture the nuances of a particular experience.

Lack of transparency

AI-generated reviews may lack transparency, making it difficult for travelers to understand how they were created or to verify their accuracy. This could lead to mistrust among consumers and negatively impact the travel industry as a whole.

Legal and regulatory concerns

As AI continues to evolve, there may be legal and regulatory concerns around how it can be used in the travel industry. 

For example, there may be questions about whether AI-generated reviews meet legal standards for accuracy and transparency, and how liability is assigned if these reviews are found to be inaccurate or misleading.

How Triend Is Working To Make Travel Reviews Better

We were excited to hear about the work Triend is doing to develop a new review standard that is personalized, decentralized, and reward-driven. 

We dive into all that and more in our latest conversation.

You can visit Trend here to learn more about what they’re doing.

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