Wednesday, October 24, 2007

SHOCK: Tabloid newspaper gives balanced view of user generated content

The Sun newspaper dipped its toes last weekend into the controversy over user generated content on sites such as TripAdvisor.

The writer Graeme Green (Hmmmmm) gushed:

Supposedly written by fellow travellers rather than hotel owners or holiday companies, they should provide helpful “insider” info and point out any problems guests have had with poor parking, dirty rooms, rude staff or rubbish food.

But how much can we really trust what we read?
The article decided to look at the reviews on travel websites and TripAdvisor of the Catalonia Princesa Hotel in Barcelona, and then compare them with the thoughts of an unnamed travel writer.

So what did the journalist discover?
Overall, the TripAdvisor reviews give a fair idea of the hotel’s good and bad points.

Some of the five-star reviews seem over-generous to a travel journalist like myself who has stayed in many different properties, but the Catalonia Princesa is definitely good value for money as an attractive, modern hotel with polite, helpful staff.
Let's get over the shock first of all that a national newspaper has admitted user generated content is A Good Thing (even encouraging readers toleave a review when they return home - hurrah!).

But hang on a second - look at this tantalising sentence contained in the article, referring to Expedia's ownership of TripAdvisor:
Can we trust Expedia not to alter content about hotels where they are trying to sell rooms?

A quick call to TripAdvisor revealed that, as far as they are concerned, it is the first time this accusation has ever been levelled at the site. They didn't even think it was worth responding too...

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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Dan G. said...

makes a change from, "Internet a dangerous breeding ground for paediatricians, blasts Vorderman"

Travolution Blogger said...

Dan G: You should be sitting where i am this week. feels like working on a tabloid considering the comments from some people complaining about the Power 50. :-)