You probably know by now that not all user reviews you see on travel sites are reliable.
Some are pure fakery or are coerced by business owners. Quite a few are written by people who somehow expect butler service at a budget motel or simply cannot believe they have to wait in line at the Eiffel Tower in August. Even among the vast majority of reviews that are honest and sane, few are written by people who share your taste.
Yet you use them anyway. I do, too. They’re irresistibly convenient! And the alternatives are full of flaws, as well. No guidebook writer stays in every hotel he writes about. Many magazine writers, bloggers and influencers accept freebies or go on luxurious junkets where they’re spoon-fed a soft-focus, marketer’s version of a destination and regurgitate it for their readers or followers.
However, user reviews do offer something of value no other form of travel writing can: vast oceans’ worth of free, easily searchable data on just about every restaurant, hotel, tour operator and attraction around the globe. You just need to know the right ways to tap into it.