UNM developing trustworthy travel website

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico is working on a service to make sure you get what you pay for on your summer vacation.

Some of the stress for summer travelers starts with where to stay. An online search can generate millions of reviews, but if they aren’t accurate, it can ruin a trip.

UNM student Amanda Minnich and assistant professor Abdullah Mueen are creating a service that will help travelers find out just how trustworthy all those hotel reviews are.

“I think having a way to be able to trust what you see or measure the trust that you should have and improve your trips is a really important thing,” said Minnich.

They hope to get the truth from reviews.

“They’re looking at Trip Advisor, Hotels.com and Booking.com, sorting through more than 15 million reviews to weed out the fake or unhelpful ones by looking for inconsistencies.

“For example, in Hotels.com it has one star and Trip Advisor it has five stars, so which one do you believe?” asked Mueen.

Some other red flags they came across included a reviewer leaving four or five star reviews for 70 different hotels all in one zip code. Also, someone writing the same review of 32 hotels across different states all in one day.

Their goal is to create a website by next year that will give each hotel a TrueView score to show how trustworthy its reviews are.

“If a hotel gets a high score and high TrueView score, really that’s something you can believe in. And if it gets a low score, even if it’s a five-star hotel you might want to avoid it because there’s something strange in the way people are reviewing the hotel,” said Minnich.

The researchers say there are different reasons for untrustworthy reviews. Sometimes hotels pay people to give them good reviews, other times spammers just bombard websites.


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