How Hotels Try To Fake You Out To Get You To Make A Reservation (And How You Can Combat It)

Hotels are in the business of getting people to stay at their properties overnight. One way for them to do this is to present themselves in a way that makes them look as appealing as possible. Unfortunately, that sometimes means making themselves look not a whole lot like their respective realities.

Oyster.com is a hotel review and booking website that does things a little differently than Tripadvisor and Hotels.com. They’ve been around for about a decade and don’t amass reviews from former hotel guests who may or may not be telling the truth. Instead, they have a staff of full-time professional reviewers who stay in these hotels incognito. These reviewers also personally photograph the hotels, in order to show what they really look like, instead of using the stylized promo shots that are sent to them.

The differences between the reviewers’ photos and the promo shots have sometimes been so ridiculous that Oyster has periodically posted “Photo Fakeouts,” to show its readers the differences between the two. Here are a few of those photos, as well as ways to you not be faked out when looking for a hotel.

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Hotel Review: Hampton Inn NY-JFK – Jamaica, NY

The Hampton Inn NY-JFK is located just outside of New York’s JFK airport. Choosing an airport hotel can be tough because many of the reviews are from people who were arriving the night before for an early morning flight, had an overnight connection or were stranded due to a delay. The Hampton Inn JFK is also used by several different airline crews as an overnight stop. Therefore many of the reviews are the same, saying how it’s okay for the night and all they needed was a place to stay.

For me, the Hampton Inn JFK was my base for a 15-night work trip. I guess when your work location has no hotels nearby, the corporate travel agent just puts you up at the nearest airport hotel.

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Hotel Review: Best Western West Greenwich Inn, West Greenwich, RI

People travel for many reasons. Sometimes it’s to see an amazing place. Other times people want to see a bucket list event, like going to the northern lights or going to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden. There are also times when you travel just so you can spend time with those whom you dearly care for. They might be your family, friends or even people whom you’ve never met IRL (In Real Life).

Such is the age we live in that we can become with friends with people whom we’ve never met and there is something special about finally get to see those people in person. That was the reason Sharon traveled to Rhode Island.

The location of the hotel was the most important thing for this trip and since she was dependent on the rest of the group for transportation (renting a car for only herself seemed a waste of money) it made sense to stay at the same place as everyone else.

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Hotel Review: Holiday Inn Orlando – Disney Springs Area

Back in 1973, shortly after the opening of Disney World in Orlando, four high rise hotels opened on Disney property. These weren’t highly themed Disney hotels like the Polynesian or Contemporary. Instead, these were regular hotels run by well-known chains at the time such as TraveLodge and Howard Johnson’s.

The Howard Johnson’s was eventually bought by Marriott and run as a Courtyard property until 2003. In a case of the worst/best timing of buying a hotel, it was sold and turned into a Holiday Inn in December of that year, only to be massively damaged by Hurricane Charley in August of 2004. It didn’t reopen until 2010 after a $35 million dollar renovation. It just went through another renovation in 2018.

The Holiday Inn is now one of the Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels. While they are not run by Disney, they are still on Disney property. The benefits afforded to these hotels is the reason we booked a night here on the opening weekend of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Disney Hollywood Studios.

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Can You Trust TripAdvisor?

Running since February 2000, TripAdvisor is well known for comparing prices from 200+ booking sites to help you find the lowest price on the right hotel for you. However, they also tout themselves as the world’s largest travel site, with over 500 million unbiased traveler reviews of hotels, flights, restaurants, vacation rentals, and things to do. But can you trust all those reviews? Read on…

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