No matter your destination, you will, at some point in your research, visit TripAdvisor. The company, with the humble mantra “real hotel reviews you can trust,” has become—on a rising tide of 200 million user reviews and counting—a travel-industry Goliath, able to turn obscure hotels into sold-out hot spots, carry new flocks of visitors on digital word of mouth to quiet destinations, even rewrite the hospitality standards of entire nations. For travelers the impact has been equally profound.
For all the power of the service, it raises deep questions about travel itself, including, most pressingly, who do we want—who do we trust—to tell us where to go?
I travel a lot less than I used to (hope to do more soon!) but wherever I go, I check TripAdvisor first.