TravelPost to become a Hotel Review Contender to TripAdvisor?, the travel meta-search engine that scans the web for hotel prices (and airfares) from different online travel agencies, purchased in 2007. Recent news indicates will try to establish rivalry to’s globally dominant hotel review database with a revamped site. has put money into a relaunch of My initial glance at the site reveals a major hurdle is still waiting to be leaped in catching up to the volume of hotel reviews.

Major Hotel Review Sites

Last summer I attempted an analysis of hotel reviews compared to some other hotel review sites.  Ultimately I concluded, owner of and, had the most comprehensive database of hotel reviews on the web. No other hotel review site came even close.

Six sites I studied last July were:

1.    TripAdvisor (Expedia)

2. (Expedia)

3.    IgoUgo (Travelocity)

4.    TravelPost (Kayak)

5.    Orbitz

6.    Yahoo Travel Guides

The basic methodology was to look at the number of recent hotel reviews for several major San Francisco hotels. I defined recent as any review posted on the hotel review website within the prior 12 months. 

Some hotel review sites displayed a good number of total reviews when checking a hotel rating, however, closer examination showed the vast majority of these hotel reviews were more than a year old.  Some of these hotel review sites had seen their popularity wane several years earlier. was one hotel review site sitting idle despite having one of the largest hotel review databases.

Last summer appeared to be the only hotel review site on the rise with a database large enough to be generally useful to a broad range of potential hotel guests traveling around the USA and the world.

The Ascendance of

Now in 2009 is stating a commitment to promote in a plan to tackle in a subtle front against Expedia’s domination of the online hotel review scene.  It is too early to tell whether can mount a competitive campaign.

The popularity of over the past couple of years is an indicator that can receive plenty of advertising and referral traffic. pulled in 6.25 million unique visitors during February 2009, according to, compared to 8.19 million visitors.  Kayak’s hotel review site is still a toddler in popularity at 340,000 visitors in Feb 2009 compared to the giant TripAdvisor.

How effectively can refer people to for hotel review submissions will play a key role in the success of this site. With already receiving 75% of the traffic of, a hotel review site would be a natural extension to the one-stop check of

The Hurdle – who will generate the reviews for TravelPost?

The primary issue I see at the moment is the database of hotels is accessing.  I rechecked some hotels that I studied last July, eight months ago.

Here is an example to illustrate the database issue hurdle must overcome to be a competitive hotel travel review website with based on the member activity over the past 8.5 months as measured by hotel review posts.

Westin St. Francis, San Francisco is a major hotel with nearly 1,200 rooms in downtown San Francisco located on Union Square in the shopping district.  This hotel has had thousands of guests over the past 8 months.

San Francisco Westin St. Francis Hotel


New Reviews posted since July 2008

Reviews posted in one year – July 2007 to July 2008

Total Reviews

July 11, 2008

Total Reviews

March 26, 2009





68*(actually just 3)
















Yahoo Travel Guides





 *  The raw numbers in this table indicate grew by 111 hotel reviews in the past 8.5 months.  The reviews for the Westin St. Francis on appear to have grown by 68 reviews, a respectable number of reviews added to the database.  A closer look at the source of these reviews indicates most of this growth is actually from using IgoUgo as an added database of hotel reviews on  There were only 3 reviews accessed from since July 2008 during the timeframe that TripAdvisor added 111 reviews for the Westin St. Francis Hotel.

This is why has a huge hurdle.  Getting the public posting is a challenge.


The following is an excerpt from my July 12, 2008 post “Online Hotel Reviews Website Comparison”.


Online Hotel Reviews

Travelers place a lot of faith in consumer-generated hotel reviews. I trust content because there is a large community of travelers who provide opinions and feedback on each other’s comments. Most major upscale hotels around the world have user comments and reviews from the 100,000+ members of the community.


I believe the self-monitoring independent community of provides more accurate hotel reviews than what is typically found on, particularly when it comes to the experience for elite frequent guests in the major hotel loyalty programs.

Social Media Co-Opted by Corporate Media

The best social media websites with consumer generated comments and hotel reviews have been co-opted by corporate media. Social media websites where users generate the content for free has been a successful marketing partnership for major travel industry players. What in many cases started out as independent, organically developed networks of people creating content for free to help other travelers has developed into the current condition of the major global travel reservations corporations like and owning social network sites like and as corporate subsidiaries.

Meta-search engines like who own, and bulletin boards like and are not sellers of travel, but make money on an advertising model based on travelers frequently interacting as a community creating new content.

Major Online Hotel Reviews and Their Parent Corporations hotel reviews and hotel rate meta-search engine = (Parent Company) for hotel reviews and hotel rate meta-search = (Parent company) has a large database for hotel reviews. is also an Expedia company. Hotel guests must have booked stay with to post a review and most of the reviews do not have any written comments. A point scale survey on Hotel Service, Hotel Condition, Room Comfort, and Room Cleanliness are used to give the hotel a rating on a 5 point scale. This website offers a quick snapshot of customer satisfaction for hotel. for hotel reviews and Kayak is a meta-search = (Parent Company) generates its own database of user-generated hotel reviews based on hotel guests booking through and responding via e-mail to a post-stay request for a hotel review.

Yahoo! Travel uses a couple of different hotel review databases. When conducting hotel searches through the Yahoo Travel homepage the results use Travelocity and the hotel reviews are the same as Travelocity. When using Yahoo Travel Guides or FareChase for hotel searches the hotel reviews are a different set.


Update March 28, 2009: Here is a link to Elliott Ng’s blog discussing for metasearch of hotel reviews. You should defintiely take a look at the site.



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