The hope here is for fair unbiased reports and information. Well, there will be personal bias and that is good and this is why for many subjects you are better off with lots of responses and even then you will need to drill down a little deeper through other resources.
Where Tripadvisor as a concept comes up a little bit short is in its ability to resist small time marketing schemes. For instance, when an obscure hotel in a not too tourist friendly part of town gets literally hundreds of compliments you have to wonder. They could be just plain fabrications or they could be the result of the encouragement of management or there could be inducement; who knows.
Sometimes you will note that one person only shows up to promote one hotel or tour or …..; and other than that, they never participate. This could also be legit but it does deserve additional scrutiny before following along.
Or the solo post we see a lot of. They joined only to promote one thing one time. My guess is a lot of these are “encouraged”, but they may still reflect the truth; and possibly even more are deceptive.
Finally there is the pitfall of the one time traveler opinion. This isn’t a marketing scheme, this is just life. I did it, I loved it; ergo its best. Let’s say you went to Budapest and stayed in hotel X and you had a wonderful time. Well, if that’s the only hotel you ever stayed at in Budapest your opinion of the “a great place to stay in Budapest” is sort of narrow; but still legitimate and still very valuable. But Don knows that if you had stayed in Y you would have had an even better time, but you will never believe Don because you had such a good time. That’s why frequent travelers like John F. are invaluable. They have experienced a broader cross section. Of course, then John goes and ruins it by getting all goofy with the driver thing ……. (just kidding old friend).
Another suggestion is you weigh the type of tourism you do against the reviews. If you are a $$$$$ traveler the “Best Hotel in Budapest” is a completely different hotel than if you are a $ traveler. But the rankings don’t take that into account. You have to do your own selective sorting. This holds true with advice you may receive as well. As a bench mark I get the impression that if you averaged everyone here you would find out that the group is about a $$ to a $$$ in most instances.
This is all pretty much common sense so forgive me if I am stating the obvious. All in all I don’t think there is a better resource for trip planning on the internet; and all in all I don’t think there is a better bunch of well meaning people trying to assist.