Websites that let hotel guests sound off anonymously about the good and the bad of their stay, can be a helpful resource, especially if you're unfamiliar with the locale.
But those user-generated reviews can also have their share of pitfalls.
Some of these hotels actually post reviews that are positive of their property and in some cases, they've been caught posting negative reviews of their competitors," notes travel expert Mark Murphy of markmurphytravels.com. "So how do you sort the wheat from the chaff? I think that's the big challenge."
If reviews look stellar but there are only a handful of them, that should raise a red flag.
Murphy says to read all reviews carefully and look for certain clues in quality, and in quantity.
Murphy says a hotel should have a longer list of feedback, both good and bad.
"Some people will have a bad experience, and they'll go on and complain about it, even though the property might be quite good. Some people will go on and rave about it, and then you kind of get to that mean, and I think that's what you want to look for."
Also look for guest reviews by travelers with your interests, in your age group, and from similar geographic regions. That can help ensure a better match.
(Karin Caifa for CNN's Consumer Watch)