As a public relations consultant working with hotels and B&B's in Cumbria, I was interested to read Juliet Kinsman's recent piece on whether 'Tripadvisor can really be trusted'.
Expecting it to be about fake reviews, she instead highlights the way the site, in cahoots with other large online travel agencies (OTAs), is crippling those smaller independent hotels with little marketing budgets. If you don't pay a whopper of a commission (around 20%), to these OTAs then you can wave goodbye to showing up on any Google search results and achieving any direct bookings. It's a lose lose situation.
So what as consumers can we do to slow the tidal wave of OTA domination? Book direct! Yes, by all means use Tripadvisor and other online sites to research your hotel stay but then go directly to the hotel's website to book or call them to book direct. You'll often find the best deals or the chance of an upgrade more likely if you do. Not to mention being smug in the knowledge that you are supporting David over Goliath.