After 15 months of operating in “stealth mode,” Oyster Hotel Reviews debuted Monday. The site sent experienced journalists from publications including The New York Times, Men’s Journal, The Village Voice and Conde Nast Traveler to anonymously stay in hotels, “investigate them methodically” and take photo after photo after photo.
Oyster said its journalists considered the specific needs of different types of travelers such as families with children, honeymooners, business travelers, golfers, pet owners and, appropriately for 2009, travelers on limited budgets.
So far, hotels in New York, Miami, Aruba, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic have been covered, and Oyster plans to add several more markets, notably Las Vegas in July.
Oyster founder and CEO Elie Seidman went into more detail in a press release:
Quite simply, travelers today have no reliable source to rely on for hotel information and hotel reviews. Reading hotel Websites and anonymous reviews, people can’t discover the truth. There are tremendous differences between what our reporters bring back and the marketing distortions of the hotel industry.
The vast majority of hotel descriptions and photos circulating on the Internet originates in the hotel’s own marketing departments and gets reproduced over and over as legitimate truth, but it’s often highly misleading. By pulling back the sheets and revealing what you’re really going to get, Oyster Hotel Reviews will fundamentally change the way people make hotel decisions.
We understand that hotel stays are one of the few things you can’t try before you buy and usually the most expensive part of travel expenses. And in these times, with dollars and time ever more precious, who wants to get duped? Because of this, Oyster Hotel Reviews is determined to act as an unbiased consumer advocate and create the most detailed, accurate and comprehensive hotel review anywhere, online or off.