Before you buy: Analyze Those Yelp Reviews - Montana Webmaster

Before you buy: Analyze Those Yelp Reviews

When I arrived at 12:00 to pick up my car, there were people lined up and sitting on the sidewalk waiting for cars. Most of the conversations I heard were people who, like me, had reservations. As the hours progressed, people gave up on getting the car they had reserved, and the place emptied out.

A few years back, Yelp took some hits for potentially allowing businesses to buy the service to hide bad reviews. They worked hard to combat that reputation. But, there is still a bit of knowledge that those positive (or negative) reviews could be paid fakes.

In my analysis of Hertz Downtown Portland, of 64 reviews from 2015 forward, 13 were positive. Were these real or fake? Looking at the stats, there are very few reviews with 2 – 4 stars. They are either in the 1 star or 5 star range. That in itself is suspicious. Were there people who just happened in at a good moment, or were they paid for their reviews?




Today, I missed going to OMSI in Portland with my grandchildren because the rental car that was supposed to be ready for me at noon, was not available until 3:30. Staff complained loudly about online reservations through 3rd parties, but I had called their office specifically a week ahead of time to be sure they had a car.

About a dozen parties were in the same situation as I was in the office: no cars, even with reservations.

Whose “fault” was it?
1. Third party online services, such as Priceline. They really worked this one.
2. People who didn’t return their cars on time. It’s funny, when I finally got a car, they told me I could return it at 2:30, which is half an hour after their closing time. If they have such a limited number of cars, why wouldn’t they want me to return it before their closing time?
3. They were having a very bad day. They made it look like they were in a weird situation, but analysis of the reviews show this not to be true.

At least two of the people I spoke to had been there since 11:00 am. I arrived for my 12:00 pickup, went to lunch and returned around 1:00. So, those folks had been waiting for at least 2 hours. One gentleman was #16 in line. That means that they had problems with at least 16 cars. That’s very bad odds.

Yes, I was upset because the kids had driven for 3 hours only to miss the time with me. Yes, they acted like this was a unique situation, but what is the truth … the data driven truth with a spreadsheet?

One source of data is Yelp. There are 86 reviews. I only took the reviews that are 2015 or after. That takes the number down to 64.

1. 45 of the reviews have 1 star
2. 5 of the reviews have 2 stars
3. 1 review has 3 stars
4. 5 reviews have 4 stars
5. 8 reviews have 5 stars

My categories are Rude, Transaction Problems, Condition of car, No car, Facilities, Car size switch and a few others

1. 21 cited rudeness
2. 12 cited condition of car
3. 9 cited transaction problems
4. 11 cited No car (sometimes these were after hours because no matter when you reserve the car for, they only honor their 2pm closing time)
5. 4 cited facilities
6. 2 were hopping mad, but were not specific enough to catagorize
7. 4 cited Car size switch (the car size they ordered was not available on arrival)
8. Many cited multiple problems

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