If you choose a hotel based on glowing online comments -- "OMG, I love this place!" -- you may be relying on bogus or insufficient information.
That assessment came from Market Metrix, a San Francisco Bay Area hotel market research company, in a study that found as much as 40 percent of reviews could be made up or even paid for by the hotels.
And even if those online comments are genuine, the study said the reviews could be skewed because hotel guests with bad experiences are three times more likely to write a review than those who had a good or neutral experience.
The study also argued that young people are overrepresented in online reviews. Only 20 percent of adults older than 50 submit such reviews, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.
"There is a big segment that doesn't play in that area," said Jonathan Barsky, co-founder of Market Metrix.
But Market Metrix may be biased on the subject. The company is in the business of offering hotels what it says is a better way to gauge guest sentiments: guest surveys.
TripAdvisor, one of the world's largest travel websites, defended the value of online reviews this month with a survey of 2,739 visitors that found 98 percent said TripAdvisor hotel reviews accurately reflected their experience.
The global airline industry is expected to pocket more than $36 billion in passenger fees this year, including charges to check bags, connect to onboard Wi-Fi and purchase food and drinks. That represents about 5.4 percent of the industry's overall revenue.
But a company that helps maximize airlines' fees has noted in a study that many other industries also rely heavily on so-called "ancillary revenue."
For example, Disney Parks and Resorts gets 49 percent of its revenue from charges other than for park admission, including food and merchandise, according to IdeaWorksCompany in Wisconsin. Norwegian Cruise Line Corp. makes about 30 percent of its revenue from food, drinks and spending at spas and casinos on its ships.
Consider this for next year: Flights that depart Thanksgiving Day not only are cheaper, but they have a much higher on-time arrival rate than flights that take off before the holiday, according to a study by the online financial advice website NerdWallet.
Travelers who flew on Thanksgiving in 2011 had an on-time arrival rate of 94 percent, while those who left Tuesday and Wednesday before the holiday arrived on time at a rate of 78 percent and 85 percent, respectively. Thanksgiving Day flights also had a higher on-time rate in 2009 and 2010.
You can also save a heap by flying on Thanksgiving.