Oyster Hotel Reviews -- Oyster's Professional Hotel Reviewers Anonymously Visit Hotels and Examine Them Top to Bottom, Discovers That Some Hotels Purposefully Mislead Customers Via Their Websites

New Hotel Review Site’s Photo Fakeouts Reveal How Some Hotels Mislead Customers with Manipulated Photos

NEW YORK, NY November 18, 2009 - Oyster Hotel Reviews (www.oyster.com), a new online travel site that provides objective reviews and undoctored photos of the world’s hotels, brings clarity and authority to the difficult task of choosing the right hotel while traveling overseas. The site, launched in June 2009, employs a team of journalists that stays anonymously in each hotel, tests the amenities, photographs the rooms and features extensively, and writes a clear assessment of the hotel’s overall value. Oyster already provides detailed reviews and photos of vacation destinations popular with European travelers such as New York hotels, Las Vegas hotels, Miami hotels, Los Angeles hotels, San Francisco hotels, Hawaii hotels, Aruba hotels, Jamaica hotels, Dominican Republic hotels, Bahamas hotels, and U.S. Virgin Islands hotels. Popular European cities will be added during 2010.

“The Internet is home to websites of thousands of hotels and resorts; some exaggerate or misrepresent their amenities and services - most often via the glamorous photos they show of their property. With Oyster's in-depth photos of hotels you can find the great ones without risk” says Oyster CEO and Co-Founder Elie Seidman. “Adding to the unreliable collection of hotel-provided information, user-generated reviews are not written by people who know every hotel in a destination. User reviews are fifty anonymous people who each went to the same hotel. Oyster's professional reviewers are the opposite - one organization that has been to all the leisure hotels in an area - you don't just find out if a hotel is good, you find out if it's the best one compared to all the other options.”

Oyster's staff of hotel reviewers consists of professional journalists with experience at respected publications including The New York Times, Money, Conde Nast Traveler and the The Los Angeles Times. Oyster Hotel Reviewers stay in hotels anonymously, systematically evaluate the properties on 70 different dimensions, and take hundreds of photos. Oyster reporters sleep in the beds, swim in the pools, eat the food, and interview other guests at the hotel to ensure an objective, comprehensive analysis. Every review looks at service, design, dining, cleanliness, nearby nightlife, and even the thread count of the bed sheets. In addition, the site considers the specific needs of different types of hotel visitors, including families with children, honeymooners, business travelers, golfers, pet owners, and those looking for a great value.

Readers on Oyster are able to search for hotels by price, special amenities, and dozens of other features and services that Oyster reporters have verified during their hotel stays. After careful deliberation, editors and reporters award top hotels with an “Editor’s Choice” award in several categories, including luxury, value, kid-friendly, and romance. Additionally, the editorial team compiles “best of” lists and slideshows with recommendations on where to stay for honeymoons, hip rooftop bars, celebrity sightings, gay travel, and many more. The site’s popular “photo fakeouts” best demonstrate the potential difference between reality and the deceptive photos hotels often use on their own websites or marketing materials. In addition, the Oyster blog uses the research of Oyster's hotel reviewers to produce thought-provoking and sometimes humorous pieces such as hotel minibar rip-offs and hotel recycling programs.

Oyster’s editorial team keeps up with the latest trends in travel and launches new slideshows and “best of” lists each month. Here is a sampling of hot hotels perfect for Europeans planning a winter holiday:

“European travelers wishing to take advantage of vacation values in the U.S. and Caribbean, resultant from the weak U.S. dollar, will find Oyster’s coverage of top U.S. cities and Caribbean islands a great way to reduce their risk before booking a hotel,” says Oyster Executive Editor, Scott Medintz. "A hotel is a purchase you can't return once you've arrived and until Oyster, one you could not see before your trip. Our detailed reviews and the hundreds of photos we take at each hotel have changed that."

Additional vacation destinations will launch in the months ahead, including Boston, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Orlando and Washington, D.C. Oyster will add European destinations to its coverage in 2010. Given the importance of the European market, expansion plans include localized sites throughout Europe and translation into several languages including Spanish, German, French and Italian.

Despite having launched only a few months ago, Oyster has already been widely praised by the media and has been covered by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald and many other reputable publications.

Websites interested in syndicating Oyster Hotel Reviews’ content on their own site, or online travel agencies interested in providing rates and availability, should contact Ari Lewine at bizdev@oyster.com.

About Oyster Hotel Reviews:

Oyster Hotel Reviews (www.oyster.com) is the first and only travel site dedicated to publishing objective, in-depth reviews, written by trained journalists, of the world's hotels. Oyster’s staff of full time hotel reviewers stay in hotels anonymously while systematically evaluating the properties and taking hundreds of photos of every hotel. Oyster Hotel Reviews adheres to the highest editorial standards; it does not accept compensation or incentives from hotels, and pays for all travel expenses. Hotels cannot pay to be reviewed nor can they influence the reviews in any way. The site aggregates rates from leading travel sites and provides several booking options for each hotel. Oyster is financed by Bain Capital Ventures and is led by an accomplished and experienced management team, including Oyster co-founder Elie Seidman, executive editor Scott Medintz and managing editor Ellen Stark. The Oyster Hotel Reviews team consists of dozens of experienced journalists whose credentials include The New York Times, Men's Journal, Money, The Village Voice, and Conde Nast Traveler, among other publications.

For more information about Oyster Hotel Reviews, please contact Kellie Pelletier at 646-695-4909 or kellie@oyster.com.

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