As an antidote to TripAdvisor, The Hotel Guru aggregates pro reviews of European boutiquesNewsBy Sean O'Neil | November 15, 2012Share This article was originally published on New ideas are not always the best ones.The founders of a new website, The Hotel Guru, hope that an old idea—aggregating professional hotel reviews—is an idea whose time has come round again, this time to succeed.Years ago, TripAdvisor and other sites aggregated the hotel reviews of professional journalists for hotels, similar to what Rotten Tomatoes did, and continues to do, for movie reviews.But nowadays, TripAdvisor is all about the user-generated reviews. No other site kept up with posting professional reviews in a reader-friendly way. TravelPost, for one, has all but vanished, and Kayak, which flirted with the idea, now lets TripAdvisor reviews dominate its pages.Doubts about the veracity of user-generated reviews (because up to 6% of them may be fake and because they may be demographically skewed with insufficient data) could have left an opening for traditional "expert reviews" to get due respect.That's what James Dunford Wood, founder and former managing direcor of Travelintelligence.com and a lead founder of The Hotel Guru, is hoping.An all-star list of lodging criticsNew UK-based site The Hotel Guru curates top critics, such as Fiona Duncan of the UK's Sunday Telegraph Hotel Guru column, Mr and Mrs Smith, i-escape, tablethotels, the Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays, the Michelin Guide, and CN Traveller (UK).Where available, the site provides a link to read the source review on the original sites. The idea is to aggregate a list of the best hotels in the world as rated by the leading sources.The site has started in the UK with destinations such as Cornwall and covering about 1,600 hotels, so far. The founders plan to build coverage in Europe, up to a total of 4,000, where they expect the site to plateau.The Hotel Guru tags and classifies properties with labels such as "good for families," "sea views," "full of character," and "spa."It ignores generic, international brand hotels. Instead, it focuses on the properties you might expect travel magazines and Sunday newspaper supplements to write about: boutiques, country inns, and luxury B&Bs. Lodging with a sense of place.The revenue model is affiliate-driven, relying on referrals to price comparison sites such as Booking.com and Venere, direct hotel enquiry leads (similar to the i-escape model), and a travel agency.It's odd that champion aggregators, like AOL/Huffington Post, haven't gotten into the review-aggregation game. If there were money it, you would think they'd have grabbed at the opportunity by now.On the one hand, The Hotel Guru is pushing against an entire cultural trend away from "authority" and critical judgment and toward quick gauges of mass opinion.But on the other hand, it's a wide Internet out there, and many of the types of people who prefer high-end or unique hotels may tend to be the same types of people who are looking for more than undifferentiated opinions from the mob.Will be interesting to see how it turns out.