Website reviews are commonplace for individual travel; meeting planners however have a tougher time finding advice about properties and destinations to be used in the site or venue selection process. There are however tools available that can help planners collect objective reviews.
Not intended as a tool for planners, we do however use Tripadvisor as the starting point in the venue selection process. The feedback will provide you with a general impression of how a venue is reviewed by a mass audience. If you see it rated at 5-stars with thousands of reviews, there is a very good chance that most reviews will be extremely positive.
With Tripadvisor it is key to not base your decision fully on the star rating system. You must read at least a handful of reviews and see if a theme develops. If the past 10 reviewers complained about housekeeping issues, there is a good chance the venue may be experiencing issues in that department. However if the star rating is still high, the issue may be new to the property.
Tripadvisor may not give you the knowledge you seek about the conference side of a venue, you will however get a very good idea of why the venue is liked or disliked by guests, and therefore you will know if your attendees will appreciate it or not.
LinkedIn Groups are perhaps one of the best resources to get objective feedback on venues. Post questions about a destination or a specific venue in a group, you will receive feedback from planners who are familiar with the venue or destination. There are many industry groups for planners including MPI and its local chapters, BIZBASH, ISES, PCMA and tons more.