Many consumers consult online reviews before making (online) travel arrangements. Yet, little is known about the impact of these reviews on consumer decision making. This research applies consideration set theory to model the impact of online hotel reviews on consumer choice. An experimental study (N = 168) that includes review valence (positive vs. negative reviews), hotel familiarity (well-known vs. lesser-known hotels), and reviewer expertise (expert vs. non-expert reviewers) as independent factors shows that on average, exposure to online reviews enhances hotel consideration in consumers. This is because positive as well as negative reviews increase consumer awareness of hotels, whereas positive reviews, in addition, improve attitudes toward hotels. These effects are stronger for lesser-known hotels. Reviewer expertise has only a minor - positive - influence on review impact. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.