I am a huge fan of Trip advisor. I read Trip advisor reviews for pleasure either as a way of armchair travelling or to see what weird and wonderful things people add.
I also glean vital information when making decisions about hotels. Trip Advisor reviews have given me great advice on the best services, hotels and restaurants from New York to Seattle to Myanmar,to Sydney.
I was interested that at my last hotel in Rangoon, Myanmar, every staff member implored me to leave a positive review on Tripadvisor about the hotel.
There seem to me there are five types of reviews on Trip Advisor:
- The Unreasonable Guest: I have seen hotels marked down because some want of the guest was not delivered by the hotel e.g. They arrived early or they wanted to leave late and the hotel would not accomodate them or they turned up with eight people for a room for three or they ruined the towels and the hotel made them pay. Here is an example of an unreasonable guest: “Noise was a major issue for me as it is located adjacent to the main highway and main train line which resulted in semi trucks and heavy rail passing through at all hours of the night. the double glazing windows seemed to be paper thin and the bed sheets unclean adding insult to injury.”
- The ignorant guest: “this hotel seemed nice but it was located 125km from Paris. I was very disappointed because I assumed a hotel called Hotel de France would be located in the centre of Paris“
- The Positive”fake reviewers” written by the owner or their friends. There have been stories of hotel guests being offered bribes to write positively. In some cases companies pay people to write these reviews. According to Gartner, this year, these fake reviews will make up 15 per cent of the total reviews on such rating websites. If most reviewers say a hotel, restaurant or service is appalling and a handful of reviewers rave about it, then I distrust those positive reviews.
- Negative fake reviewers – rivals trying to undermine their competition. Cornell University says that we can spot fake reviews 50 per cent of the time. They have developed software that can spot them 89.8 per cent of the time! The software is similar to programs that can find plagiarised essays!
- Verified Tripadvsor reviewer. These people have travelled to more than handful of hotels. They generally have some travel sense and can make sensible comparisons between hotels. Anonymous reviewers or reviewers that have only done one reviews are not reliable for me. If I know the reviewer and know they consistently review places, then I can trust them. This is my Tripadvisor profile.
When using Trip Advisor to assess a hotel, I try to read over the reviews and I look for the highest overall score. I watch out for the various types of reviewers above to ensure I am getting an accurate picture.