User-review sites are a staple of my travel diet.
Yelp is my go to for city services and restaurants.
Airbnb, of course, builds in reviews into its system.
Skytrax provides reviews from air travellers about their flight experiences.
I have several rules of thumb with reviews:
- The more reviews the better. For example, an apartment on Airbnb with 3 reviews is usually skipped by me for one with 20+
- I take away the number of worst reviews from the number of best reviews. If that figure is negative, I proceed no further with the establishment. So for example, these two hotels in Laos. Hotel one below. 74% of people rate the hotel excellent and 1% rate it terrible. The overall score for me is 73%.This hotel has 6% rave reviews and 21% terrible. The overall score for me is 6-21= -15% so I AVOID This restaurant is more than fine:
- I usually only read the reviews that give the highest and lowest ratings
- I try and work out if the bad review is a result of the traveller being a nightmare or if the company has a systematic problem e.g. if a number of guests at a hotel mention several of the rooms are rundown or noisy, then we have an issue. If a traveller complains they arrived at 8am for a 2pm check in and the hotel did not accommodate them and the guest complains bitterly, then we have the sort of spoilt traveller I like to avoid
- I am fascinated to read feedback from the establishment. If the establishment continually responds to the same complaint with an arrogant uncaring attitude, then I know they will be less than helpful. If they manage to address the complainant with facts and suggestions, for help. For example, I like this one. The customer first: Then the hotel MANAGER:
- I look for recent posts. Anything older than a year in hospitality becomes less useful
- Traveller photos can be helpful
- If the reviews of an establishment are mostly average and all of a sudden a very, very positive one appears with over the top enthusiasm, I tend to be suspicious. They are usually friends of the owners!
What do you do with reviews?