When you travel, do you normally write reviews of the places you stay on Trip Advisor, Booking or other sites you used? Are you particularly critical when you face bad service, facilities not in accord to what the property website says? Do you "campaign" for a hotel you liked? What about restaurants, parks, museums? I'm just curious to know what fellow Helpliners normally do.
I will always make an effort to put reviews for hotels. I'm now taking pictures as well and uploading them. 95% of my reservations are on Booking.com. Since its review system is more trusted (only those who actually stayed can write) I put some effort helping others travelers with my reviews. I try to avoid exaggerating an occasional complain of negative point when writing, avoiding the 'moody traveler' review that bashes the property because of an out-of-the-hotel-control even happened like bad weather or roadworks. However, I'm unforgiving on facilities or services not delivered (hotel website says free wi-fi everywhere but it only works on lobby, mentions a gym open year-round but it is closed when I'm there etc), and I do write objective critical reviews when that happen. I'm also objective, but attentive, on displays of un-professionalism such as nobody at the reception when it says it would be open, breakfast not ready at time stated on check-in folder, problems with water temperature on shower, appliances not working. I will try to notice exceptionally positive service compared to the price range of the hotel, but not praise the hotel for what is to be expected as an obligation. Restaurants are another turf, I have a particular taste for food, I don't feel myself confident to write restaurant reviews most of the time. The opposite goes for museums, I do like writing reviews about them.
I write reviews on Trip Advisor when I feel like the place deserves one, either because it was extra special, or extra awful, though I have written ones for just average places. Hotels, tours, restaurants, tourist attractions, and museums are all fair game. I also post items over on the Graffiti Wall and the Readers Feedback. Never felt the need to post any photos. Hopefully my reviews are seen as fair and balanced, without the drama that one sometimes reads. People rant on and on about a stain on the rug, like someone had left a bleeding body there, or that there was some dust behind the radiator and then claim the hotel was FILTHY! For restaurants, I rate the friendliness of the service, and the basic tastiness of the dish. If my food was raw or burnt, too much vinegar on the salad, or sand in my veg, then they get points off. If the server or mgr. took care of the problem though, then they win points back. Reviews of tours are based on knowledge of the guide and how it is presented.
Were they passionate or enthusiastic about the subject matter, and did they speak well, and take care of the group in a thoughtful way. They should never sound like they have just memorized a script, and should be able to answer questions accurately. Museums and other tourist attractions reviews are based on friendliness of staff, ease of reading the text and how the exhibits are presented. Rudeness always loses the most points with me, no matter what I am reviewing.
I use Tripadvisor a lot and I write reviews of places I found because of Tripadvisor, when I feel motivated. I generally only write positive ones, although I have written two critical reviews of restaurants. Both times they responded. Ihe responses make for interesting reading.
I've done a few TripAdvisor reviews, and my posting philosophy is similar to Jo's. I also like to comment about places that don't have a lot of reviews. I don't add to really popular places that have many rave reviews, doesn't seem necessary.
I review hotels on booking.com because I use them a lot and they only use reviews from recent guests. I never review on Tripadvisor and never read it anymore.
I nearly always write hotel reviews on Trip Advisor - usually right before or soon after we've departed so I remember the details. I try to think of all of the questions I had about a hotel when I was looking (do they have parking, Wi-Fi, is it clean, is it well-located, etc) and include those things in my review. I don't necessarily "campaign" for a hotel that I like but try to list all of the reasons why I felt it was excellent. I also review restaurants (less so than hotels) and rate the good and the bad ones. I've gotten a couple of private e-mail messages from restaurant owners after I've written a less-than-favorable review and have responded to elaborate. I only occasionally write reviews of parks, museums, etc. Trip Advisor get lots of criticism for fake reviews both negative and positive but the more people who write honest, critical reviews, the more we can depend on Trip Advisor and other sites to make informed choices when planning an itinerary.
I always write reviews on TA of places where I've stayed, and I take pictures of the room to post as well. I try to be objective about any criticism without being rude, and I also try to address specific issues that people considering the hotel might want to know (i.e. how much hotel charges for parking per night, whether the hotel is within walking distance from certain sights or near a transit stop, etc.). I never review restaurants because I don't pay attention to where I eat; and I never review sights because somebody can read about them in a guidebook or go to the website. Hotels are different in my opinion; I'd want to know if they're in an inconvenient location or if lots of reviewers complained about noise.
I general write TA reviews. I try to soften the critical reviews because I know people can have bad days. And, of course, I try to avoid staying in places that have a lot of bad reviews. I am not there to confirm bad reviews. Andre I find your technique of asking a question and then being the first to answer interesting. As if you might be trying to influence the other answers.
Well... just so it's not all one sided... I never write reviews. The only time I comment on a room is if someone here asks about a hotel I have stayed in.... just to answer your curiosity.
I write tripadvisor reviews. I use tripadvisor a lot and choose most of my vacation hotels based on reviews, so I contribute when I think I can help. I don't write them for every place I stay ... only for places where I think my review might make a difference to someone. If a place already has 500 reviews, I don't bother to write one if my opinion is essentially the same as the majority. I'll take the time to write a detailed review when I stay somewhere I like that doesn't have a lot of reviews. I post photos of hotel rooms when I write hotel reviews. Hotels tend to show their best room on websites; seeing real ones helps me judge the honesty of a hotel in its marketing. I only write reviews for leisure travel. I've stayed at tons of hotels on business (mostly chains) and I've never written a review for any of them. I'll also write a review for an activity or a restaurant if I thought something was really excellent. I'm more inclined to do this if it is a small business and the service was really excellent. For example, if I arrange a tour and have a great tour guide, I'll write it up. I know many small businesses get most of their business through word-of-mouth and can really be helped out by tripadvisor reviews. If I've enjoyed their services and feel I've gotten a good value, I'm more than happy to help them out by spreading the word.
I don't write reviews. I don't read/research reviews. I don't look for hotels in quidebooks. I flat don't care ahead of time since, mostly, I don't have the damndest idea where I'm going to sleep next when I get out of bed. Except for the cheapo chains, I don't think I've mentioned a hotel here except for a couple of times and I don't know exactly why those have stuck in my mind. However........there's a few scattered around the world that I won't mention, both from embarassment and the fact that it would ruin my skinflint image. I'd guess they have pretty spiffy reviews.
I do write a good many TripAdvisor reviews (I'm now a "Senior Contributor"). I try to be objective. I figure if I'm going to read the reviews, I ought to write some, too. Most of my reviews are about hotels, but I have written a few about restaurants and 'sites'.
I write reviews there on wherever I have stayed or eaten. I write about the good experiences I have had as well as the bad. Like many here I don't flog a place because everything wasn't exactly perfect. If the staff and experience are good or more so I give a good write up. I was amused by one uptight person's review of the Eremo Gaudio in Varenna. She said it was too far out of town and they could not seem to be able to manage to negotiate the parking area for the hotel so they did not stay. She also said everyone there was very unhelpful. She gave the hotel a bad review, even though she did not stay there. When we stayed I found everyone on the staff was excellent and very helpful. Another review of the same place said the manager, an old gentleman, was very crabby and unhelpful and gave a bad rating. That is so funny because I read that review before we stayed there. I met and talked with said "crabby" gentleman many times during our stay and found him to be quite congenial and accommodating. I think it is a person's attitude when dealing with the staff anywhere that makes a difference.
Another thing I do with lodging reviews on TA is if I find a place that sounds great, I do not use TA or Booking.com, or any of the other discounters. I prefer to go directly to the hotel's site and deal with them directly.
Andre L., I've started to write Trip Advisor reviews, but haven't done too many yet. Trip Advisor is one of the resources I use when planning trips, and since it's useful to me I figure it's only fair to contribute. I haven't posted reviews on every place I've stayed or dined, but tend to focus more on the places that I really liked. As some of the others have mentioned, I tend to soften the negative comments as no place can be expected to be 100% all the time. Sometimes bad experiences can result due to "circumstances beyond the control" of the hotels or restaurants, so if that appears to be the case I try to cut them a bit of slack. Cheers!
Yes, I often post reviews on TA, especially if I really enjoyed the experience, or in case of my first review, when I was really disappointed. I did hear back from the manager (it was in Philly). I give raves if they exceed expectations. I've also posted on google maps if it was very good.
hi. no i dont write review. after reading some of them i realize the everyone has their own reality/expectations of whats what i dont care to add my 0.02. whats ones mans garbage is another mans treasure. happy trails.
I've written dozens of TA reviews about not only hotels but several other categories too. I rely on honest reviews so feel compelled to give back as I get. I never, ever review churches or other religious centres as I do not find it respectful. I tell it as I see it, warts and all giving recognition to helpful staff and calling out unusual features. I am particularly sensitive to fire and health hazards, noise and the hotel's responses to noise, and bed and bath comfort. I agree with Frank that it is an interesting tactic to ask and answer the questions. It belies the "just curious". Also interesting is that the question asks about TripAdvisor but the first answer says that Andre doesn't use TA. If you don't use TA, Andre, why the question? Are you thinking of going over to the dark side?
Similar to Andre, I mostly book hotels through Booking.com and write reviews there. I also try to write reviews for the same hotels on TripAdvisor but don't always get around to it. Booking.com reminds me to, so it's easier. I always try to factor in price and value when I write a review, I'll have a high review to a bare-bones place if it was cheap, clean, and as promised. I tend to be more critical the more expensive a place is if it's not worth the price in my mind. I'm a cheapskate.
I write reviews on tripadvisor. I usually try to note things about the place that I think might be helpful, like proximity to restaurant choices, attractions, things that might make it a good option with kids, etc. I also always read reviews, but I tend to ignore the ones where someone seems to have just had a bad day, or where their bad rating seems like it might be based on their own expectations (it was horrible because the rooms were small...)
I've written several hotel and restaurant reviews on TA. I almost always post photos, especially when reviewing hotels. The real traveler photos are invaluable to me when I'm browsing TA reviews. I tend to discount negative reviews which claim a hotel is rundown or dirty, unless the reviewer backs it up with pictures. My negative hotel reviews are rare, but as with my positive reviews, they are backed up by my photos so readers can decide for themselves.
I usually write reviews of hotels or B&Bs. We have had excellent experiences using TA reviews, so writing reviews seems like the right thing to do. I would not tend to write reviews if my experience was only average.
I refer to TA whenever searching for a b&b, so I generally write a review. I'm hoping like minded people do the same.
For the past several years, I've written reviews for every place I've stayed. It only seems fair since I use the site so much to choose where to stay. Also, I like to reward the places I like with good reviews. Similarly, I like to point out problems if I think it will help other people. I'm pretty gentle with my criticisms, or maybe I should say tactful. I never write reviews for restaurants or tourist sites. I find restaurant reviews to be almost useless -- it just seems everyone has different tastes and standards. Also, I don't focus that much on food. I've never gotten in the habit of using Trip Advisor for deciding what activities to do. Am I missing something?
Nigel, I prefer to read and use Booking.com reviews. However, TripAdvisor now has a resource for travelers' pics, something Booking.com misses still on a meaningful sense. So I started using TA (for pics) as a complement to Booking. Most properties are shown on both. I'm also thinking of helping TA improve its quality by providing some content there (not that I'm pretentious, but I just think I can not go down the route of bashing the property because they didn't abide to an unresonable request or for bad weather).
I write reviews when I am particularly pleased with my lodging or reestaurant and also when I have had problems with either. If everything is okay, but generally just average, I typically will not review. Even though I have read recent comments that hotels are paying people for good reviews, I tend to look through the reviews. I note that many times people complain about things that have nothing to do with the hotel, etc. I tend to look at number of complaints as a percentage of the total number of reviews. So far I have not been led "astray".
I am trying to be more conscientious about writing TA reviews, since I also rely on them. I have started writing reviews on Booking and Venere, too. I find that most of the reviews there aren't detailed enough. It's not enough to give a rating without explaining why. I recently chose a room because it had a "travellers' choice" rating on TA, even though someone here had recommended another hotel (that had mixed ratings on TA). I had a terrible experience and wrote a scathing review (my first really negative one) and posted pix showing some of what I didn't like. It was the first time I felt that the reviews had no connection to what I experienced. And the reviewers were mainly people that had written many reviews on TA. I do read the reviews carefully. Sometimes, it's just a matter of expectations versus reality. I also know what is important to me (cleanliness, location, quiet) and what is not (friendly staff, size of room). Was it here on RS that someone posted a link to cruise ship complaints? If not, or if someone missed them, here it is: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-sea-is-too-loud-and-wheres-gary-barlow-bizarre-cruise-ship-complaints-revealed-8555467.html
Like many on this board, I try to write reviews because I definitely refer to Tripadvisor in searching for (hotels more than restaurants). But I'm not as conscientious as I should be.
I almost always review hotels on Trip Advisor. I have found their reviews to be really helpful, but I'm pretty careful in what I search for, and always look for lots of consistent reviews (and I check the bad reviews to see whether they're things that matter to me like cleanliness! and how long ago they were posted). I also tend to focus my reviews on the things most important to me (primarily cleanliness, comfort, and safety). I've written an occasional glowing review, plenty of very good reviews, and a couple of really negative reviews. We have had some really good luck with hotels found via Trip Advisor. I almost never review restaurants, and I haven't found TA's restaurant reviews to be particularly helpful. I've reviewed a couple of attractions, but don't do it often. If there is a less well known attraction I've found to be spectacular, I've written about it...seems like it could help make or break a small business. I've also written when I've felt an attraction is a major rip off.
I write TA reviews. Since I use them as one source for choosing a hotel or restaurant, I think it's only fair that I should report back about my experience. When I use TA to choose a hotel, I am turned off right away by any kind of uncleanliness shown in the photos. A clean bath and clean and comfy bed are essential to my trip. I post about hotels so that other travelers will be warned if the hotel is misrepresenting itself on its own website. I also report other things that the hotel promises on their website, but does not deliver. One such item is that some hotels promise free breakfast or wifi, and when you arrive and check in, you find out you will be charged for both. Likewise, I give a glowing review for a hotel that is all that it promised on its website and more, especially polite, helpful and professional employees who are eager to please. I give as much detail as possible, whether reviewing a hotel or a restaurant.
I write a lot of reviews on TA. In a perfect world, I would review them all whether favorably or unfavorably, but I'm not quite perfect.
I go to Europe every summer for a month and have done so for more than ten years now. I seldom do my research using TA so I have not really thought about writing reviews more frequently than I have in the past. I guess I should give more thought to contributing to TA if something I encounter warrants a review.
I am, however, quick to give a response to a question posted on Helpline if I have firsthand experience with that subject.
I find that TripAdvisor is not useful for me, and I do not post reviews on it.
A side benefit of this thread is seeing how many of us write TA reviews. I hear so often about TA reviews being fake. It's good to know how many genuine reviews there are. I try, time permitting, to review as many of the places I've been/stayed/eaten as possible with as many details that I can remember. I've even started keeping the itemized receipts from restaurants for more accuracy.
I don't write reviews on TA or any of the others on accomodations. Sometimes I read them to get an idea on what people complain about and their accuracy, if certain nationalities tend to complain more about a specific aspect or a failing in the hotel they stayed at. Location and price matter, whether I feel like splurging or scrimping, mostly towards the latter.
Normally I don't do any reviews, but I do read them on tripadvisor. Still I try to get a balanced view. Last year when I was in London stayed at royal national in London & service was awful, but the room was very clean. just beware of using the phones in room. I called from my room phone to a london based friends cell phone...it cost me about 25$ for a 4 call.
Reviews are great in theory, but ideally, they should be directed right at management (of a hotel, restaurant, etc) in writing or in person more so than potential guests. Only then could there be a meeting of the minds between hotel/restaurant mgmt and guest and, perhaps, corrective actions or adjusted expectations on either side. I'm assuming the whole point of reviews is to improve performance, not to whine - hence, I argue..take it up with management directly vs. an anonymous review once you feel free to vent from the comfort of your home. It's great that so many establishments are actually reading and responding to, say, Trip Advisor reviews (many don't), but often the comments are so vague that it's difficult to rectify the issue or clarify what the reviewer meant exactly. For example, rarely do folks specify their room number or something extremely site specific - nor do they say how much they paid for their experience. People largely evaluate things based on their perception of value, and value is highly individualistic (e.g. expectations for a $200 hotel room will likely vary depending of whether this price is seen as a guarantee of "x, y, or z", hence driving expectations). Also, another pitfall of reviews is seen right in the comments - reviews are skewed toward the very happy and very unhappy (and underrepresented in the middle), as well as "review inflation". I do respond to reviews by business hotels whose managers are looking at the results and booking.com. I notice in the wording of some questions, there is a substantial "nudge" to rectify the issue directly with management first, prior to complaining.
I definitely write hotel reviews on TA and read/use them too. People who complain they are not reliable because of "planted " reviews don't read them properly. Frankly if a hotel has 50 or more reviews and they all mention some thing like a noise issue and grouchy staff, then all of a sudden there are 3 reviews who go on and on about nice staff ( and name them too, lol ) and how quiet and lovely hotel was,, and they all seem to be first time posters, well those are reviews I simply don't trust . I have booked dozens of hotels, not just in Europe but in States and Canada and I always check they out on TA..
I usually book directly with hotel for Europe but for here and States have on occasion used Expedia and Booking.com.. ( there is a very nice spa/resort here on island( Tigh na Mara) that never offers the deals for them that I can get on Expedia, its stupid really I have even asked if they would give me the Expedia rate and they won't so I hang up and book with Expedia and show up and pay 20-30 dollars less per night for room! I rarely review restaurants as I find them the least helpful.. everyones tastes are different, sorry Cheesecake Factory is gross to me and raw oysters may be gross to you, yet neither of us is wrong about what we consider "excellent" for ourselves. I always note whether reviewer posts a realistic review , what I mean is , please don't consider a place horrible if you only paid 80 euros for it in central Paris and its clean, but the rooms were small, get a grip!
I do post on TripAdvisor and much like Pat, use it in planning trips as well. It is important to read TA critically. I ignore excessively gushing and unrealistic reviews, as well as any poster who has written only one review. I always read the "terrible" category to see if there is a consistent problem, such as no hot water, or if they are ridiculous (OMG! A spider in the shower!)Those entries can be very entertaining and often reflect a guest problem, not a hotel problem. I find if I read carefully, the reviews can be very helpful for discerning details like connecting rooms, weird bathroom arrangements, proximity to transit, quality of breakfast, etc. I recently had an amazingly positive experience come out of a review I wrote. We stayed at a 5 stay property in Belize that I felt hadn't quite earned its 5 stars. I described these points in detail in my review. The manager of the property contacted me via PM with a lovely, detailed response to each of my concerns. It was very personal and very sincere, definitely not the canned response you sometimes see on TA, and I really appreciated it.
I post always with regards to hotels. I am reluctant to give a poor review to a "mom and pop" hotel. I assume that other travelers might be like me. At small properties many owners engage the guests and it is really hard for me to be critical. I don't want to hurt their business. And so I find reviews of small hotels to be overly generous,conversely I find many reviews of chain hotels, especially large ones to overly critical. Restaurants, I post if the service/food is in my opinion is incredible. About all the bogus reviews, I think it easy to spot them.
I try to write a review and will start taking pics of every place I visit. I know it has helped me in the past. I"m under travelinmen
I try to always write a review on Trip Advisor since I use it to help me make decision about places I like to go. We had a Pension owner in Europe tell us that Trip Advisor guards and at least attempts to protect their information. He told us that if people write their reviews of his Pension while they are still there, Trip Advisor rejects them as their review is associated with his IP address.
When I read reviews on TA, I focus on traveler photos and themes. Traveler photos give me a different (did you know this site doesn't like the word "All Turn Native" and only prints native?) view than the professionally cropped photos the hotels are happy to post - so gives me a better idea of what to expect. I also look for themes, and whether those are a concern for me. If a common complaint is lack of air conditioning, but I'm traveling well outside the hot months, I tend to ignore the issue. If there's a theme of lack of cleanliness, I'll probably cross the hotel off my list.
Yes, yes yes! I love tripadvisor. I always use it to cross reference with other sites...and it has always been a good way to get an impartial perspective!!!
I do post to TripAdvisor about restaurants and hotels. I also use the site to find restaurants,hotels and places of interest. I try to find something positive to say when I do post and have rarely left a negative comment.
I do however, take reviews with a grain of salt, especially the ranting reviews... Some people are never satisfied and the Internet allows one to be anonymous and perhaps untruthful. Negative comments can really hurt a business and I do think that owners read the reviews and make an effort to address problems
I write TripAdvisor reviews and rely on their reviews when traveling. While some reviews are phony or provide no worthwhile information, TripAdvisor rankings have been pretty accurate. In my own area the top hotels, restaurants, and attractions are reasonably ranked from one on down.
Yes, I generally write reviews on TA. Since I'm usually pretty careful about where I stay (especially when traveling by myself), I'm usually happy about my experience and say so. I try to be specific in pointing out particularly good or problematic things; for example, my last TA review was overall very positive about the hotel, but I did note that there was only one electrical outlet in the room (and that was for the TV). Had I known that in advance, I probably would have brought a plug with two or three slots, for charging phones, cameras, computers, etc. Only once have I written a highly negative review, and that was for a business class hotel in Berlin whose management was doing their best Fawlty Towers impersonation. I came across it the other day and had to laugh...though at the time it was anything but funny. I agree that it is easy to spot egregiously fake reviews, like the small B and B in Pamukkale Turkey which had twenty glowing reviews from guests from all over the world, yet it was each guest's first review. Now, what are the odds that all of these global travelers were first moved during their travels to report on their room in Pamukkale? Right... Incidentally, you see the same sort of thing on the Turkey Tips section of the Rick Steves websiteslots of supposed travelers from all over the world whose only Turkey Tip to share is to laud their wonderful Turkish guide, by name, complete with web address and phone number, and speak of how exceptional he was. Nothing on any sights seen or places visited, just the gush over their travel company...
Yes, I generally write reviews on TA. Since I'm usually pretty careful about where I stay (especially when traveling by myself), I'm usually happy about my experience and say so. I try to be specific in pointing out particularly good or problematic things; for example, my last TA review was overall very positive about the hotel, but I did note that there was only one electrical outlet in the room (and that was for the TV). Had I known that in advance, I probably would have brought a plug with two or three slots, for charging phones, cameras, computers, etc. Only once have I written a highly negative review, and that was for a business class hotel in Berlin whose management was doing their best Fawlty Towers impersonation. I came across it the other day and had to laugh...though at the time it was anything but funny. I agree that it is easy to spot egregiously fake reviews, like the small B and B in Pamukkale Turkey which had twenty glowing reviews from guests from all over the world, yet it was each guest's first review. Now, what are the odds that all of these global travelers were first moved during their travels to report on their room in Pamukkale? Right... Incidentally, you see the same sort of thing on the Turkey Tips section of the Rick Steves websites; lots of supposed travelers from all over the world whose only Turkey Tip to share is to laud their wonderful Turkish guide, by name, complete with web address and phone number, and speak of how exceptional he was. Nothing on any sights seen or places visited, just the gush over their travel company...
I rely on TripAdvisor hotel, restaurant, and attraction reviews and have written many reviews of the same. I have found TripAdvisor rankings to be reliable. The top five ranked establishments are the best and the bottom five ranked are to be avoided.
JER brings up a good point. Suspicious-looking reviews sometimes show up on the RS website, too. The Travel Tips/ Guidebook Updates sites are hard to find, but I check them when planning a trip and sometimes contribute after returning. I have not looked at the reader reviews for Turkey, but a lot of the "best/worst" listings for Italy seem dominated by gushing reviews of two or three places, despite being in remote areas with little to recommend them other than these "happy, happy" guests, none of whose names I recognize as regulars on these forums. The one thing they have in common is they just loved the owners. I regard these with the same suspicion I do with gushing (and overly negative) reviews on TA. I have stayed in a lot of nice, affordable places run by really nice people, but no place is so nice or its owners so nice that it/they would crowd out everthing else.