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Found the "old" tour evaluation unvarnished comments!

I'm trying to advise tour buddies about a RS tour we took in 2013 - just before RS changed the evaluation format to exclude "raw" comments and buried the unvarnished comments that had been published before the first half or so of 2013. Unfortunately, I had not saved our evaluations for that tour to our computer, figuring you could always look up the comments on the RS site. However, I just bumbled onto the way to get at the unvarnished comments (now going on nearly 6-years-old, sadly) in case you want to see them. The question about meals is gone, but that's not super-critical because the restaurants change and the menu depends to a certain extent on the guide, anyway.

Go to: http://tours.ricksteves.com/evaluation/publicevals/index.cfm (tours-dot-ricksteves-dot.com/evaluation/publicevals/index.cfm)
Click on the name of the tour you want.
On the next page the questions (with no visible comments) appears. Click on each individual question to bring up the comments. The comments are arranged (I think) by date of tour, not the day the comments were submitted.

"C" of David & C.

Posted by
2507 posts

Your post remind me why I don’t read tour reviews anymore. Too bad, since the prior scheme offered worthwhile insights and now it’s fluff.

Posted by
1271 posts

I wonder why I was drawn to read nearly six year old comments about tours I'll never take and maybe aren't even offered anymore.

I also wonder why the RS corporate gods decided to sanitize the evaluation format. Most of the comments were extremely positive.

Posted by
1425 posts

David & C: this is an interesting post to me because I agree with you that the previous tour evaluations were a lot more comprehensive than the current ones. They also added a good deal more on-the-ground information than what's published now. However, that said, that was then, this is now. The current tours have changed, and changed a lot since 2013; new itineraries, changes within each itinerary; tours gone, new tours added, new guides, wonderful guides who have retired and on and on. I am not sure why you have posted this; I am truly not being critical but really would like to know the "why". For advising your friends, I think the most current scrapbooks (as well as some of the ones published in the past) provide a wonderful and the best look at what the tours do (and don't!) provide and what your friends might expect.

Posted by
491 posts

thanks for posting this! We take a RS tour every couple of years and have stopped returning the surveys ever since they changed them. I admired the company back in the day for being willing to post what any customer who cared to comment said, confident that their business would end up looking quite good (although you can't please everyone). I wonder what changed?

Posted by
83 posts

Do you mean that nowadays, RS doesn't post any negative reviews about their tours?

I've read many current reviews, and the majority are 4-5-stars, which doesn't surprise me because the tours are solid. There's a few 3-stars here and there, I've never seen a 1-2-star. Do you think these are kept out on purpose, or that they just aren't given?

Posted by
5887 posts

Justin, good question. I’d be interested in the answer too. I don’t think we’ll ever know because if it’s done on purpose RS won’t tell us.

Posted by
226 posts

Tour participants can check off a box not to have their review published on the RS website. I suspect some people who give low ratings or have specific concerns may choose to not make their review public. A few years ago I gave a low rating to a tour, not because of the tour or location or the hotels or the meals. It was something very specific that was eventually resolved. I did not want that review published because I did not want it to unnecessarily taint anybody else's view of that tour since it was so specific and unique to my situation.

Posted by
15234 posts

While Rick has always been happy to share the evaluations, their primary purpose is for staff to be able to read, tabulate, and evaluate the feedback. With a significant growth in the number of tour participants each year, this process must necessarily be streamlined. At the same time, our programmers will continue to upgrade the survey function as time and technology allow.

Posted by
1186 posts

There was a review for a tour we were on that was less than stellar - I think they gave it a “3”. They didn’t like the food choices they made, nor the individualized hotel rooms. Even though we had a different experience, it was reassuring to see that their review was posted.

I do miss the old forms that gave more specific help.

Posted by
986 posts

Thanks for posting this. I have been taking RS tours since 2005 and miss the old tour evaluation format very much. I think it is a disservice to the company and the people booking the tours not to have the old evaluations. I learned a lot from the tour evaluations when going on a tour. The comments did not deter me from going, they helped me on how to plan for each tour. I learned about certain resturants, what clothes to bring, what activities or sites to do in my free time. You have to understand that food and even the hotels are subjective and can't take it 100% to heart. Things change, and what one person likes another may not. But all in all, it was very helpful.

Posted by
359 posts

Hi I thought I read it was partly because so many more people take the tours they can’t print all the questions & answers. I agree I really missed them & learned a lot. It was something that really made RS tours stand out from others.

Posted by
510 posts

David,

Thanks for posting this link again! Back in 2013, when they changed the format, I was one of the major complainers about the change. While I understood the need to streamline the process to make the website more manageable, I was annoyed that the only questions now posted were 'wow' moments - completely UNhelpful in allowing me to decide on one tour versus the another (I mean, of course each tour has wow moments - we are paying for that). What I always found most helpful was the 'other comments' section (such as on the Eastern Europe tour, where several members complained about the Schindler Museum as a group activity). At that time, I actually bookmarked your link above during the transition to the new format, but the link seemed to only work for a few weeks after the transition. Now, I'm glad to have it back (and incidentally, I'm headed out on the EE Tour this summer).

Thanks again,
Gretchen