Wanderlust Chronicles shares their tips for using travel review websites
As lovers of a great hotel, Leesa and I do a lot of research before we jet off to our new destinations. Our criteria for a good hotel room are simple. The room must be modern, comfortable, and good value. This has us bookmarking and regularly checking review websites, such as Tripadvisor, to find out if the official hotel website photos are indicative of the current standard of the hotel or are the remnants of what was a stunning hotel in 1888. After A LOT of experience with deciphering the cryptic codes of travel review websites, we thought we’d share our wisdom with you. So without further ado, here are our tips for using travel review websites.
Don’t believe everything you read
This is the golden rule of using a review website. Reviews are subjective to the tastes of the reviewer, and therefore one man’s golden bidet, may be the next person’s gross nether-region washing basin. Despite that crude analogy, we are trying to convey that you may love a hotel or attraction, but the next person may have a once-off bad experience or has different tastes from yourself that might change the way they review that place. Therefore, never say no to a place just because someone else has. Just do it or stay there if you want to because usually you will be able to tell if that place is right for you.
Do look at the traveller photos
Working from the previous rule, photos are the best way to tell if the hotel or attraction is right for you. Skip the professional photos with the amazing lighting and freshly cleaned room, and jump to the traveller photos. This is a great section to see what the room really looks like and right at the current time. Use these photos to decide if that room is good for you.
Do look at the dates the review was posted
Many hotels are being refurbished and transformed with the constantly changing tastes of the modern traveller. That’s why it’s important to always check the date of the review and photos. A review and photo from 2008 may be indicative of the pre-renovation style of the hotel, and many negative reviews may be associated with these dates. So check when the reviews were written, and do some research on the hotel’s official site to see if this applies to your chosen hotel at the time you will be staying at it.
Do read the manager’s comments
A good hotel will maintain a good online presence; this includes monitoring the reviews of their hotel. Many managers comment on online reviews to provide feedback about the reviewer’s comments. Make sure to read through these and see what the manager’s response was to negative reviews. Sometimes it has been seen that the negative reviewers haven’t even stayed at the hotel but are working for a competitor and are looking to tarnish the hotel’s good online appearance.
Do check the reviewer’s profile
To make sure you aren’t reading a review from a fake profile, always check the reviewer’s profile. After checking their profile, you will be able to see their contributions on the review site. Usually profile’s with only one or two reviews, usually of hotels in the same city both being negative and no contributions to anywhere else on the site, are signs of a competitor review. These reviews are made up just to discredit the hotel to “stop the competition”. So like checking your new friend’s Facebook page to get the low down, do check the reviewer’s profile too.
Do Google bed bug reports for your hotel prior to booking
A simple Google of the hotel’s name plus the words ‘bed bugs’ can stop your next holiday from being your next nightmare. Previous reports of bed bugs mean that you could be taking home some nasty locals with you and they are so hard to shake once you’ve acquired them. So do yourself a favour and do a quick check before you book your next stay.
Do use the forums
When all else fails, go to the forums for advice. Using the forums means that you will receive answers to all your questions from forum experts and past travellers. This is a great way to get up to date advice and recommendations without spending hours searching online through the wealth of out of date travel sites.
We would love to hear your tips for using review websites or simply what you look for before you book your hotel stays. Comment on the right or leave us a comment on our social media accounts below!