Tag Archives: tripadvisor

I swear it’s the truth

Do you believe everything you read online?

No – of course you don’t. More and more these days we are exposed to “fake news” on social media, false advertising and let’s not even talk about some of those “newspapers” you see at the check out in the supermarket. Where the heck do they get the inspiration for the headlines? It always gives me a chuckle while I am standing in line. Here’s a few good ones …

So what about hotel reviews? How do you assess the reviews that you may read on Trip Advisor? Do you take it all with a grain of salt and figure out if over 50% of the people liked it then it is probably OK? Or if there are a couple of bad reviews does it totally put you off booking there?

I am not immune from Trip Advisor – yes I look up hotels and see how they are reviewed. But I do balance it out with looking at other review sites such as Oyster.com which is an excellent resource as it is independent and the reviews are submitted by people who specifically go there to review the hotel and take photos. Trip Advisor has expanded from hotels to restaurants as well and it was this story that really had me freaked out – how a person created a fake restaurant and then ended up with that restaurant rated number 1. Here is the full story – it’s fascinating

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/434gqw/i-made-my-shed-the-top-rated-restaurant-on-tripadvisor

Just to whet your appetite (‘scuse the pun) here is one of the false reviews that pushed a non-existent restaurant up to number 1

Oh my goodness – does that destroy your faith in humankind or what? Or perhaps we are the stupid ones being so reliant on and faithful to what we read online.

But you have to laugh – right? You just have to reading some of these beauties

HOT AND BOTHERED IN CENTRAL AMERICA

“You said the town was next to a volcano, but we went and there was no lava. I’m pretty sure it was just a mountain.”

NEW YORK’S NO ZOOTOPIA

“The animals at the zoo looked very sad and it made our children cry. Can’t they train them to smile?”

LOST IN SPAIN

“The street signs weren’t in English. I don’t understand how anyone can get around.”

NOT PLAIN SAILING

“I went on your cruise around the Med [Mediterranean Sea] and the sea was so loud outside I couldn’t get any sleep.”

NAAN TOO PLEASED IN INDIA

“I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry and I don’t like spicy food at all.”

SIGHT-SEETHING IN KENYA

“The elephants we saw on our honeymoon were visibly aroused which made my wife upset and made me feel inadequate.”

DOUBLE TROUBLE IN FRANCE

“My boyfriend and I asked for single beds in our room and you gave us a double. Now I am pregnant.”

FEELING SECOND BREAST IN SPAIN

“Women were sunbathing topless on the beach and my husband spent all day looking at them.”

IN DEEP WATER IN ITALY

“No one told us there would be fish in the sea — the children were surprised and upset.”

TAKEN FOR A RIDE IN TURKEY

“There was no sign telling you that you shouldn’t get on the hot air balloon ride if you’re afraid of heights.”

IT GOT OUT OF SAND IN THAILAND

“The beach was so sandy that sand got into my clothes and was hard to wash off my skin.”

TIME MACHINE IN CARIBBEAN

“It took nine hours for our flight to get from the UK to Antigua but the Americans at our resort said it took them just three.”

OFF COLOUR IN MALDIVES

“The sand was much too white and not yellow like it is shown in your brochure.”

DOOM AND ROOM IN PORTUGAL

“Our one-bedroom apartment was much smaller than the two-bedroom one next door.”

TAKING THE BISCUIT IN BULGARIA

“The local store sold hardly any British food and did not stock my favourite brand of biscuits.”

LOST IN TRANSLATION EN ESPANA

“There were way too many foreigners and everyone spoke Spanish.”

KENYA TELL THE DIFFERENCE?

“We bought designer sunglasses from the market and later found out they were fake.”

GHASTLY GREECE

“We could not enjoy the tour as our guide was too ugly.”

GIVING IT LARGE IN SPAIN

“The beach had too many fat people. It was gross.”

Do we believe TripAdvisor?

It’s a good question.  A lot of people swear by TripAdvisor and a recent bad review of a hotel brought up some interesting comments on the internet.  But let’s first look at the bad review and what happened to the person who posted it.

Tony Jenkinson and his wife spent a night at the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool.  They were so unhappy with the hotel that he posted on TripAdvisor that the hotel was a “rotten, stinking hovel”.  The hotel retaliated by charging their credit card with £100 for posting the review.  Gives you pause for thought….!  How many times have you posted a bad review of a hotel or restaurant.

What is significant also is that Mr Jenkinson is obviously familiar with TripAdvisor but seemingly didn’t check the site before booking into the hotel otherwise he would have seen that it was ranked 858th out of 894 hotels in Blackpool – and at only £36 a night – well the old saying “you get what you pay for” comes to mind.

So what gives the hotel the right to charge this “fine”?  Apparently it is in the small print which Mr Jenkinson’s wife signed off on when they checked in.  Wow – it is worth while to check the small print before you sign.

An interesting aside – this incident prompted some online comments on Travel Mole and the one below really stood out.

  • dodgy trip advisor

    you can pay someone in India to give you a 1000 “separate & independent” +ve (positive) reviews on trip advisor. Similarly you can pay them to give a 1000 -ve(negative) reviews to your opposition. Anyone who even reads this crap is obviously very naive & stupid.

    By Michael Anderson, Wednesday, November 19, 2014

So how reliable is TripAdvisor?  It’s handy but its not the Bible.  Remember that the person unhappiest with their vacation is going to be the one most motivated to write a review on Trip Advisor.  So balance out the comments, good and bad, search out other websites – and if all else fails – talk to a professional.  You’ll be happy you did.

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Shame on you Mr Hook. Posting anonymous rave reviews of your own hotel chain while dissing the competition.

Hotel PR exec admits to posting 100 anonymous reviews on TripAdvisor

What is the world coming to? Does this mean we have to start being suspicious of what we read on the web? No – say it isn’t true. I rely on Mr Google for everything including self-diagnosis (drives my doctor crazy), driving distances and even a bit of snooping (don’t tell!). So now I am in a dilemma.

Tripadvisor is a pretty good tool. I always take the really bad comments and the really good comments with a pinch of salt and follow those somewhere in the middle. The sad thing is that it was only a matter of time before this supposedly unbiased website would fall victim to underhand marketers. Now I am wondering about the photos posted online. The huge difference between the professional photos and the travellers’ photos is sometimes astonishing. Is there a better source? It’s not complete (yet) but Oyster.com is a really good website. The photos are taken by professional photographers who are paid to portray all aspects of the hotels and resorts.

The last thing you want to see when you drive up your hotel is something like this….

This is not a good start

This is not a good start

Brochure speak

It really is a calling if you think about it – the people who write for travel brochures.  It’s easy to gush about 5 star cruising and small exclusive boutique hotels but what about those 2 star hotels?  How do you describe a 2 star hotel and still put a positive spin on it?

Just stand on your tippy toes on this stool and over the top of the chimneys you can just catch a glimpse of the sea ….. honestly!

Comments such as a “pleasant surprise” or “right in the centre of bars and entertainment” can be found.  How about that “five minutes to the beach” or “partial ocean view”.  Yes there is a lovely partial ocean view if you stand on a chair and stick your head out of the window so you can see to the end of the alley.  Also beware of rooms that might be described as “cozy”…. shudder.  Conjures up images of old candlewick bedspreads.  “Quaint” and “comfortable” are also found dotting around descriptions of 2 star hotels.

I think this is why Tripadvisor has done so well.  It cuts through the lyrical prose of the travel brochure and cuts to the quick with descriptions such as “wouldn’t wish this on a dog” or “Worse than Afghanistan…. have been in the army for 18 years”

If you have time on your hands you can find reading Tripadvisor quite amusing – here’s an extract from a review of a hotel in Brussels…

“The location leaves a lot to be desired, unless you happen to be a free-lance exotic dancer. Nestled in a district of sex shops and strip clubs, the area attracts the sort of people that you would cross the street to avoid. As you enter the hotel, you are greeted by decor that is almost medival – and a strange old man who is always angry; and ironically smoking a cigar next to the ‘no smoking’ sign.
Next, you enter the lift – I have seen suicide attempts that adhere to more health and safety measures. Seriously – take the stairs. It rather optimistically has a four person maximum capacity – God help you if one of your companions happens to be fat… ”

That one really made me laugh…..