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