Posted in Travel

Why online travel review sites don't work

I just posted a long piece about why mass market online review sites for hotels and restaurants don’t work. I’m thinking about Tripadvisor and Yelp. You don’t know who the reviewer is. Has she traveled a lot? Does she eat out frequently? Does she share the same tastes as you?

Read my post on Pajama Entrepreneur.

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Author:

Author of "The Secret of Angat", a novel set in the Philippines during World War II. Founder, MuniWireless.com; Founder (Mapplr.com - travel) and Shopplr.com (beauty, style).

4 thoughts on “Why online travel review sites don't work

  1. I agree with you 100%. Most travel ‘advisors’ simply state what the majority do, but that says very little about those of use with any sense of exceitement, adventure, or desire to see whats around us.

    I definitally reccomend steering clear of online travel review sites / advisors.

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  2. I agree in many ways, as I have been selling travel for a long-time, people whine for time much about things that are
    out of most people control, like weather! Travel is suppose to be a adventure, what we escape from in our daily lives

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  3. Amen!

    Travelers are tempted to think of themselves as qualified reviewers because they have done some traveling; but by that same logic any of us with a haircut in our past should be styling hair for all of our friends. Imagine that fashion disaster ….

    A simple truth: Familiarity as a customer in any category is not the same as skill, training, or experience in that same field. Sites that use amateur “reporting” in place of genuine expertise are simply trying to get their content for free. They are examples of a business model that turns its customers into an unpaid labor pool.

    While one can’t fault the intentions of travelers who share their experiences, relying too much on their untrained eye has its risks — there’s no guarantee that the information has been vetted, or even that hotel operators have been questioned to verify the findings. (And there is always the chance that the reviewer works in the place they’re reviewing.) One must be especially cautious when price weighs too heavily in the review, without sufficient consideration of what that price might include, such as quiet, safety, cleanliness, air and water quality, location, competent staff, or infrastructure that operates around the clock at no additional charge.

    Too often I’ve seen a hotel highly praised simply because the price was quite low; but unless your chosen lifestyle matches what you’ll find in a cheap hotel room (including the iffy neighborhood that often comes with it), you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. Being stuck in such circumstances is no bargain at any price, and a review that persuades you otherwise has not been a friend.

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  4. Amen again!

    I run a B&B and we have just had our first review on TripAdvisor. Whilst it was not too bad I came to the conclusion it was more of an ego trip for the writer! The first exaggeration was that we were “spotlessly clean”! Of course we take pride in our work and it is nice to feel we have done a good job. But even hospitals are not that clean! Then came the BUT…..and a list of petty and insulting observations with creative and further exaggerated narrative. The saving grace for this website was that it forced the reviewer to answer some direct questions which contradicted their observations. Whilst they said they felt ripped off they ticked the boxes to say they would recommend their best friend!

    Peg summed it up so well despite the fact that we were apparently warm and friendly hosts, the location was great, quiet and parking was free, the “value for money” element was totally related to the room and decor!

    With around 1100 guests a year we know from repeat business and our own visitors’ book that we are an OK place to stay. But it is obvious from some of the proprietor replies that one negative review on one of these site can feel really personal and unfair for all the hard work people like us put into our hospitality and the ability to respond to reviews is limited by editing of those replies.

    Most people in this business (and I know quite a few) are as honest as the day is long and do not misrepresent their facilities. A lot of negative reviews seem to be based on the reviewer’s expectations which are often above what was advertised.

    We can only hope that people take the same attitude of you folks and read between the lines! Or don’t bother with such sites in the first place.

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