Trip Advisor – Is It Useful or Not?

As I am sure anyone else who has traveled as much or more than I will agree Trip Advisor is a great website to use when you need to know if somewhere is a good place or a bad place to visit.  The places reviewed on Trip Advisor range from Hotels, B&Bs, and other forms of accommodation to restaurants, theme parks, and just about how another place you can think of that you may visit while on holiday or out for a day trip.  Obviously, to fit with the theme of the website, I will discuss Trip Advisor in relation to hotel reviews.

Considerations to Make When Looking At Reviews

One Man’s Luxury Experience Is Another’s Below Par, Budget One

As you probably know already, Trip Advisor allows hotel guests to leave honest reviews of their experience.   While for the most part, it is a very useful resource and can give you lots of interesting insight into a particular hotel that wouldn’t normally be featured on that hotel’s official website; it is important to understand that you have to use a certain degree of discretion when reading them.

For instance, a perfectly reasonable hotel may receive a bad review from one or two people, based on their own experience.  That can make a hotel sound quite negative, can’t it?  The problem is that while it may be true that their experience was bad if there are far more positive reviews than negative ones, it could be that for those reviewers the standards they expected were not met.

A guest’s personal taste is a very different way to look at something compared to the actual level and quality of service offered by a hotel.

Was The Negative Review Old Or New?

It is also important to not only consider that a guest’s own personal high expectations were not made but if a negative review was posted 5 years ago and more recent reviews were mostly positive, there could be good reasons for the difference.

For instance, hotels often change management and it could mean that the people that posted negative reviews were right at the time, because the hotel was under different, less effective management and that the more recent positive reviews are the result of changed management and changed the level of services.

Inconsistencies and Problems with the Site

Trip Advisor has had its fair share of criticism and problems.  Not only have there been accusations of hotel staff bribing customers to leave good reviews and hotel staff being accused of leaving fraudulent and partial reviews about their own accommodation which resulted in Trip Advisor being told by watchdogs to change the site’s tagline from ‘reviews you can trust to ‘reviews from our community’, but in trying to deal with reviews suspected as being fraudulent the site has had a detrimental effect on many hotel’s businesses.  Check out this post on The Telegraph website, about a hotelier that had to cut her room prices and lost business after a satisfied customer posted a positive review, all because it was done using the hotel’s Wi-Fi connection and therefore, IP address.

Judge Hotels on the Overall Reviews and Ratings

In conclusion, my experience of using Trip Advisor has fortunately been a more or less positive one.  I would advise anyone who uses it to judge a hotel’s quality of service to look at the reviews overall rather than just focusing on the really positive or really negative ones.

Leave a Comment