"" Writer's Wanderings: Do You Use Tripadvisor?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Do You Use Tripadvisor?

There are several places online that offer reviews of places to visit, restaurants, hotels, etc. Our go-to site has always been Tripadvisor. They seem to offer reviews that are true. By that I mean, we have been to other sites and read what were obviously bogus reviews by people trying to discredit others in the travel business.

When you go to Tripadvisor the first thing you will do is to search for the type of review you want in the city or area where you are planning to go. For instance in Galway, Ireland, you would enter the city and country and check hotel if you are looking for a place to stay. It will generally give you hotels, B&Bs, and vacation rentals. Then it will rank them. The Petra House where we stayed was the #1 B&B out of 153 B&Bs and Inns in the area. From there you can go down the list and see what the average cost of stay is and how many people reviewed it.

The overall review rating is shown by dots, five being the top number and next to it will be the number of reviews (Petra has 5 dots and 302 reviews). There will be pictures usually provided by the owners of the establishment and then some by travelers who have reviewed it. Below all of that you will see how many people ranked it in each of the categories from excellent to terrible. Here is where it can get sticky.

When you read the reviews, be sure to look at several factors that will be helpful. When was the review written? If it was too long ago, things may have changed--either for better or worse. Where does the person who wrote the review come from? Different nationalities hold different standards in what they expect when they travel. And even within those nationalities, personalities will differ. Use common sense when reading either a too-good-to-be-true review or a review that says it was the worst place on earth. Both are extremes and like most things in life the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Reviews are personal opinions but you can glean a lot from them. How close it really was to bus/train stations, how many steps there might be up to your room, the size of the bathroom (We were in one B&B in England that had converted a small closet to a bath. You couldn't bend over to spit toothpaste into the sink unless the door was open.) You can even catch a hint at what the weather might be at certain times of the year. Reviewers give you all sorts of insight--just again, use caution in believing all you read and what floats one person's boat just might sink another's. And if you decide to be a reviewer, remember what it was that you were seeking to learn and try to write what is helpful.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...