Thursday, November 1, 2012

How To Read Trip Advisor Traveler Reviews (Without Freaking Out)

One of the best parts of vacation is the planning. I love deciding where to go next and then reading everything I can about the place. But when Ron and I first discovered websites like Trip Advisor, we would worry about every negative review. Then we decided to read the reviews on places we had loved, and guess what. Even our favorites had some bad reviews.  No resort can be everything to everyone. Here are a few tips on using reviews to find a resort that’s right for you.

1. Look for trends:
Don’t get hung up on a single review. If one person says a hotel is noisy, maybe that person was just there on a bad week. But if 100 people say it’s noisy, then you’d better bring ear plugs. Look for common themes that show up over and over and you’ll get a pretty good idea about a hotel’s strengths and weaknesses.

2. Look at the pictures:
Pictures posted by other travelers tell you a lot more about a hotel than the Photo-shopped and staged pictures on the hotel’s website. Ideally, the pictures should at least resemble the hotel website’s photos. But if not, at least you’ll know what you are really going to get.

main pool at Sandals Whitehouse
The main pool at Sandals Whitehouse really looks like the picture on the Sandals website

3. Read BEFORE you book:
I recently read a review by someone who gave a hotel a low rating because it was a high rise hotel and she’d wanted a larger, more spread out resort. If she had done any research before her trip, she would have known the hotel was not for her. Read the reviews before you book your trip, and you’re a lot less likely to be on Trip Advisor afterwards, complaining that you didn’t have a good experience.

4. Be realistic:
I wish I had a dollar for every time someone on Trip Advisor (and it’s almost always someone planning a honeymoon) said, “I just read some bad reviews and I’m freaking out! Did I make a mistake?  I just want my vacation to be PERFECT!!!”  If you’re expecting a hotel to be perfect, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Find a place that meets your main criteria, don’t sweat the small stuff and you'll have an amazing vacation.

Trip Advisor luggage tag

1 comment:

  1. Excellent advice. Especially the point made about not letting a bad review or a very small percentage of unfavorable reviews deter you.