Should You Trust TripAdvisor?
The resort’s website and video charmed me, so I booked a four-night stay for my family. Then I went to TripAdvisor.com to read what would surely be glowing reviews and … whoa!
The reviews of this resort were AWFUL. There were dozens of them. Ice cold pool. Outdated bathrooms. Noisy hallways. Ridiculously priced food. The management didn’t post responses.
I filtered the reviews to just the family ones, assuming they’d have a better take. But they were just as brutal. Were we about to sacrifice precious money and vacation time on a not-up-to-par resort?
Guess what? TripAdvisor was wrong.
The resort was lovely, and while it was one of those massive convention hotels that by nature has some flaws ($3.25 for a can of Diet Coke, for example), the VAST majority of the complaints people had written were unfounded.
How did this happen? Were all these people wrong? Unfairly critical or revengeful? Did we just happen to come during a good week?
In TripAdvisor’s defense, I’ve seen many reviews of hotels that were spot-on. I think, in general, most of their reviews probably are. But now I know, there are exceptions.
When I’ve checked out of hotels, I’ve been asked by the management to post a review on TripAdvisor if I enjoyed my stay. I never have. And now that I think about it, no one I know has.
Given how much I value word-of-mouth, I instinctively valued TripAdvisor’s reviews because it was “real people” writing reviews. And it’s a very popular website, so that gives it credibility, right?
This experience taught me that TripAdvisor is one source of reviews, just not the ONLY source of reviews. I’m going to place more emphasis on reviews from people I trust (like my friends and fellow TravelingMoms!).
A recent news story said hotel chains would be starting their own review sites, presumably steering potential customers away from TripAdvisor. A good concept, but I’m not sure travelers trust corporate America to be objective and leave the bad reviews posted.
Feel free to share your TripAdvisor tales below.