So what does everybody think of TripAdvisor nowadays? When it was first launched it was touted as the answer to everybody's prayers. A reliable, trustworthy and more than anything honest account of hotels around the world writeen by people with nothing to gain. The dream! But as the years have passed, operators have found ways to infiltrate and use it to their advantage- by either bigging themselves up, or disparaging others. Does it still have a place or is it deader than a Dodo? Also some funny examples of reviews would be much appreciated, I liked "We survived", "Hell on EARTH", and the hilariously understated "Wow, pretty bad".
Hiya, Just thought I'd add a wee story to your post, today we received an email from a hotel requesting contact with one of our customers.They wanted to offer the customer a free night if they removed a "cockroach" review from tripadvisor. Just to make it worse I just looked at the hotel reviews and there is a very dubious review of 5/5 on all accounts with tick all boxes type comments, I've been booking hotels for over ten years, its dead easy to spot the hotel's own review .... what do you think ? Kind of puts the whole thing into serious disrepute for me, I had my suspicions before but after today its clear how easy it is to game tripadvisor.
We stayed at the xxxx for a week and had everything you
could wish for in a holiday. On arrival we were greeted politely and
helped immediately with our luggage to our room. Breakfasts everyday
were faultless, something for every nationality and even Champagne! The
best Pastries and bread baked fresh on the premises. Fabulous meals
reasonably priced in the Avalon Restaurant. The beds are the most
comfortable we have ever slept on and the room cleaned every day, free
minibar (soft drinks) and toiletries. We were central for all the
amenities, bus routes, Metro, Cathedrals, Las Ramblas and 10 minutes
from the Sea. Barcelona is a beautiful City made even more welcoming by
staying at a Fabulous Hotel. The pool was lovely on the roof to sit and
enjoy the views. Highly recommended, will be staying again without a
Thanks for your post footsack.
Yes - reading that review it almost seems too good to be true! How many reviews were there for this particular hotel?
To be honest I have not used TripAdvisor much when booking hotels and base bookings on friends' recommendations. TripAdvisor was a good idea, but have hotels cottoned on and trying too hard to self market themselves - despite the genuine "user" reviews?
The hotel has a total of 261 reviews so it is difficult for them to game them all but they only need to spike the average to go higher in the ranking.
It was shocking today, payment to remove a review, am I so naive ? I guessed hotels were writing their own and probably writing bad ones about competitors but paying customers to remove them this is a whole new level.
You sound like a professional so you might be more cautious of "reviews". We book for hundreds of customers a week and speak to them over the phone, on the whole they take Tripadvisor as genuine truth. Many hotels know the authority they are held in and the temptation to game reviews is very high, its money, the higher they are on the review ranking the more bookings they get and more money they make.
Its a bit sad because the idea is good, the weakness is the authenticity. You don't need to prove you stayed at the hotel to write a review on Tripadvisor anyone can write any review on any hotel, guess what happens ?
Hey ho thats my little rant out in the open, sorry to bore you all.
Wow, I didn't know about this trend either. It's pretty bad- I wonder how prevalent this practice is? Thanks for sharing footsack.
Does anybody else have any stories to share? Good or bad?
Is very interesting to read some of the comments, I go the trip advisor website everyday, to check if things been written about the hotel where I work, but more to check out the competition reviews.
And to be honest we rarely get comments, I think our type of clientele are not trip advisers adepts, but recently I got a family of 3 that I check in myself, and they ask me if they could stay at our sister hotel (across the road, they booked 3 nights with us, and 1 at our sister hotel, because we couldn’t do the Friday), well I checked them there and a few days after they post a review saying they booked with us, but WE moved then over the road….
Trip Advisor is very good, BUT as long the comments are true, and from ‘real’ guests, and I never understood the fact that sometimes people look like they had a nice time, and they arrive home and they post something horrible, why?
Why not just put their point across when checking out or during their stay?
I for sure know that every time that there is a complained to me, I deal with it, do everything that I can to make the guest happy, and if I see something bad written about us, it really upsets me, because all guests should be happy, and content if is not the case it means that I fail somewhere…. but more and more I realise that some people are very difficult to please, and the more you do for them the more they are going to find to complain.
Makes me laugh the comments that are anonymous or like the one above, where everything is perfect, like my nanny used to say ‘you should always believe everything you ear or everything you see’.
Thanks Juliana- I can imagine it is very frustrating for the honest hotelier trying to help guests all they can. Do we think this may help at all? The launch of an anonymous reviewer website: http://www.hotelsmag.com/blog/1720000572/post/750047275.html ?
It makes me a little bit mad, because maybe some of the really bad comments for some places are actually very true, and in all of this ‘mess’ the nice and honest hotels, that probably have some downfalls but they working on it, they get mixed with bad hotels, with fake reviews, and very poor quality because the owners or company don’t care…. so for the customer behind is screen how is he suppose to sort out the good and the bad?
The fake and the real? Who’s fault it is?
You wont decided to be a doctor if you have no qualifications…. and you wont decide to be an engineer with no qualifications experience etc…so why do we see so many people own or run a catering establishment?
When at the end they are going to make a mess of it and, and destroy even more the already ‘weak’ catering industry reputation.
Most of the hotels I know get lots of letters of praise and, inevitably, some complaints too. The bizarre thing about Tripadvisor is that all of these are laid out before us in one place. But surely everyone can see through the hysterical rants of unreasonable people, especially where they are balanced by good comments from other guests? Personally I ignore the "worst place I've ever stayed" and "worst meal I've ever eaten" reviews on the grounds that these writers clearly did not receive a decent education, which would have prepared them for even the least hospitable establishments.
You are quite right, Juliana, to say that anyone can become a hotelier with or without qualifications. Mind you, the same is true of shopkeepers, TV presenters and hotel guide publishers. Some are very good, some are very bad. I think the unscientific and slightly chaotic Tripadvisor is nonetheless a useful source of information and should be taken for what it is, in conjunction with the star rating or brand association of the hotel.
The problem I have with user-reviews is that people are less incensed to write a good review than a bad one, so the picture painted is somewhat distorted.
Isn't there some statistic that says if a customer has a bad experience they are likely to tell 10 people about it but if they have a good experience they will probably only tell 2? The numbers might be wrong, but you get the idea. Review sites like Tripadvisor amplify these figures enormously.
If the system is infiltrated by operators to skew the results though the whole thing a bit of a farce, but they would have to invest a LOT of time and effort if they wanted to skew the results successfully.
Out of the 261 reviews Footsack mentions, the one glowing piece that seems obviously to be written by the hotel won't stand out for long. Ultimately the hotel will need to sort out whatever issues it has so that real customers will write more good things about it. Unless they start to get genuine positive feedback the average may spike, but it will soon drop back down again.
Seems to me that TripAdvisor, like the Internet as a whole, is prone to all the frailties and wiles of Humankind. If I went into a pub and joined a heated debate at the bar about which hotels the gathered boozers liked and disliked, I would take all comments with a pinch of salt. I would assume that various agendas were at play; that all views aired were subjective; and that, while hearing all opinions might be useful, I would be a fool to book a holiday on their say-so. Shouldn't we apply the same approach to TripAdvisor and its ilk?
Hi Mark, Gemma
This "rant" is almost identical to one I sent to the BHA recently, and which has attracted the support of some high profile hoteliers.
I, like most, accept and support the concept of user generated reviews on travel websites but I do not accept reviews that can be posted with little or no moderation or verification. TripAdvisor's highly successful business model appears to be based upon a minimum of checks (and is thus very seriously abused by both the hospitality industry and reviewers), an arrogant disregard for accuracy and truthfulness, and a customer service regime that is virtually non-existent. My views are shared by a growing number of industry professionals and I am quite sure that if the magazine were to run a poll they would discover that there are many thousands of hoteliers in the UK alone who are vehemently anti-TripAdvisor.
Completely agree with your post!
As a 15 bedroom AA 2 Star Hotel in the small market town of Ross on Wye we dont get many reviews on tripadvisor.
At one time last year we were ranked as high as 4 out of 18 hotels, then a positive review posted by genuine guests mysteriously got removed. Enquired to Tripadvisor but got no plausible satisfactory answer. Two bad reviews later (we only have 9 in total), that were totally exagerated and frankly untrue. Complaints about no tv signal, no wi-fi signal and no hot water all made in that cowardly way on tripadvisor, never at the time of their stay so we can sort out any problems. And the strange thing is you check these faults and you cant find them, no one has the same experience before and after. It is totally disheartening for any hotelier who tries their best every day working long hours foregoing holidays so as to invest and upgrade their property.
Anyhow after these two reviews not only do we slip down tripadvisors rankings but they change our category to B&B why? punishment for daring to complain? I email again to them but of course its to no avail because as we dont have a 24 hour front desk we arent an hotel in their weird eyes. What is a 24 hour front desk anyhow. Is it a receptionist twiddling their thumbs at 3am or does it just mean a 24 hour online booking facility.
How many of the guest houses, B&Bs, Restaurant with Rooms Inns etc which are ranked as hotels have a front desk open 24 hours do their owners ever sleep! I doubt even the two three star hotels in Ross on Wye have a 24hr front desk let alone a four bedroom guest house.
I am beginning to wonder what is the point of being an AA recognised hotel as it dosent mean anything anymore and certainly has no credence with tripadvisor. How many former 2 star Hotels who are now 4 star Inns, restaurant with rooms etc but still are listed on tripadvisor as hotels. Clearly a breach in trading standards as they are no longer hotels and should not be referred to as such.
At least with sites like booking.com, laterooms etc the quantity of reviews posted and the fact they are at least from genuine guests means the overall ratings have some voracity. Happily my small little hotel scores far better on these sites and the reviews save the odd ranter, reflect the time, effort and investment that has been put in. As does our AA score which has gone up from a low 65% to a respectable 72% but how many of the general public know about or understand these scores.
I have to say TRIPADVISOR is just not what they claim to be ‘get the truth. Them go’ what truth?
I’ve already said it, I go everyday on trip advisor I like to check out what people are saying about all the hotels in the area. But, first, in the category ‘Hotels’ you got; A Farmhouse, A Travelodge, there is no wonder why people are confusing about the star ratings system, (but that is another subject), and now, I saw impropriating comments. Why?
Things like this shouldn’t be aloud; ‘service was fine when served by the lady who obviously lives locally, not the european temp staff’……. And this’spoke in broken english’.
It actually happens to be a review about one of the hotels I work for, is not about me, but still, I know the people he’s talking about, and they speak perfectly correct English, and I think the problem with this gentlemen was that he is a racist, and if he had a problem he should have spoken with the owners, who are in the hotel everyday, instead of writing a review about the staff being foreign, without leaving a name or anything to contact him.
Yes maybe some of the reviews are right in TRIPADVISOR, but is not OK for people write what they want, when they want.
When I was in catering school, in France my restaurant teacher always told me, ‘we serve people but we are not their servants’ I think unfortunately sometimes people forget that.
Here's an interesting article in which a New York hotelier explains how his company uses knowledge gleaned on TripAdvisor to its advantage.