Where do you turn to get a real glimpse into what may lie ahead in your upcoming travel plans? There can be a real value in utilizing websites like TripAdvisor when planning one’s travel and added benefits for those who are in the travel industry itself. But there are ways to misuse sites like this as well.
TripAdvisor and sites like these post user reviews of destinations, hotels, cruise lines, rental cars, inns, B&Bs, and all things travel related and let the lay traveler in on their experiences. Avid users of the site are responsible in posting their experiences whether they were positive or negative, but more commonly, the average traveler is far more inclined to be verbose when he or she has just encountered something particularly poor.
When a traveler has a perfectly acceptable hotel stay that’s not especially memorable, what motivation has that traveler to find words to share it? Most simply don’t. And because of this unnatural imbalance, reviews are likely to be skewed in the negative. Thus one who is in the business of selecting sites for conferences must take these reviews with a grain of salt.
But not ignore them.
The reason why these reviews can’t be ignored is because my clients are going to read them and have questions. Why did three travelers mention the hotel corridors smelled musty? Why did a handful of travelers last month say management was unresponsive to their requests? Why did the noise complaints spike over the summer?
The best way that I can use this anonymous user content is to challenge to hotel to provide an adequate response to whatever gripe, absurd or otherwise, that my client presents. If the hotel’s answer is satisfactory – if their explanation is sensible – it’s very easy to overcome these hurdles. TripAdvisor and sites like it have a place in this world and can be helpful in small doses.