Monday, October 22, 2012
How To Use Online Hotel Reviews
One of the first things we do as travel planners is look at the online hotel reviews. The most popular site is tripadvisor.com but there are others including expedia.com and yelp.com. I strongly suggest you look at the reviews before booking a hotel. However, don’t dismiss a hotel because of a few bad reviews.
Hotels have very little power when it comes to online reviews. One disgruntled hotel guest can write multiple negative reviews without recourse. When looking at online reviews, see if there are two or three negative reviews grouped together. This is an indication of one disgruntled guest, especially if the members posting have very few total reviews. When I see this pattern, I make a note it, but don’t dismiss the hotel completely.
Often time’s hotels will receive negative reviews due to one particular issue. A good example of this is lack of parking, or expensive parking. Guests will hold this against the hotel in their reviews, which can push an otherwise good hotel down the rankings. However, if you will not driving to the hotel, then this issue will not affect you and you could have missed a great stay. Always see what the reviews consist of before writing off a hotel.
The most obvious issue with online reviews is that all reviews are subjective. A guest that has become accustomed to staying at 5-star hotels may give a negative review to a four-star hotel that lack of world-class service. While a guest that has stayed at hostels for a week straight will be more than happy with a four-star hotel. When reading reviews, look at the background of the author of the review.
Along with reading the online reviews, look at the pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words and the most helpful reviews are the ones with pictures. I always skip straight to those reviews. When a guests comments “the room was dirty” and then posts a picture of the conditions, you can put a lot more faith in that review.
Hotels put a lot of energy into maintaining a good status online. The best PT Tip I can give PT’er is to tell the hotel that you will be writing a review of the hotel on the Power Touring community boards or another website before arriving to the hotel. Most hotels have a comment section when you book your hotel. Write a quick statement that you will be reviewing the hotel and the chances of an upgraded room drastically increase.
If you have any other PT Tips, feel free to share them on our community boards. Also be sure to visit PowerTouring.com for more information on travel planning.