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TripAdvisor: Friend or Foe?

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#1 BeautifulBridetoBe

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    Posted 22 January 2009 - 08:38 AM

    Chances are we all looked at the ratings and reviews on TripAdvisor prior to selecting our resorts. The thing about TripAdvisor that I am trying to remind myself is that negative reviews do not mean that the hotel is horrendous. It means that people were unhappy with their paradise vacations and wrote about it. Some reviews are truthful and some are silly.

    But when you are carting 50 people with 50 expectations to the Caribbean, suddenly these things matter!

    My hotel has recieved the same complaints over and over again and I am quite concerned...but then others say it was great.

    FI says "Stop reading TripAdvisor!"

    Anyone else reading reviews and wondering if they should have book down the beach?

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    Posted 22 January 2009 - 10:00 AM

    i ADORE trip advisor!

    my hubby and i always say, there are 2 kinds of people who travel to mexico (for example):

    ~travelers- a traveler books the best hotel for their money and expects little but is rewarded by being surprised with way more than they thought they were getting. a traveler is the kind of person who tips well for services, doesnt complain much, and is just happy to be on a tropical vacation in a beautiful and warm location with a drink in their hand while sitting in the pool, instead of at home/work, and will find a way to make any situation work for them.

    ~vacationers- people who should have stayed in america/canada because nothing is good enough for them. unadventurous people. people who are used to being spoiled and waited on hand and foot but dont tip well even for fantastic service. people who expect 5 star/diamond/apple service and accomodations in a 3rd world country thats sometimes-motto is "Manana, I'm on Mexican time!" rude, pushy, and unaware that the native people of the country are human beings too.

    anyways, we always read the review with these descriptions in mind, you can immediately pick the "traveler" reviews from the "vacationer" reviews. hubby and i definately see ourselves as travelers, and we have never been so disappointed or disgusted with a place that we have stayed at that we came home and wrote an embarassing review like some i have seen on TA!

    my absolute favorite part about the trip advisor reviews is you can look at REAL pictures taken by and uploaded by the actual person, rather than just the resort/hotel photos that the PR person for the hotel chain wanted you to see.

    you can see exactly what you are getting yourself into: bugs, mold, dirt, linens, bathrooms, pools, bars, buffets, everything! if you dont like what you see, dont stay there! i always look at the traveler photos first when i start researching any hotel, pictures dont lie!

    but just take what you read with a grain of salt, if you feel good about the place and you dont go there expecting perfection, you will end up having the best vacation every time :)

    #3 Copita

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      Posted 22 January 2009 - 10:09 AM

      I love Trip Advisor and have been a member for some time now. Mya dvice is to not feed into the negatives because it's going to consume you.
      If there is something that is restated over and over again (a complaint), I would look into that. But not everyone goes somewhere and has an excellent vacation. I have gone to places and had an excellent time and came back and saw awful reviews of the place and also vice versa.
      Good luck.

      Hi Abby! :) My fellow July '08 Bride!

      #4 ErinB


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        Posted 22 January 2009 - 10:20 AM

        GREAT post Abbie! That is a perfect description that I think I will have to steal and use from now on.

        Another thing to pay attention to on TA is the date of the post and the profile of the reviewer.

        Be sure to search the forum for reviews that have taken place at your resort. This is probaly a more realistic comparison and source of information than a review from a couple who got a last minute deal.

        I also like the "real" pictures feature. My stepmom wrote a positive review of our trip (she had seen a few negtaives before we left) and was browsing the pictures and found some with my dad in the backgroud that had been posted by another user.

        Some resorts have their own forums/message boards that can be useful as well.

        #5 Mel&B

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          Posted 22 January 2009 - 10:34 AM

          I love trip advisor! I've planned several trips based on reviews, and I've yet to be disappointed. I totally agree with Abbie's thoughts on the 2 types of travelers. I think you can kind of tell when reading the review if the reviewer is like you or dislike you. Does that make sense? Some people are insanely hard to please. You need to treat people with respect, be friendly, and TIP! The rewards are immeasurable.

          My honeymoon hotel opened a month ago, and the reviews are totally a mixed bag. I'm just hoping that by the time I get there in 3 months, the kinks will be worked out.

          The real traveler photos are totally the best!

          #6 fudgie

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            Posted 22 January 2009 - 10:43 AM

            I so agree with you Abbie! And BeautifulBrideToBe, I am thinking the same thing about my resort after reading the reviews on Tripadvisor and it sometimes gets me worried. I totally love the site and think it is so helpful, but like Abbie said I think it all depends on the person and what type of traveller they are. For us it is our first time travelling to an AI resort "down south" and at least now we somewhat know the standards for what to be expecting. I know that we'll be content and happy with getting married on a beautiful beach, culture, drinks, family and we'll take out of it what we can.
            Have you ever tried the forums on Tripadvisor? I find them much more helpful than just the reviews because it is typically people who travel there often.
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            #7 DWbride09

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              Posted 24 January 2009 - 11:38 AM

              I think its a great site to get an overall sense of what the resort is like. If you're seeing the same complaint over and over again from different travelers, then I would worry about it. But as far as likes and dislikes from individual travelers, you really can't judge from that unless you know the person its coming from. How can you judge how bad the food is from one person that says the food sucked when you don't know what they eat back home or like to eat. How can you tell if the service is really bad from one person's review unless you know if that person prefers to spend their free weekends at a 5 star hotel or go camping back home. See what I'm saying?

              I suggest reading the reviews with a grain of salt as you don't really know the people they're coming from. But I would worry though if the same complaint keeps reccuring.

              #8 sunsetbride1

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                Posted 29 January 2009 - 06:13 PM

                I completely agree with Abbie!!!!
                One thing that worried me about about my resort was the reviews about people getting sick from the food. Well, FI brought me back down to earth; you are in a foreign country and people are probably drinking the water (a la' Charlotte in SITC) - so of course they are getting sick. And some people's stomach's are more sensitive than others ...
                Look at the reviews in general and def look at the pics!

                #9 Lilpaisley

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                  Posted 29 January 2009 - 06:26 PM

                  I agree with Abbie...couldn't have said it better.

                  I think a big problem with some vacationers is they don't do any research. They want the Ritz service, but want to pay for Motel 6.

                  I have to keep laughing at some of the reviews that our resort is getting. My fav is the one that complains about no cocktail service on the beach. (how hard is it to walk a few yards to the bar??) If they had even glanced at the Riu's website they would see that Riu has 4 levels of hotel...and the RMB is the lowest level. If you wanted the white glove service then you should have booked one of the higher class Rius.

                  FI and I always joke that we are what we call "blue collar kids". We will never be the type to afford a Ritz or Four Seasons....and wouldn't know what to do with ourselves if we could.
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                  #10 lenka14

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                    Posted 29 January 2009 - 07:17 PM

                    This is how I see it....the people on Trip Advisor are posting negative reviews because they did not get the vacation they expected for whatever reason. Pay attention to their complaints and see if the issues they are complaining about would bother you or not.

                    Everyone has different standards and expectations. I read TA a lot before chosing a resort, and have in the past chosen resorts that had bad ratings, since the issues that some of the negative posters experienced would not have bothered me as much.

                    For example, a recent resort that FI and I stayed at had a lot of negative reviews on TA due to loud techno music being played by the pool....this didn't bother us one bit and we really enjoyed our stay. If my grandparents were staying there, they would have hated it and given the resort a negative review....know what I mean?

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