We’re quite often contacted by people who are panicking – they’ve booked accommodation here, and then they’ve decided to read the Trip Advisor reviews to get some more information, only to find that there are some negative reviews.

This article is to help you get the best from Trip Advisor, and to suggest you research your accommodation before booking.

Trip Advisor is the daddy of all review sites:

  • There are more than 225 Million reviews on it
  • Almost 5 million businesses in 150,000 destinations have been reviewed
  • Reviewers have posted 32 million photos to the site
  • 139 new reviews are posted every minute!

The numbers are staggering and it’s wonderful to be able to get so much information in a way we were never able to before. But there are some things you need to take into account.

Review sites attract extremes

The vast majority of people do not post reviews to Trip Advisor. Those that do are often motivated because they’ve either had an amazing experience, or a really bad one. That’s why you’ll see reviews at both extremes. People who have had their expectations met, and got exactly what they wanted from their purchase probably won’t even think about posting to a review site.

It’s the internet, and there are trolls and scammers

 

Sadly, it’s true. We know of situations where a business has set up a fake profile to write bad reviews of a rival company, and we’ve seen the opposite where a company has created profiles to give itself great reviews. They aren’t generally hard to spot – next to every review you’ll see the reviewer’s profile. which shows how many they have written, and how many “helpful” votes they’ve received.

Use those numbers as a filter, for example you might see a terrible review is from someone who has only created one review, but then you’ll see a good one good one from someone who has taken the trouble to review 30 businesses, 23 of which are restaurants. Who are you going to believe?

Read the responses

Any business can respond to a review with their own comments. Whether they bother, and how they respond can tell you a lot about the type of business they are. Do they only respond to the good reviews, for example? When they do cock things up (and it happens to everyone) do they handle it appropriately?

Spend some time on it

It’s easy to scan a hotel or restaurant, take in the most recent reviews, check out the overall rating and move on. But you could be missing some hidden gems! Go through page by page and look for reviewers with a lot of “helpful” votes. They are the kind of people who take the time and trouble to share great tips like “Avoid rooms 100-140, as they get a lot of noise from the bar” or “Ask for a table at the edge of the terrace for a view of the fireworks.”

Ask questions

If you can’t find the answer to your question, Trip Advisor has a tab called Q & A. Visit that, and you’ll see questions posted by other people and get a chance to ask your own.

Check out “Friends Activity Nearby”

There’s a section on the right of every page, which lists reviews written by your Facebook friends on places in the area. Want to know where to go for dinner on your last night? If a friend of yours has been somewhere and given it a good review, then it’s probably worth booking a table.

Don’t forget Trip Advisor is all about selling accommodation

At the end of the day, Trip Advisor is a hugely profitable business that makes money by getting people to “click” through to book accommodation. It shouldn’t impact reviews, but bear it in mind!

In summary, Trip Advisor can be a hugely useful tool, but approach it with some common sense and bear in mind what we’ve said above. Happy reviewing!

Also worth reading: Avoid the villa scam in Lanzarote.