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 Monday, 23 September 2019
How to write a responsible TripAdvisor review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roderick Eime   
Sunday, 04 August 2013

We’ve all read them. We’ve laughed, cried and scoffed over them: glowing, gushing, trashing, smashing and just plain suspicious. But which ones do we pay attention to and which ones do we dismiss?

As a regular reviewer myself, the first thing I would hasten to mention is to be responsible. There’s too much knee-jerk negativity and bum-kissing sycophantic rubbish on TripAdvisor already. The last thing we need is more pointless box-ticking.

The easiest way to measure the usefulness of a TripAdvisor review is to ask yourself “do I trust this reviewer?” even if that reviewer is yourself. For TripAdvisor to remain a truly useful tool to travellers wanting know how to best spend their money, like you, only write the truth and do it constructively.

I like to write up to around 200 words. Any less looks lazy and dismissive, any more and it looks like a rant. Choose those words carefully, be precise and state your impressions clearly without prosaic colour or unnecessary literary pomposity. Otherwise you’ll just look like a tosser.

Where to start?

The logical progression is to start at the check-in (for hotels) or greeting for restaurants, work through the experience and finish with the impression that stays with you after you pay the bill.

How were you greeted? Was the staff member attentive and listening, taking note of your requests and were those requests fulfilled to your satisfaction? Little things like did you ask for a wake-up call, restaurant reservation or room on a particular side of the hotel?

You can make mention of the décor or furnishings if you think they play an important part of the message.

The middle bits.

Inspect the room. Or if you didn’t, what did you notice? eg Smell, noise, view, size or decorations. Hotels go to a lot of trouble (the better ones anyway) to create the sense of arrival in the room. Was it a ‘wow’ or an ‘uh oh’?

After you have spent some time in the room, did you impressions change? Was it better or worse than your first impression? That’s an important distinction. Even if you cringed when you first walked through the door you might have discovered the room and hotel weren’t as bad as all that and you might, after all, recommend the place.

For restaurants, the obvious things are cleanliness, responsiveness of staff, atmosphere, accuracy and punctuality of service and billing.

Finishing off.

Did any one particular staff member impress you? It’s always good to get a name and thank them in your review. In a big name hotel, guest kudos goes a long way for an individual and can be more valuable than any tip. Conversely, be very careful when you admonish someone. Do they really deserve it, or are you just being churlish? Think carefully on this one.

And if something or someone did bother you, how important was that event in the overall scheme of things? Be careful to put things into perspective. Don’t blow something out of proportion just so you can feel better. That’s selfish and destructive and only benefits you in the short term and no-one beyond that.

Be a valuable TripAdvisor reviewer

Be sure to include and highlight only those things that may impact the next guest who checks in. If your experience is an aberration, do you really want to trash the hotel’s hard-fought reputation because the bellboy dropped your Samsonite suitcase or the young wait-person spilled your chamomile tea?

Some general tips about style and language.

  • • Don’t use crude language unless it’s really necessary - and most times it is not.
  • • Don’t abuse individuals as if you we some horrible Captain Bligh. Just makes you look and sound like a nutter.
  • • Try and think of more accurate words than the ones lazy people use all the time, like ‘nice’, ‘unique’, ‘very’, ‘lovely’ etc.
  • • If you can only think of the minimum 200 characters, then is it worth a review? Make it substantial and credible or don’t make it at all.

Some thing you absolutely should not do.

  • • Never threaten an hotelier or restaurateur with a bad review just to gain benefit. In many parts of the world, this could be illegal and end you in hot water.
  • • Never offer to sell reviews. Likewise this could be illegal and certainly violates TripAdvisor’s policy.
  • • Never allow yourself to be tempted by any offer from a hotel to write a favorable review against your true impression. It happens.

While TripAdvisor claims to have methods and techniques for spotting fake reviews, in practice this system has been shown to be flawed. Ultimately it relies on the user to be honest and responsible. Can you do that?

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 27 May 2014 )
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