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Tripadvisor experts

Boquete, Panama
11 posts
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Tripadvisor experts

I suggest that Tripadvisor not draw its experts from the tourism business community. Bias can be reflected in a number of ways outside of promoting one's particular business. I have read misleading information about the affects of climate at particular times of year, for example, encouraging people to come and enjoy activities inappropriate for climate conditions at that time of year. If the advice on this site is to be truly useful, it must be unbiased. Surely there are private citizens in tourist areas who could better fulfill the "expert" function.

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto
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71,111 posts
85 reviews
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1. Re: Tripadvisor experts

Hi Beck214;

I can assure you, most of the DE's are NOT from the tourism industry. For more information about the DE program, visit the Help Centre page "How destination experts are chosen" which is here on TA;

tripadvisor.ca/help/how_destination_experts_…

If at anytime you find ANY user promoting their business, you can always alert TA staff to it by using the "Report as inappropriate" button. An alternative would be to contact TA staff by email. Visit the Help Centre page "Are the forums managed by anyone at TripAdvisor?" and use the "Contact Us" link in blue text.

tripadvisor.com/help/are_the_forums_managed_…

Best Regards

Limerick, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Limerick, Killarney
Level Contributor
25,291 posts
82 reviews
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2. Re: Tripadvisor experts

Another non-travel industry individual here.

Regarding recommendations for different times of year, we all have different opinions. For example, I far prefer Killarney in the winter when the tourists are gone and I can have the place to myself :o) Most people prefer it in the summer.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
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25,093 posts
81 reviews
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3. Re: Tripadvisor experts

One of the nice things about the internet is that it tends to keep you humble, because people aren't shy about speaking up if you give information that they think is incorrect or misleading. If you think a DE is wrong, or disagree with their opinions, then (politely) explain why you disagree or point out the error.

Also, even if DEs aren't in a tourism-related business, they can still be fans of their particular destination and minimize negative aspects of it. (At one point, it was suggested that the position be renamed "Destination Enthusiast".) In fact, you could make the argument that the folks who *are* in tourism have a more balanced point of view, because they get more feedback from more travellers. I have learned a lot about my city from the feedback of TA members.

Portland, Oregon
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12,789 posts
28 reviews
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4. Re: Tripadvisor experts

I do know one DE who does seem to over-emphasize their destination - if anyone posts that they are visiting in a 300+ mile radius of their destination, that DE will pop up with multi-paragraph recommendation for visiting their area.

It does get tiring. It's like being on a road trip with an 8 year old constantly saying "CanwegotoDisneyland? CanwegotoDisneyland? CanwegotoDisneyland?" when you are headed for Yosemite.

But - on the other hand - they did that before they were made a DE too. The behaviour that is objectionable happens whether a person is a DE or not. It think the fact remains, as other has pointed out, that everyone has a bias. And that is not bad thing - it's normal.

In fact, when someone posts a question that is asking an opinion (i.e. 'When is the *best* time to go...' 'Which hotel is the *best value*...') any answer could possibly be accused of having a bias, especially if you don't agree with the opinion. And to me - most of the questions I see in the destination forms are asking for opinions - not facts.

Now as for "private citizens" (I just assume you mean non-tourism employed or connected folks) doing a better job - who is to say they wont' have a bias as well? Many local residents will want to protect their area of the world from being overrun by tourists. They may not give you the information you want, either, because they may have a bias as well. While they may not be employed in tourism, they may have a family member who does. Even as something as simple as having their recent landmark-birthday at a restaurant that made it special - may give them a bias towards that restaurant when recommending a place to eat, even though it may not completely meet *your* needs.

It comes down to being able to read an opinion - be that a review, a forum post or an advertisement - and being able discern between objective and subjective views. But when you ask a question like "when is the best time to visit the beach" understand that you worded your question in a way to invite other people's bias. Some people like the beach in the winter (me!) and some like it in the summer. You will get opinions contrary to what you want when you word things like that.

Now had you asked the question a little more skillfully as in: "When is the best time to visit the beach when the crowds are low but it is still warm enough to wear shorts and go in the water" you are much more apt to get an answer that applies to your specific needs.

So I don't personally think it is much a problem of having DEs who are connected to tourism - as it is having people ask meaningful questions and being able to interpret other people's opinions in a way that helps answer their questions.

-Noah

Edited: 01 October 2010, 21:30
Sydney, Australia
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3,883 posts
76 reviews
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5. Re: Tripadvisor experts

Where there is a mix of DEs of different ages, travel style and outlook on life - I think generally the presence of one travel industry person could be OK.

However, I actually don't believe that the majority of experts are chosen from the tourism industry anyway as that would be pretty obvious - you can't really become a DE unless you have helped on the particular forum in an altruistic sort of way.

My thought is that many DEs are either expats or fellow travellers.

Apart from the DEs though anybody can answer a query - so there may well be regulars who are non-DEs who are from the travel industry. I know some people on the Sydney forum have mentioned this fact in either their name or within the content of their answer.

Boquete, Panama
11 posts
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6. Re: Tripadvisor experts

Of course opinions can differ. Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. The DE's that I'm complaining about are misrepresenting weather patterns in particular months and claiming that outdoor activities are not affected when I know differently--that during this period of time tours are often cancelled, fairs closed, power is down, streets are impassable because of storms, etc. But, because of their business interests, they paint a different picture in an effort to keep customers coming. The problem is that the questioners don't know which responders have tourism business interests and which do not.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
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25,093 posts
81 reviews
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7. Re: Tripadvisor experts

I see that you were involved in a discussion on this topic in the Boquete forum, but nobody who posted on the thread was a Destination Expert. Is it a different thread that you have in mind?

In any case, I feel that the best resource on weather is not personal experience, which can be biased for a variety of reasons, but actual weather statistics.

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto
Level Contributor
71,111 posts
85 reviews
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8. Re: Tripadvisor experts

Hi Beck214;

If I may suggest...

When you post your counter point of view, perhaps you could post a link with information that supports your comment.

As an example, this morning someone was asking about how much time they should allow at the airport, prior to the departure. I replied that they are required to be at the airport 3 hours prior to their departure to the US, and posted a link to the airport's page where this information is displayed.

Best Regards

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
3,883 posts
76 reviews
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9. Re: Tripadvisor experts

Beck if they are talking it up - that is evidently wrong. Humour always works so I would also considering using it to debunk myth. If you feel the information is misleading I imagine there would be enough other regulars who would be ready to point this out. Are we talking about a really small destination - I guess that could be an issue if one person's opinion is dominating.

Edited: 04 October 2010, 00:53
10. Re: Tripadvisor experts

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Removed on: 05 October 2010, 10:44