During the time while I’m contributing to TA I’ve seen many people worrying about the accuracy of hotel descriptions and travelers’ reviews.
With the help of a couple of friends, I decided to write down a few points, regarding how to use descriptions/reviews and how to read between the lines.
Every hotel’s owner will do the best for their hotel to look as attractive as possible. How do you know that what you read about the amenities of this hotel is true? How can you tell if this hotel’s location is as great and convenient and close to transport as described?
That’s an easy one! Post a topic and ask the locals. You may not hear what you wanted to hear, but if the locals (or people who’ve been there) tell you NO, then don’t choose this hotel.
Also, when booking, ask for a full list of what your room will have. Print it and bring it with you. If they promised a fridge, they will either have to get you one or you will pay less money for staying in a room with no fridge!
And now let’s get to reviews. You read so many contradictory ones for the same hotel that you don’t know what to believe? Let’s try to short it out!
Don’t pay attention to reviews that sound too “hostile”.
Don’t pay attention to reviews that look like they were taken from a travel guide or a commercial.
Be suspicious with very short reviews, either good or bad ones, unless they are written from a person who’s coming from a non-English speaking country.
When you read a veeery good review, take a look at the reviews prior to it. Are they all bad? If so, don’t take the good review too seriously.
ALWAYS check the author. Meaning: if someone logs on TA today, just to post a review, it makes you think. If this person has written a good review, don’t even pay attention. If this person has written a bad review, pay some attention.
Check the dates. How long before this person has stayed at this hotel? A year ago? Hmmmmm
Got any questions? PM the author.
Back to short, promptly written reviews. Copy the text and Google it. If the same review comes up for another hotel or if it appears in any type of brochure/guide book, then you got your answer!
Always check the photos posted and the photos of the hotel’s website. Are they similar? That’s not good! Do they look more professional than usually? That’s not good either!
Finally! You’ve read all reviews, you took under consideration those you found credible and now you wonder: Is this hotel for me?
Try to read between the lines and prioritize the complaints and the praises for a hotel. Meaning: A person is complaining for a broken tap. Was it fixed immediately? If so, then it was just an unlucky incident. If it wasn’t fixed immediately, then it means that this hotel is not paying much attention to their guests! Or, a person is praising the hotel because they helped him when his wife got sick with food poisoning. Great! But what if she had eaten at the hotel’s restaurant?
Also, see if this hotel suits the purpose of your travel and the area that you are planning to “move” within. If you are going for business and this hotel gets the best reviews from clubbers cause it’s next door the best club of the town, then it’s not for you! Or, if you are going for a romantic getaway or you need to get some rest and the hotel advertises 20 different activities for the children, than just don’t go!
In general, take all reviews and descriptions with a grain of salt. Don’t expect a palace unless the Queen of England has invited you to Windsor. Still, if you want a seaside palace, say no (but please be polite, after all she’s the Queen) and try to get yourself invited by the Queen of Spain!
Hopefully, I’ve said enough.
I would appreciate your help in order to keep this thread alive. Meaning, don’t accuse/name certain hotels (if you have proof they’ve done something wrong, let TA know) and try to keep your posts calm and friendly.
Any ideas, advices, suggestions will be highly appreciated!
P.S. Thank you very much Donnyb and Jon_rwr, Jon_rwr and Donnyb