TripAdvisor must not like the way we review our travel, dining, hotels, and other attractions. They have now offered some guidelines, which seem fine. But do you want a “cookie-cutter” review, or a heart-felt, emotional, and very personalized review of a venue?
Here they are:
1. Cover the five W’s: The review already says where you are. Remember to add who you were with, what you did, ate and experienced, when you were there and why you would recommend someone should or should not go.
2. Highlight relevant facts: Whether you review a hotel, restaurant or attraction, people want an overview: How was the service? Is it centrally located or near major sights? What’s the ambiance like or condition it’s in?
3. Add a helpful tip: What do others need to know to have a better experience? Is there a specific room, special amenity or something off the menu you would recommend? Are there off-peak times you would recommend them going or how to avoid queueing for a long time?
4. Photos go a long way: Bring your review to life with photos. Photos help travelers understand the experience, whether it is of a hotel room, an incredible view or an amazing dish. Photos of dishes also help other users decide on what they might want to try!
5. Review as soon as you can: One-third of people surveyed by TripAdvisor say they’d rather read about a recent experience.
I can’t say that I follow their guidelines. I usually just comment on the food, meaning specific items ordered, the drink selection, and the service. Secondary to that would be the ambience, location, happy hour options, specials, or photos.
But I have seen many of my fellow travelers, particularly on Yelp, do a wonderful job. They often write nice, clear, three to four paragraph reviews, with information, and how they liked certain parts of their trip or meal. One thing I look for is whether a person will go back to that venue, restaurant, airline, or hotel. Second, would be the selection and service.
Over the years, I have written a few reviews that Yelp or Trip Advisor would not publish. Most had to do with a venue, not a hotel or restaurant. But I felt I told the truth, my version, about the place.
But I do appreciate reviews from seasoned diners or travelers. You can tell by how they write the review and the key words that they use. I often get some feedback on my reviews, when people say they were “helpful” or not. And I have achieved Yelp “elite” status several times, including 2017.
Out of all the reviews for food, hotels, and venues, I would say the most difficult to judge are the hotels or accommodations. Rooms in the same hotel can vary widely, depending on street or neighbor noise, and condition of the room. And value is also very subjective, since one person may have paid more, and another much less.
Bottom line, trust your instincts, add the review, and see where you end up. But always pick the better location, no matter what!!!!