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A Quick Note about Tripadvisor

It’s not airline related, but I’ve been reading a decent amount of Tripadvisor stuff recently, and I’ve been shocked by how a site has gone from incredibly useful, to so full of nonsense that it’s almost a parody of itself.  Reviews for many hotels are filled the most minuscule complaints about everything.  Note the second review on this page about the Raffles Canouan, a world-class resort tucked away on a speck of an island in the Caribbean: “Worst Internet ever…This basically ruined our trip.”  OK.  He later notes that there were mosquitos.

I also enjoy the reviews of remote resorts in Costa Rica that bemoan the lack of cell service.  And every front desk is rude (I used the incredibly lazy journalist tack of typing “rude” “tripadvisor” into Google and there are 639,000 page results.)  600,000 reviews said people were rude at a hotel.

Where once Tripadvisor was a welcome and useful alternative to guidebooks, it has become the world’s largest forum for whiners, complainers, and people who never should have left their homes.

I’m not sure why this all bothers me so much, but I think that given the opportunity to complain about travel, people will complain about travel.  Look – stuff goes wrong in a hotel once in a while.  Fine.  But is any Marriott resort “terrible”?  (Apparently so, as there are 229,000 results for “marriott” “resort” “terrible” in Google).  Really?  Terrible?  Get over it.  Stay home.

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12 Comments.

  1. Whilst I agree with the sentiment, the numbers are misleading. 229,000 results for “marriott” “resort” “terrible” in Google does not mean that many people said Marriott resorts were terrible. Search engines don’t work like that. Tripadvisor is still pooh, though!

  2. I know – as I said in the post, I hate that lazy journalist tool of sticking stuff in Google and reporting the results. But still…

  3. Jared; Unfortunately I have to agree with you. I was a frequent contributor to and user of Tripadvisor for all my hotel stays and plans. Unfortunately, I also saw this trend towards petty whining, especially disconcerting when the traveler himself was often in the wrong (examples; requesting bedding that is clearly stated as a “request” but the traveler felt was a rock-solid guarantee or checking in to a small inn after midnight when the web site clearly stated they close at 11 p.m.(yet accomodated him anyway.) I still think the site is beneficial, especially when you find universally positive reviews. But it’s not what it once was. If anyone else has a suggested site that offers valid critiques, please share!

  4. That’s why it’s important for a website to let its users vote on user comments (thumbs up or down) and then let visitors choose which comments are universally (threshold) thought of as constructive and not a one-time issue that nobody cares about (stuff happens). That way, people can weed out the junk from the useful stuff (where to park for cheap [other than hotel], stuff nearby, kid friendly, tips, etc.).
    Pierre

  5. I post on TA’s travel forum. I have been doing it for awhile and I have over 3,500 posts. To give you an idea of what types of things they post, there is currently a topic, “Air France – domestic flights, do they serve peanuts?”.

    Give me a break.

    Also, whenever someone starts putting up some intelligent, interesting stuff, it seems to bring out the jealousy of some of the senior posters on the sites. Then you get a lot of sniping and insulting comments.

  6. As sad as I am to see TA deteriorate, I’m glad to see I’m not the only person who is upset by what’s going on over there.

    That said, I love “Air France – domestic flights…do they serve peanuts?”

  7. Yeah, in some ways, I think it’s kinda cool that someone can now google and figure out if they server peanuts on air France domestic flights. Maybe this could be useful for travellers with food allergies. Or someone who does a PHD on peanuts, who knows, ehehehe ;-) But it’s cool that our collective knoledge, even the minor details can now be googled. Believe me, I’ve googled for strange things that I was sure I would never find (and then found it). But yeah, like I said, we need to rate the information and vote+tag for which parts we trust and which we don’t. So that when we search on google or tripadvisors, we can choose to see ALL or only the non-controversial (trust/thumbs-up > 90%) or some other level (ex: trust/thumbs-up > n%) . Now, I’m not sure hwo we could rate the air france peanuts thing, I guess we could trust that the info is correct but maybe not find that useful (but I guess we just don’t google for peanuts if we don’t want to see that info?). Tough problem.

  8. Being a hotelier I can give you some insight on how TA are with people in the “Trade”, we have a 90% excellent review record on TA, however I would rather not be associated with them at all but they refuse to allow any removal of any establishment.
    There is a group now sending excellent reviews for a hotel in the States, the reviews are 100% excellent but the hotel has been shut for years, so far there are 450+ reviews for this non existent hotel, virtually all of the reviews are from “Guests” that have only ever left 1 review and that is for this hotel (That no longer exists), what they are trying to achieve is to prove to everyone how easy it is to leave a fake review, and believe me it is easy!! and the daft thing is that TA have not got a clue!
    TA will basically let a “Guest” say what they want about any establishment, however this is hugely flawed, firstly there is no proof that this “Guest” ever stayed, visited or had any contact with the establishment, (fake reviews good and bad are commonplace).
    Secondly TA do not allow a hotel to have enough of a say in the “Management response” to defend themselves because although there are no restrictions on what a guest can say a hotelier really cannot defend themselves at all.
    I recently had a couple try to blackmail me by using TA as a weapon, I recorded the whole conversation on CCTV, I refused to pay the money to these guests and needless to say they left bad feedback on TA, I contacted TA and explained that they had tried to blackmail me and that I had a copy of the CCTV, they asked me to send it to them but still refuse to remove the review, I am now trying to get the media involved to expose this shoddy company for what they are….a disgrace.

  9. The Trip Advisor website is like spam. It keeps imposing itself on me despite my many attempts to remove myself from his subscription list. I find the reviews a waste of my time as they are bias as I find them written out of spite without the ability of the hotel or resort to state its stand unless it PAYS Trip Advisor a subscription rate. This to me is one sided.

  10. LOVE THIS.. it is exactly what it is now a bumch of whiney needy people wanting to complain about something!!

  11. I don’t trust a word that is said on tripadvisor.com anymore. I went on a trip to a hotel based on TA’s reviews. It turned out to be a terrible hotel. When I came back, I put my review on TA for others to see and not to make my mistake. Even though I am a verified user on tripadvisor, they removed my comments after 1-2 days. I tried to contact them to see why and there was no reply. I guess their commercial relation with the hotel is more important to them than an honest review by someone like me.

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