What is the problem???


Jul 19th, 2004, 05:30 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
What is the problem???

In researching a desired trip to India and Sri Lanka, I have surprisingly found the Lonely Planet's Thorntree Forum to be so helpful. One of the things that seems to make it helpful is their allowance of tour operators/travel agents to post their addresses, thus encouraging their participation.

Really, with Sri Lanka, I am completely clueless, and I imagine many people visiting Africa for the first time are also clueless. Is it such a horrible thing to allow tour operators to join in on the discussion and post their address? I think not.

I have enjoyed seeing certain posters on this forum that are tour operators. This forum, in the 2.5 years that I have been visiting, has never been overrun with tour operators/travel agents spamming the board.

I have no idea if Fodors screens these boards personally, or if it takes a Fodorite to "narc" on the tour operators before they are banned from the forum. If other Fodorites are complaining about the presence of an occasional tour operator, I do believe this is childish, as this forum may very well benefit from the attention of a few tour operators expertise.

If nothing else, it may allow access to local tour operators instead of higher priced American or European tour operators. You know how many people still ask about Abercrombie & Kent, and who only have knowledge of the game lodges that make it into Conde Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure (or perhaps Tatlers if they are British)???

Release the shackles and allow tour operators to have some input on these boards. If it gets out of hand, the course may always be reversed.
Roccco is offline  
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Jul 20th, 2004, 12:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,182
Rocco, some of us have been trying to tell you that Thorntree can be a valuable source of information for years! Good to read you're finally seeing the light! Multiple sources of info are often best!

As for tour operator stuff being posted I disagree. On LPTT there are often ridiculous posts purporting to be from visitors recommending an agent and are obvious only because the language used is all too similar to that found on the tour operator's website. Because of this tendency most recommendations lose their value very quickly and are only worth something if you trust the poster.

If we're talking of agents who have a better command of English it would be even easier for them to mimic satisfied customers and post false customer recommendations on themselves.

Fodors doesn't allow advertising and I think that's absolutely right.

However it doesn't stop genuine posters from recommending agents/ guides/ companies that they have had good experiences with.

I have recommended the agent I used for my Africa trip more than once here and the post has not been deleted, probably because it's obvious I'm a genuine poster here and it's not about commercial interest.

I recommend my agent as I recommend a camp I like or a destination.

Are there no posters on the Asia board whose opinion you trust enough to ask for their agents' names and details?
Kavey is offline  
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Jul 20th, 2004, 01:43 AM
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Posts: 686
My experience of the Thorntree is confined mostly to the Africa and the "Get Stuffed" (food!) branches. But the rules are basically the same as Fodor's and my experience is that the intention is to apply them. This is however dependent on the efficiency of the particular branch moderator. And also how posters on a particular branch feel about advertisers, or how proactive they are in alerting the moderator to an advertiser.
ArthurSA is offline  
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Jul 20th, 2004, 06:52 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 32
I would NOT like to encourage the participation of commercial travel agents.

What makes so many of the Internet forums of all types valuable is that they are "consumer" generated. If I need a "commercial" I can probably find that website using a browser or guidebook.

Our media is already overun with disinformation is the form of "infomercials" and advertisements posing as news or solid research.


Sundance is offline  
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