50th Birthday Trip to Tasmania: Some questions

Jun 28th, 2008, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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oliverandharry: Word of WARNING It has come to the attention of some accommodation owners that other accommodation owners have found a way to get a whole lot of positive postings on TA - when I mention this, I am referring to the Cairns region in particular. Apparently there are people who will post lots of positive trip reports for a fee! Before you take too much notice of what is written on TA always ask on Fodors because you are getting feedback from people you know about and people who other people on fodors know about. TA say they have ways of sorting out real posts but if you look at some Cairns B&B accommodation, and in particular where a couple of places have got lots and lots of very similiar "styled " reports or a lot of reports in a short time then you have to ask - how did they do it. The answer from a computer tech. is that there are Asian places which will do them for you for a price - as many as you want and they use many different computers to do that so it cannot be traced.
LizzyF is offline  
Jun 28th, 2008, 04:39 PM
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I would be very wary about taking too much serious notice of any "advisor" site and frankly, that includes this one. Trip Advisor is full of reviews that are written by people with not a terrible lot to do. Personal gripes can get in the way of objective reviews and one little thing can set someone off to write an overall bad review when it is not really reflective of the establishment as a whole. You will sometimes find that consistent good recommendations or comments are the result of the author being friends with the owner of any given accommodation place, and Fodors is no exception to this practice either. It isn't against the law anyway I guess; it is a free country. The point I think is to take all of this advice with a grain of salt, helpful though it may be. One mans meat and all that.
For the record I don't know anything at all about Piermont Retreat to be honest, I am just speaking generally. I have seen Trip Advisor do a disservice to a few good establishments, but having said that I have seen that here too over time. The truth is, you can't please everyone and perhaps the best solution is to try it yourself.
Blackjack4 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2008, 05:02 PM
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Certainly all those points are well taken, and I personally would never take travel advice blindly unless it came from my best friend. However, it is foolish to disregard a review just because it is negative. I hope I'm enough of a discerning customer that if there are several negative reviews over the period of a year, say, and particularly if they concern points like cleanliness, location, or plumbing gone wrong, that I'd at least think about that. Yes, we all have dramatically different travel styles, but if you are paying nearly $300 US or AUD per night and coming 10,000 miles for the privilege of doing so, I would want to check more than just one reference, which was my point to the OP.
oliverandharry is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 01:54 AM
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Mt post was typed in haste and therefore came across completely different to the way it was intended. Of course, one shouldn't necessarily ignore a review just because it is negative - I just meant that one shouldn't pay too much heed to a review just because it is negative. Several reviews, even. There is often (not always) far more to the story. I was also adding on from LizzyF's comment about reviews on TA being suspect. But yes, certainly repeated negative comments about the same thing over a long period of time would deserve serious consideration, especially if it was something significant. I was really just pointing out that review sites (like this one, even) are simply people giving their opinion and it isn't always as objective as it may appear.
That said, it will be interesting to see if the reviews prove true or not
Blackjack4 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 09:43 PM
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Like "The Force" in Star Wars there is also a dark side to Trip Advisor reviews. More & more people are relying on TA reviews when deciding on where to stay & a growing number of accommodation providers, (especially B&Bs & smaller operators) are utilising the TA reviews as a vehicle for free marketing & advertising. And it's working.
TA differs to Fodors & other "review" sites as they have a ratings system which allows & promotes its abuse.
TA say that reviews must be "the unbiased opinions of real travellers" and that reviews cannot be fabricated or solicited. They also say that any false reviews will be discovered by TA & the perpetrators ratings will be penalised.
The TA system is wide open to abuse & many operators, looking for any advantage over their competitors are getting away with their dishonesty & are directly benefiting from it.
In many cases the honest operator is coming off second best as their reviews are not solicited or fabricated and because of this are penalised with a lower ranking.
It is a fact of life that you cannot please everyone all of the time. Not according to some establishments who have an extraordinary strike rate of 5 star reviews. Sometimes 50 or 60 without a miss! And not just for the overall traveler ranking but for the individual ratings for value, cleanliness, rooms, service etc. as well.
And the general, soon to be travelling public, are falling for it in their droves.
In my opinion due to the obvious abuse by accommodation houses TA has lost it's credibility as an honest source of travel related information and their motto, "Get the Truth Then Go" couldn't be further from just that, the truth!

Webboe is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 10:09 PM
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Webboe, I believe that the going rate for 20 x 5 Star reviews over a 6 - 12 month period is less than $100 via some of the Asian sites that do that sort of thing. Now if that means that the accommodation place has a 5 star rating from that ruse and its attracting most of the business I can see that it is well worth the investment in bogus reviews. When I originally made mention of this I was not bagging negative reviews or genuine positive reviews but reviews which do not have a forum, like this forum, where you can "talk" back and forth about a certain product - be it accommodation or meals etc. Most of the travellers who write on Fodors are savvy people but I myself have been duped by what I thought were genuine reviews when they obviously were not as the place concerned bore no similarity to what had been written about it i.e distance from the beach 50 yards when it was more like 500 yards, no overhead aircraft noise when in fact aircraft noise was extremely loud unless you were deaf, large tropical swimming pool when it was an above ground small swimming pool - and the list went on. I find Fodors much better because you can actually "ask" the writer to expand on what has been written and what other people's replies are as well. I think that the TA format is flawed in the extreme.
LizzyF is offline  
Jul 1st, 2008, 06:36 PM
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Lizzy, also find Fodors far easier to use than TA for responding in forums, but there must be plenty who don't feel that way. About 60 posts on TA's forum so far today for Australia, Fodors has 4 for Australia and 2 for NZ.

Webboe, do agree with your comments on TA's ranking system, which can be and often is most unfair. You only need one vindictive guest to pull overall ranking right down, was just looking at a B&B close to me near Cairns which has had exactly that happen.

To give a B&B (which I know well to be spotless) 2 out of 5 for cleanliness, is miserable and dishonest. In this case the guest was irate as he was mistakenly upgraded to a deluxe room for first night (at no extra charge) and infuriated when owner discovered error, apologised, and guest was asked to stay remaining time in the cheaper room he had originally booked. This guest also rated the B&B as 2 out of 5 for business service, when I know the B&B provides free wireless, guest phone and fax facilities - what else can a B&B provide for its guests?

shadowcat - sorry to hijack your post. You did ask for recommendation for Port Arthur, we've stayed at the quaint and historic Norfolk Bay Convict Station which is almost over the road from a wonderful restaurant, Mussel Boys. This restaurant rates highly in Australian good food guides.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jul 1st, 2008, 08:30 PM
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Well, since the thread has been hijacked already, I will weigh in. I do occasionally use Trip Advisor to look at reviews of a property, many times to check the location and pricing. However I find that I am relying on the reviews less and less. It is common knowledge that if one feels (and I do emphasize "feels") that there is something really wrong with a property, they are much more likely to write a negative review as they would be to write a positive review, if all was acceptable. I also discount many of the effusively positive reviews as I find them disingenuous.

The negative reviews that I read that states that the staff of a property were "gruff" or "indifferent" really baffles me. I use to travel extensively in the U.S. for business for about 7 years and have traveled internationally for pleasure quite a bit in the last 8 years or so, and I can only account for ONE time that I felt that the service in a hotel, motel, apartment or private room was less than acceptable. In fact, I find much the opposite. And I am NOT staying in the high end hotels. I believe that people who choose to be in the hospitality industry are there because they truly enjoy the interaction with guests and want to make their visits pleasant.

I do appreciate the reviews from posters here at Fodor's. It is easy to see the legitimate ones from posters that you see here all the time and you feel you can trust, as opposed to the random, one-time poster that is instantly suspect.

So, thank you, Pat, for the recommendation for Port Arthur, And, thank you Betsy, for your comments about the Piermont Resort (and I think there was another recommendation on this site for that place, too).

And, to tie it back to my original post, I am STILL looking for a recommendation for Bicheno!

shadowcat is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2008, 04:37 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Sorry about the unintended hijacking from here also. I have been watching and reading these forums for about 2 years and this is the first thread I have jumped in and answered. A genuine wish to be helpful can lead to lot's of thinking out loud!
I really love Tasmania which is why I wanted to add my 2 cents. I don't have a recommendation for Bicheno sorry, but if you don't find anything there, nearby Swansea has a wonderful place (Meredith House) which is probably not helpful as it isn't Bicheno but I am trying to keep my post on the right topic
Anyway, I will be interested to see what you end up with - I am sure it will be terrific.
Blackjack4 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2008, 08:15 AM
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Blackjack4, I just want to make sure that you know that I wasn't referring to you when I mentioned the "one time poster"! You have provided excellent input as to the sites to see (especially the gardens!) and restaurants in the Huon Valley and I really appreciate the information. You, along with LizzyF and Betsy, have helped me to reconsider my initial plans and I am looking forward to spending time in that area.

What I was referring to are the one time postings that I often see on Fodor's, where someone raves about a hotel or B&B without any other information and you just know that it is the owner, or friend of the owner, spamming the site.

I am pretty set on staying in Bicheno, since I do want to see the penguin tour and want to avoid driving too far at night.
shadowcat is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2008, 05:45 PM
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Thanks Shadowcat.
Not-so-objective reviews are one of those things I suppose. I have seen a place continually recommended at Fodors, and I knew the poster was a good friend of the owner. But then, the place in question was truthfully portrayed (it is as good as they said)so the line get's a little fuzzy perhaps. I saw here a while back someone describe a hotel owner as unfriendly and I was gobsmacked as I know the people and they are anything BUT. It just proves we are all going to have different experiences and that was really what I was getting at - It just took me multiple posts and paragraphs to say so!!
Bicheno - the only thing that comes to mind is Fleurs by the Sea I was long ago told is nice, but I have not heard anything of them for a while. It is a B&B and so if it follows the trend of mainland folks opening such establishments, they'd have burned out and gone home by now, but you may be lucky!
Best of luck with the plans.

Blackjack4 is offline  

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