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booking.com or tripadvisor for trustworth reviews?

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Mar 5th, 2011, 07:49 PM
  #1
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booking.com or tripadvisor for trustworth reviews?

trying to find a better hotel for our stay in london. it always gets me to trust either, tripadvisor, or booking.com in terms of reviews and ratings?

are personal reviews worth more to travelers than star ratings? are star ratings even worthwhile to look at when traveling abroad?
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Mar 5th, 2011, 07:58 PM
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It's really difficult to say, but I would rely more on booking.com than TA hotel reviews, but given everything we've experienced over the years, professional reviews are far better than traveler's reviews. Traveler's reviews tend to be more subjective, while professional reviews are based on a set of criteria for the property in question, which is why, at one point in time, the most popular restaurant in New York City was a hot dog stand.

Star rating in most cases have a purpose, but not always, especially when dealing with hotels rated 3-star or under.
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Mar 5th, 2011, 09:02 PM
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I think the star rating represents the degree of services and facilities available. Whether the star ratings are relevant or not depends on what you need and whether they are important to you. If a 24hr front desk availability is important to you, then that rating has a merit. It says nothing about the quality of that service. I have stayed at places with minimum front desk support, yet those were some of the places I had the fondest memories connecting with the inn keepers.

In reading reviews, I think about how much value the writer placed on the subject, whether that value is relevant to me, as well as if the review was planted by someone with commercial interests. It is difficult to describe, but some establishments have reviews that feel tasteless and phony. And they often contain many such tasteless reviews.
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Mar 6th, 2011, 04:08 PM
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Greg is correct, the star ratings reflect the services and facilities available at the hotel, **not the quality of them.** This is a really important distinction. Presumably a hotel that has a zillion amenities is also a high-quality one, but technically the number of stars tells you nothing about the service or cleanliness or whathaveyou.

W/r/t Booking.com versus Tripadvisor ... there is a thread somewhere recently about fake reviews on Tripadvisor. People have all sorts of ways they claim they can tell it's fake, or that they use to weed out "useable" reviews or not. I will say that Tripadvisor allows anyone with an account to post a review about any establishment, whereas Booking.com e-mails the link to post a review directly to the person who booked the room after the stay. I suppose a hotel could game that system by fake-booking rooms, but that seems a lot more complicated than TA, which as I said lets anybody write a review on anything.
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Mar 6th, 2011, 05:53 PM
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I just checked out booking.com. I think it's useful for bigger hotels in cities, but it didn't find some of the smaller places we've stayed which were very nice. Nor is it great for apartments, but I don't yet trust Tripadvisor on self-catering accommodations either.
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Mar 6th, 2011, 06:35 PM
  #6
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ahh. thanks for that insight nina. so when you book, for such, what do you use to evaluate on booking.com? the star rating, the user review rating?

mimar, any recommendations for london?
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Mar 7th, 2011, 08:17 AM
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Well, the last few times in London we rented apartments. But a couple of years ago we stayed at The Academy. It's in Bloomsbury, convenient to many sights, has a little garden in the back. I would recommend it highly. But you haven't told us your budget.
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Mar 7th, 2011, 08:59 AM
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I'm not sure I agree 100% about the implied "superiority" of "professional" reviewers since their outlook and sensibitities can be just as skewed as those of individual travelers.

I think you need to read between the lines of both.
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Mar 7th, 2011, 09:12 AM
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booking.com is a booking site - therefore there is a good possibility that they have an incentive to publish more of the 'good' reviews. They want you to like the hotels they list so you will book them.

Trip Advisor is not a booking site - if you find a hotel on that site it will send you to another site to book - such as booking .com or venere, etc. Or you can contact the hotel directly. Therefore I trust their reviews.

When reading reviews you need to read many and then go with the majority. One or two people will tend to love or hate a hotel but if the majority find it good that tells you something. I do not put stock in the the star ratings, or in the case of TA the number ratings but rather read the individual reviews.

Over many, many hotels booked on line in the last decade I have almost always found TA reviews (the majority that is) to be extremely accurate. Plus they often give you extra info not found on the hotels website or on booking sites.
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Mar 7th, 2011, 09:26 AM
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I just read a review of a hotel (on TA) and here is what one traveler said:

pissed off because the hotel haqs a shuttle to the nearby cruise port but doesn't pick passengers UP there; only dropsw them off. The reviewer's comment: "You'd think they could do that..."

Well, they DON'T

Even more angry about "...having to pay close attention when using the narrow ramp into the secured parking area."

Yeah, they're real objective, for sure.
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Mar 7th, 2011, 01:52 PM
  #11
 
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@ grey - I usually ignore the star rating on almost all sites. I try to read the descriptions carefully (including the hotel's own website) and see if it lists the particular amenities I want. I then read the reviews from both booking.com and TripAdvisor to see if there's any mention of a discrepancy of the amenities (e.g., hotel says they have wireless but reviews say it wasn't working, or extra charge or something). I guess I do a "gymnastics judge" view, discounting the lowest and highest rated reviews, and just assume the middle is what's close to accurate.

So my process goes something like this:
(1) go to booking.com, put in location + dates, filter by price I want to pay (etc), find 3-4 hotels to investigate further
(2) go to TripAdvisor and read reviews for those 3-4 hotels, narrow to 1-2
(3) go to Fodor's and Frommer's, do search for those 1-2 hotels, narrow to 1
(4) go to that hotel's website, confirm that I like it, also check whether price is better than on booking.com
(5) book either at hotel site or back on booking.com

Sounds a little convoluted, but it's worked for me.

Unfortunately, no suggestions for London. Everytime I've been, it's been on a budget

@ isabel - The distinction you make re: booking.com vs TA makes sense, but I'm not sure if booking.com censors bad reviews. I've definitely seen some very bad ones (think 3 out of 10). And they always seem to be in chronological order of date of stay (as opposed to "popular" reviews up top). But i have no idea what their policy is, so I wouldn't put it past any site to only show their best face
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Mar 7th, 2011, 05:11 PM
  #12
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thanks everyone. budget is around 120-150 a nite. currently we have booked the http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...n_England.html
53% do not recommend
sounds horrible, but booking.com has # of reviews, 1200ish and 7.2 rating so i'm like, am i booking the nightmare or what?
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Mar 7th, 2011, 06:44 PM
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I use tripadvisor, mainly because I like to read extensive reviews about the hotel, not just 7/10 reviews. One thing I do when using tripadvisor, is I make sure whoever wrote the review has written more than one review. I usually look for over 10 reviews. I also look for complaints that keep reoccuring like bad location or it's dirty.

The one you chose seems to have several reviews that mention small rooms so if that is an issue to you you might have a problem.
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Mar 7th, 2011, 07:42 PM
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I wouldn't be optimistic about your selection. 7.2 is not that great a score, and trip advisor's reviews are uninspiring to say the least. I personally wouldn't book any hotel would those kind of reviews, on the other hand, apparently lots of folks did find their stay acceptable, so maybe it will be ok.

Generally my hotel selection process resembles Nina's. When it comes to evaluating reviews, I would emphasize the importance of reading the reviews and comparing the complaints to your needs. In particular, I make a point of reading all the negative reviews. I don't usually go through all the positive reviews, but I will skim some of them looking for patterns that would make me question the truthfulness of the reviews. Reviews that just say things like, "Hotel S/M was perfect in every way, the owner's should be nominated for a Nobel Prize" and don't provide any details are intrinsically suspicious. One or two can be ignored, but if a lot of the positive reviews are like this...
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Mar 7th, 2011, 07:59 PM
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I always read the bad reviews too. Sometimes you can tell that the reviewer just had unrealistic expectations and other times there are legitimate complaints. I am currently looking at hotels on the CA central coast and one bad review for a place complained that the hotel wasn't on the beach, but across the street. Really? The map shows it is across the street from the beach - duh.
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Mar 8th, 2011, 03:22 AM
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I follow almost to the letter, the same process that ninasearching does. Just did it yesterday for hotels in Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Cesky Krumlov (unfortunately booked up at the time I want to be there with a Placido Domingo concert), and Karlovy Vary. Has usually worked pretty well for me.

I am amazed by the number of Brits whose sole complaint about almost all hotels is "no kettle in the room."
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Mar 8th, 2011, 04:32 AM
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www.booking.com has the

best honest reviews of recent stays

now owned by Priceline.

TripAdvisor is a for profit ad site owned by expedia

pretending to be a user generated site

Was a destination expert there for years in the past

until expedia took it over and ruined it.

There are secret forums and many fake reviews

Owners that pay are allowed to censor their own reviews

and grequently post fake reviews.

Even worse mods allow for profit agency owners who pay

to scam clueless newbies as "Destination Experts"

So beware there I have seen folks scammed out of thousands

particularly on Galapagos cruises over there.

So www.booking.com the far better site/info truly for me.
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Mar 8th, 2011, 04:34 AM
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In London get best deals bidding Priceline

www.betterbidding.com

For me last Tower Hotel on the Thames perfect location

$80/nt bidding Priceline.
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Mar 8th, 2011, 05:25 AM
  #19
 
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I don't intend to sound nasty, but why not read both, look at what the complaints are based on and use your own judgement? I hope you don't vote based on what the editorial pages tell you.
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Mar 8th, 2011, 06:37 AM
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TripAdvisor can be used by anyone. You can even write reviews for your own hotel, *BUT* the establishment does have the right to reply.

Booking.com reviews are written by people who have stayed at the establishment AND have taken the trouble to reply to the email from booking.com asking for input. The establishment can NOT respond however outrageous the statements are.

You need to read both and try and read between the lines.

Roger
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