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So what do we think about TripAdvisor?

Old Mar 6th, 2009, 11:25 AM
  #1  
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So what do we think about TripAdvisor?

I find it interesting that frequently the top rated hotels in TripAdvisor are not really mentioned much in these forums. Any theories as to why? Do you think some hotels artificially pump up their ratings? (Like companies who push their way to the top of Google searches, or authors who have everyone they know write good reviews on Amazon).

I DO read the reviews on TripAdvisor but tend to take them with a grain of salt.

What's the general feeling about TA as a resource for hotels?

Thanks,
Alice
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 11:33 AM
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I consult their ratings, especially for places about which I have little info. But I also compare with ratings on the booking sites, look here, etc. I think of them as primarily a hotel site, so I use them for that. Don't pay much attention to their ratings on restaurants, sights, etc. I especially like booking sites with lots of pix, like worldby.com, and booking.com.
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 11:34 AM
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I, too, take their ratings with a grain of salt. I don't believe they rating system works well as it doesn't take in consideration the number of ratings. I use it along with Fodor's, word-of-mouth rec's and other websites for a complete picture.

And I do think they have phantom postings from companies boosting their ratings.

I especially don't listen to the restaurant ratings. I go to Zagats for that.
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 11:38 AM
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I am a constant contributor to TripAdvisor. I make the same hotel recommendations here that I make there. There are many reliable contributors on both these forums. Whenever anyone suspects a hotel recommendation is not real we speak up. Earlier this year on TA we caught a hotelier trying to pull a fast one and as a group we made sure he was brought to the attention of other members as well as to the TA staff. I can't speak for other forums, but the Greece forum is very well-monitored on TA.
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 11:39 AM
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>> I find it interesting that frequently the top rated hotels in TripAdvisor are not really mentioned much in these forums. Any theories as to why?

Yes. Probably because TA's user base is much more broad than that of Fodors.

I usually cross-reference the reviews on TA with those on Fodors. If I find something not reviewed on Fodors, I'm likely to post a thread about it. What I really appreciate about TA is that you can find info on tons of different hotels in all kinds of regions, whereas Fodors forums usually cover the most obvious tourist destinations.

I also really pay attention to people's complaints on TA. Some people will give a bad review to a hotel because the breakfast didn't meet their approval, whereas I could care less about breakfast quality!
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 12:00 PM
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I use Trip Advisor frequently for hotel reviews, but I don't pay close attention to the overall rating (#___ in _______). I do look at what people have actually written (and you can usually ferret out the fakers that way), to see if 1) I care about what they care about, and 2) we have the same general sensibilities (for ex., someone who always stays at the Four Seasons will not likely like some of the hotels I like, but neither will someone who always stays at Motel 6).
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 12:01 PM
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I always use Tripadvisor, I think it is a great resource. It's the best one-stop shop for hotel reviews anywhere. I always review hotels when I stay in them to add to the database. I don't give a hoot about their "ratings" or even pay much attention to them. I have no idea how they come up with the number and don't really care. I read the reviews for the comments. I'm not the kind of person who wants to stay in some no. 1 hotel anyway, based on popularity, in fact, I tend to avoid those places.

What is a rating is completely different than the reviews which are content and written. I have never read any that I thought were totally fabricated, all of the ones I've read seemed sincere and were useful. I don't always agree with the authors' ideas or what is important to them, as my criteria or things of importance may be different, but any review is useful.

I really don't know which hotels are top rated on TA to cross-check them to Fodors and draw up spreadsheets as to which ones are popular there and are not mentioned here. Fodors is fairly narrow compared to TA in terms of users and hotels mentioned, I think.
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 12:24 PM
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I love Trip Advisor! Of course I think that the reviewers may have different ideas of the perfect hotel, I find that the site gives invaluable feedback re: hotels. As someone else said, I cross reference it with other things - Slow trav, Fodors, travel books, etc.

I think it's a great website.
Susan
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 12:40 PM
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Hi; I think Trip Advisor is a great resource. Booking.com venere.com are also good resources. I don't believe the TA reviews are rigged and related to Hotel's giving them. That's not realistic. There are just too many negative reviews not to believe the comments. But it's simple, you just have to make a judgement call after reading peoples comments. And it is one of the web sites I rely on. However, I don't always listen. If I had, we would not have been walking down 110 steps to our B&B in Lyon. Yes, we had to walk back up with our luggage. Our B&B owner did help. [Another 310 steps down to the city.] ENJOY iris1745/dick
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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I consult both tripadvisor and Fodors Forums when planning a trip. Until recently with the arrival of the "word of mouth" addition in the Fodors destination guides, I have found tripadvisor reviews generally more helpful. Once or twice I read suspect reviews of places I've been and didn't think much of, but that's rare. I also post frequently on tripadvisor, despite an experience when an obnoxious resort guest "recognized" his family in my review, and sent me quite a few bitter e-mails, but that's another story...
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 01:14 PM
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I think you have to read the evaluations carefully especially as to the poster's ability to rate the hotel. Some people expect everything to be five star and rate every hotel to the same standard.

For others it maybe a different sent of factors. For example -- I recently gave the Holiday Inn Express on Wabash in Chicago a very high rating. We used the hotel because it was the closest to our son's apartment. After we return I looked at the reviews. It received some average reviews because the rooms were too small (true) and the hall ways were narrow (also true) plus lack of some high end extras. The comments on their face were all true BUT the room was $94 in the middle of Michigan Ave and two blocks west. For $94/night it was terrific value. It was not a four star Hilton at $350/night. But as a budget hotel it was more than adequate and deserved IMO a high rating. Not in comparison to a Hilton but in comparison to what the hotel provide.

You need to look under the covers to see what is being evaluated and how. I have found all of their evaluations to be fairly accurate.
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 01:44 PM
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I always check the reviewer on TA, to see how much they have contributed. If the review that I am looking at is their only one, I tend to discount it.
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 02:09 PM
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How about the TA forums? There are any number of good "local experts" to provide up-to-date information, as well as many European contributors. The one problem is that a few people can be pretty territorial and downright nasty toward fellow contributors, but that's happened here too.
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 02:37 PM
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>> I find it interesting that frequently the top rated hotels in TripAdvisor are not really mentioned much in these forums.
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 03:16 PM
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Well, that generated a lot of thoughtful responses. But it seems that it's basically as I thought. TA is good as ONE of your sources of data. Don't pay too much attention to rankings, look at the comments (that's what I do).

I agree with traveller1959 about the lemming syndrome, similar to the Rick Steves syndome. There are a LOT of hotels out there, and unless you are ridiculously picky, if you do a little homework, you should be fine.

As for me, I like to concentrate on location (I like to be able to walk or get to public transport easily), I tend to like small hotels or B&Bs more than huge hotels, and I need a quiet place because I am BAD sleeper. Having breakfast available is a plus, but if I have a kitchenette I can do it myself. (I just don't like having to 'go out' for breakfast).

I don't need to stay in very expensive places, but I want to be comfortable. (I travel differently now than I did in college!). Using this forum, TA, various travel books, venere.com and other sites, I haven't been disappointed with any accommodations I've booked over the last five years - New Zealand, Provence, Northern Italy, Ireland...

The Internet has made such a difference - we all probably remember only having those few travel books to look through, no pictures, no feedback from other travelers.

Thanks for your thoughts - Alice
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 03:28 PM
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As for me, I like to concentrate on location (I like to be able to walk or get to public transport easily), I tend to like small hotels or B&Bs more than huge hotels, and I need a quiet place because I am BAD sleeper. Having breakfast available is a plus, but if I have a kitchenette I can do it myself. (I just don't like having to 'go out' for breakfast).

Alice, you know yourself (and better than anyone else knows you I'm sure)! For me, location is very important (like to be able to walk a few steps to a coffee house and public transit), I like big hotels better than small ones, I care very much about the comfort of the mattress and pillows, I don't particularly need quiet because I can sleep through almost anything (except the unloading of beer barrels at 6 a.m.!), and I never ever eat breakfast in the hotel I'm staying in. Luxury and service are not very important to me, but I do like something with nice decor and that doesn't look worn. We each have our own needs and desires. So, back to the original TA question, people say things that you have to "sort out" -- one person says the beds are really comfortable and the next says they're not. Well, what they really mean is "I love a firm mattress and it was perfect for me" whereas poster no. 2 means "I hate a firm mattress so the bed was really uncomfortable for me". Or someone says, "the rooms are beautiful". Well, what does that mean - they may like chintz and flowers, which I detest. As long as you know "how" to read the comments, TA is very useful IMHO.
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 03:35 PM
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I use TA and contribute quite a bit but since I tend to bid on Priceline or stay at smaller guesthouses I often don't make hotel suggestions here on Fodor's b/c my needs for a hotel are simple, I don't mind staying out of city center to save a little money etc.

While looking over the reviews on TA, I pay no attention to the ones where someone didn't like the clerk at the front desk. I can get along for 3 minutes with just about anyone.
I look the reviews where my basic needs will be met happily. I know what I should get for the price I'd prefer to pay.

Someone mentioned that they discount reviewers with only one review. I've contributed to TZ for many years but after I changed my email account not long ago, forgot my password at TA etc, I had to start over. So, my map is no longer marked, I look like a newbie. So, I read the people with only a couple of reviews.
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 03:36 PM
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Sometimes I use trip advisor for hotel and restaurant reviews.
I dont care for their forum layout so I dont hang there like I do here.
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 03:55 PM
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I like to check out the reviews on TA and I particularly like to see the Travelers' Photos of the hotels. I know that these traveler photos are mostly snapshots and not done by a professional photographer, like most photos on hotel websites. If there is a telephone pole or a parking lot in the view, most likely it will show in the snapshots.
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 03:59 PM
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traveller

You have seen much and generally give great advice, but there is a twinge of superiority in some of your posts that is "behaviour" that is, perhaps, worthy of "thinking about" as you put it.

Referring to Fodorites as "lemmings"?

In a recent post you were the first responder to someone who asked what the must-sees were in Europe. Now, I am one of many who finds posts that unfocused a bit disconcerting, but your answer began with;

Are you American?
Then must-dos are Paris, Normandy, Rome, Seville, Barcelona, Amalfi, Neuschwanstein, Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
This is the standard American standard European travelling programme.


Is opening with an insult based on nationality helpful?

You have clearly had the immense good fortune of travelling throughout Europe, and the world, extensively - some people's circumstances mean they might only be able to get over once. They may be packing a lifetime of expectation and dreams into that one trip and if it means that their memories are created and their dreams fulfilled by visiting London, Paris, Munich, Rome, and Venice in 10 days, then so be it.
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