Why Do People Bother With Tripadvisor?

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Mar 9th, 2014, 04:51 AM
  #1
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Why Do People Bother With Tripadvisor?

The site is such a joke. Mixing ratings by 20 year old backpackers, middle class insurance salesmen from Dubuque with sophisticated, wealthy older travelers average out to meaningless numbers.

I just checked their ratings on where I live, which is a 3rd tier tourist destination, and a few paces where I used to live. The ratings were laughable. The top rated restaurants were half places that I never heard of and few if any were places that a local would consider a top restaurant in town. Out of the top 10, maybe 1 or 2 might make some local person's list.

On things to do, it's really laughable. Locals would bother with few if any items. Raters would putting things like those Dinner Theaters in the top 10. dinner theater. Even in big tourist cities, the ratings make no sense. Look at Venice, for example. Something called Interpreti Veneziani ranks #1. Huh? St Mark's is #10? Any rational individual would have it as #1. Meanwhile Musica A Palazzo is #3?

In sum, Tripadvisor just doesn't work. Numbers can't capture a placeThe whole thing is based on self selection. A small group with a special interest rate something high so it comes out on top. Or 20 years old think its just great and make it tops. Everyone else would find it dull.

Still, there are people who love to count and think that a the #4 place in Rome must be better than the #8 place. The numbers make life simple because now there is no need to think. Just follow the rail of breadcrumbs. I'd rather just read the free flowing type of discussion on Fodors. It's not as simple as counting numbers, but then planning a trip isn't simple
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Mar 9th, 2014, 06:44 AM
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I use tripadvisor almost exclusively for hotels. And I don't just use the numbers. I start by discarding anywhere with multiple "one-post" raters. Then I actually READ the reviews. It is easy enough to discard those whose tastes don't match mine. I also take into account the location - you need to be a lot more cautious looking for a hotel in Morocco than for one in Paris. Then I cross-reference with sites like booking.com and venere.com.

I have had a few misses with TA, but also quite a few hits. If I want a restaurant I consult yelp, chowhound and guidebooks. And look around on the ground.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 11:50 PM
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You missed out the vast number of fake reviews, good and bad!

I tend to agree with you on the statistical methodologies TA employ, they could hardly be more basic and, as a result the Rankings do little to reflect the reality. like Thursdaysd, I discount all the one post wonders and read the reviews from more regular contributors. Even then, some tend to post the same stuff time and time again. The forums tend to be a better place to gain information and are similar in a number of respects to Fodors forums
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Mar 10th, 2014, 04:15 AM
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Trip Advisor amuses me because of the reasons people will give something a poor rating. For example, someone gave a castle a low rating because it rained that day.
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Mar 10th, 2014, 07:37 AM
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There was a person on TA that complained that the portions were too small at a tapas bar. Besides, the misleading reviews, 60% of the crowd there find Rick Steves too complicated.

For reviews of hotels, I take a look at both Expedia and Booking and then read between the lines.
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Mar 10th, 2014, 08:49 AM
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I ***LOVE*** Trip Advisor, but I only use the Destination Forums section. It is a completely different part of the website than what people here are complaining about.

There is typically much more specific information posted once you get to the forum for where you are headed. Plus there is a PM feature so you can write other posters off-line for further details, clarification, or to chat.

I never/rarely bother with "reviews" (except to post one myself now and then).
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Mar 11th, 2014, 06:09 AM
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I agree with Suze. I find the destination forums to be VERY helpful on TA. I never look at the rating numbers, I just read the information people post.
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Mar 11th, 2014, 07:52 AM
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I like that you can ask questions (even in the reviews section). You can PM any poster and chat more about what they have posted. I often get PM's even from reviews I put up years ago for hotels I like/stayed at.

If you ask a question here (on Fodor's) I'll use Puerto Vallarta Mexico as my example, there are maybe 6 people total who will reply. Over on TA there's probably 100 active participants on that forum discussing various hotels, restaurants, activities, cultural perspectives.
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Mar 11th, 2014, 08:31 AM
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I use TA as thursdaysd describes. It's one source of information, not my only one, and yes, the numerical ratings tend to be useless.

The question of how to get to the places locals frequent is an interesting one. For one thing, locals don't usually know much about hotels beyond their location and, maybe, their bar or restaurant. OTOH, locals' input on activities/attractions/restaurants, that kind of thing, would be very useful indeed--which is what FourSquare aims to collect.

Locals also tend to avoid "touristy" areas where they live, like Times Square, or Clearwater Beach during Spring Break, and may not know the ins and outs of things like where to stage your possessions when taking a White House tour. The subtleties of this kind of thing can never be captured with a numeric rating.
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Mar 11th, 2014, 09:23 AM
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Yes, there are a lot of fake reviews too.
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Mar 11th, 2014, 11:42 AM
  #11
 
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And they are very easy to spot.
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Mar 12th, 2014, 02:36 AM
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I've been banned from TA 3 times (LancasterLad).
I always posted first hand detailed,honest stuff, and believe firmly in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Unfortunately there are some folk on TA who won't have a bad word said about their little piece of Utopia.
There are many excellent Destination Experts, but there's a fair few who are pretty much clueless, yet high and mighty. And in any case I'd prefer to see the title to be Destination Enthusiast.
And with some DE's, I wish they'd realise that there are many, many TA members who've been asked to be a DE, but have turned down the position.
Cliques and Bullies also abound. Take them on, and you won't last long on TA.
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Mar 12th, 2014, 08:15 AM
  #13
 
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When looking for rooms, I'll use other sights like Booking.com. And then I'll look at TripAdvisor to see what has been said about that specific hotel. It often helps me make a better informed decision.

And I often discount what's been said on the internet on every subject.
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Mar 12th, 2014, 08:24 AM
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That'd be me

I love your idea for "destination enthusiasts"... much more accurate in most cases.

The dynamics of the various forums vary greatly. I'm on some that are friendly, some that are clique-ish, some that are just boring -ha!
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Mar 12th, 2014, 04:49 PM
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I love the TA forums! People have been very nice and very helpful with some of my trips. Here, there might be one or two posts about Antarctica in a year (if you can even find them as there really is no good place) while on TA there is a specific Antarctica forum that is very popular and extremely helpful.

The hotel reviews are nice. I don't just look at the numbers, but at what people are saying. If many people are complaining about one thing in particular, then that's probably a good indicator that the hotel has a problem with that.
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Mar 15th, 2014, 01:36 PM
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Reviews on TA can be questionable at best as there are no controls on who can post, nor any checking to see if the review is in fact reality. We recently booked accommodations at a highly rated B&B in Vejer which turned out to be nothing more than renting a room in a family home. None of the services listed on their web page or in TA reviews were offered, including breakfast.

The property had been highly rated several years ago, but had changed dramatically since the crises hit in 2008 and has gone downhill since then. Since TA doesn't do any followup of it's listings, it tends to be worthless.
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Mar 16th, 2014, 06:27 AM
  #17
 
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I really like TripAdvisor. You'll get plenty of reviews from a breadth of audiences.

I know that my faves are quite different from, say a 20 year old backpacker, but when you dig a bit deeper and actually read the reviews, its not that hard to filter out those that are more suitable for the youngs, oldies, or 40-somethings (like me).
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Mar 16th, 2014, 06:57 AM
  #18
 
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"The property had been highly rated several years ago, but had changed dramatically since the crises hit in 2008 and has gone downhill since then."

It does help to look at the dates on the reviews.
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Mar 17th, 2014, 09:25 AM
  #19
 
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Exactly the same as the information you'd get here on the Fodor's forums.
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Mar 17th, 2014, 10:25 AM
  #20
 
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"The dynamics of the various forums vary greatly. I'm on some that are friendly, some that are clique-ish, some that are just boring" also a lot like the Fodors forums..
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