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formernewyorker May 13th, 2007 11:45 AM

How does one decide when there are so many good/negative reviews for SAME hotel!??
I am going nuts LOL trying to decide hotels............Everytime I read about a hotel I see MIXED reviews on almost all of them!!...
What suggestions do you all have?

tekwriter May 13th, 2007 12:09 PM

My approach is to check out as many sources as possible and try to keep score - are there drastically more on one side or the other? On Trip Advisor (and here too), I also check out the reviewer - if they've only posted this one negative review, I don't give their review as much weight. What are they complaining about? A bad interaction with one staff member, or a problem with one room, or overall bad attitude or dirty facilities?

Remember that most people do focus on the negative in general - people will be quick to voice complaints, but not so quick to declare positive or neutral experiences.

Even if you find a hotel with nothing but perfect reviews, that doesn't guarantee that your experience will be perfect. Life's a crap shoot; you just have to play the odds the best you can.

janisj May 13th, 2007 12:11 PM

I suppose you mean Trip Advisor. I personally don't rely on it except for very basic info. Just tooo easy to manipulate - owners posting glowing reviews, someone w/ a bone to pick posting overly negative, etc.

Plus one person's "Totally unacceptable" might be just a minor irritation to someone else.

mms May 13th, 2007 12:14 PM

I like to read other things written by each reviewer. That way I know if they are picky or not, or if they are a one time poster, etc. On Trip Advisor, besides reading the reviews, do a search on the forum for the hotel and read those comments as well.

aliceinwonderland May 13th, 2007 12:17 PM

You decide by trusting your intuition and good sense, something that many of us did before being cursed with the glut of information that we have to suffer through today thanks to the internet.

hulajake May 13th, 2007 12:20 PM

I try to look for the ones that sound like what I would look for in a hotel. You can research the person posting or just ask for specfics on some remarks they made. Many people have different tastes in hotels, restaurants and locales. Probably the one thing that everyone would agree on is if the place is clean.

aileen679 May 13th, 2007 12:27 PM

Ignore the negative review at first and then look at the raves carefully. Do they tend to have the same sort of write up? Ignore those that sound very similar. They are probably written by an employee. We had one hotel that had enough rave reviews that it was listed as #1 for a short while. Everyone of those raves mentioned that the room had a 42in plasma TV. Is it logical that everyone coming to a tourist mecca would be impressed by the type of TV in the room?

I would ignore any complaint that was centered around a member of the staff. Sometimes someone is having a bad day and the poster's complaints are just the last straw.

I would pay VERY close attention to anything like hair or mold in the shower. Anything that would indicate poor housekeeping would be a strike against that particular place.

toedtoes May 13th, 2007 12:48 PM

I take them all with a grain of salt (sometimes the whole salt shaker worth).

I also consider if the complaint relates to what I find important. If someone complains about the promptness of room service, I ignore it - I don't do room service so it's a moot point. if someone complains about shower going cold after 2 minutes, I pay attention - I like longer showers.

I also have a good idea of how much I can deal with at the price I'm willing to pay. I don't expect an $80/night room to be at the same standard as a $200/night room, and I toss out complaints from people who do make that comparison.

CaliNurse May 13th, 2007 12:52 PM

Excellent question. I've been in hotels i loved that had such negative reviews, i wondered if i was in the same place; booked hotels based on glowing reviews that were such dumps i wondered later what the reviewers had been smoking....and then, great hotels that i would never have heard of had it not been for reading about them here, on TA, or other review sites.

I agree with tekwriter: look at a variety of sources. With the often high price of hotels, if you're someone who considers your hotel, condo, or rental cottage more than just a place to sleep and dump your luggage, it 's smart to do some research, to try and get the nicest possible place.

If you find yourself in a bad situation with your choice (if you're not using Priceline or Hotwire, where you're locked in to your choice once it's charged) use a credit card charge, and let the hotel know you will contest the bill if they don't improve whatever is wrong with your room.

shaz60 May 13th, 2007 01:03 PM

I also look at what they are complaining about. Pool too cold, restaurant service slow, etc. I ignore anything that I don't think is a legit complaint at the price I am paying. If I was paying top dollar at a 4 star hotel, I would expect more. However, I have stayed at places that complained about noise and kids when I was bringing kids and have stayed at places that had loud lounge music when it was just hubby and I. Just don't stay at places that have review after review talking about filth, bad beds, smell, etc.

Andrew May 13th, 2007 02:42 PM

I think Trip Advisor is an excellent source of hotel feedback. Not that I take all of the reviews seriously. Some of them are easy to dismiss: usually the most negative and the most positive. The best reviews are the ones where the reviewer has both good and bad things to say about a place, because no hotel is perfect. If the reviewer seems unreasonable, like blaming the hotel for bad weather or a very human mistake, I ignore the review. Once you learn to filter, you can glean a lot from the reviews.

Last December I used Trip Advisor to pick a cheap hotel in Waikiki. Some of the reviews were not very positive, but I got what they were saying, and the hotel was better than I expected. Without Trip Adivisor reviews, I would have never even considered the place.

formernewyorker May 13th, 2007 03:59 PM

THANK YOU ALL for responding!!!!!!!
I appreciate all of your responses!!!
I definitely look for the clean/dirty reviews lol.......a few of the really nice places had some bad reviews-actually one for the Ritz...and said there was a cockroach in the room!! Probably a disgruntled employee........

I will definitely take your suggestions and go with the advice you all gave!! I appreciate it!

easytraveler May 13th, 2007 04:12 PM

There are all sorts of places to go nowadays for hotel reviews.

I tend to use the ones on Tripadvisor, Biddingfortravel (probably the most objective), Mytravelguide, Yahoo, and Travelocity the most.

Cleanliness and little noise are the things that matter the most to me. The better hotels always have great/good mattresses, while the cheaper ones tend to have hard/crummy mattresses. Mattresses is another thing I look for - because I'm going to the hotel to SLEEP. Safety of the neighborhood is always critical.

I've had only a couple of surprise bad experiences (I'll never forget the hotel in Omaha that was listed and #1 on Tripadvisor and turned out to be worse than a dog - obviously the good reviews were all written by hotel employees!). Most of the time the hotel turns out exactly as described or is a pleasant surprise.

The more research you do the less likely that your hotel is going to turn out to be a nasty surprise.

nytraveler May 13th, 2007 04:29 PM

You need to read betwen the lines. And judge the reviewers. some people have unrealistic expectations, or complain about things (tired drapes) that to me are immaterial. And complaints about bad staff attitude is to me often more telling about the reviewer (wants everyone to kowtow) than the staff.

On the other hand - if you see more than one or two complaints about dirt or poor housekeeping I wolud be concerned.

And you have to be realistic about what you're expecting versus what you're willing to pay. (I;ve seen reviews of hotels in NYC that complained the hotels weren't luxe enough - when they were obviously very basic - but the reviewer expectd way too much based on misunderstanding of local prices.)

Thomas6 May 14th, 2007 07:09 AM

Lots of people have posted about Tripadvisor, and the need to take reviews with a grain of salt. I just have to echo that sentiment with a true story - an employee of mine (I own a B&B) went to Michigan with her parents for a summer and worked at a well-known resort there. The employees were specifically told to monitor TripAdvisor and enter positive reviews from their own personal emails after a negative review was posted. At the time, she didn't really understand the whole TripAdvisor thing, but when she returned her I explained it to her, and showed her how the reviews make a difference. She then reported the activity directly to TripAdvisor.
This obviously doesn't happen with every review, but you do need to be aware that it happens with some.

Dukey May 14th, 2007 07:19 AM

The idea that an establishment would ask employees to enter a "positive" review to counteract a "negative" review is interesting.

However, if an establishment gets few, if any, negative reviews in the first place does that mean I should assume they are all phoney?

Recently there was a post abouwhere to stay on Lake Como.

Two posters almost immediately, and very enthusiastically mentioned one particular establishment with words like, "without question."

The TA reviews of this place are mixed at best and some are just plain "bad."

Who to trust? You tell me.

happytrailstoyou May 14th, 2007 07:34 AM

It depends on what the negative statements are.

"Dirty carpets," "dreary location," "tiny room," are examples of statements I heed.

When I read "rude desk staff" I look for contradictory comments.

I ignore complaints about a reservation not being honored, because I take great care to bring copies of my reservations and have never had such a problem.

One big problem with TripAdviser is that in some locations the hotels with the most favorable ratings are inexpensive, family-oriented motels located near a beach or other attraction and this isn't what I look for in a hotel.

formernewyorker May 14th, 2007 09:35 AM

so true!
As someone said it's a crap shoot!!!

Again, I can rule out the cheesy hotels as I wouldn't go to them but if I see a bad review about a good resort..I start to think twice but then come back and see glowing reviews later on............It is so hard to pick the right one!!!!!!!
I think I will stick with JW Marriott/Grande Vista/Ritz/and a few more in mind...........I will keep reading !
thanks for SO many responses! Keep em coming!

granniem May 14th, 2007 10:03 AM

I read one review that said there was an iguana in the room. This was in Lauderdale by the sea. My son lives in Florida and his wife is VERY clean had an iguana come in the doggie door. It's tropical for goodness sake. Ya haveta look at this kind of review.

LLindaC May 14th, 2007 10:07 AM

I frequently post on TA and am most interested when someone comments on how a bad situation was handled, and reading managers' responses. There is a top rated "resort" in Calistoga CA that gets all these glowing chamber of commerce reviews from mainly one-time posters. I saw the place and it looked very plain/dumpy to me, certainly not worth the reviews. If you looked elsewhere, you found lukewarm reviews. I wrote to one of the posters who gave it an "honest" review and he said the place puts cards in rooms, tells guests to review, then enters the review in a raffle to win 2 free nights. Think anyone will post something negative? Since I raised the flag, the reviews have slowed down quite a bit, hmmmm

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