Hotel Reviews Online – How To Make Sense of Them
Online hotel reviews can be valuable resources when searching for a good vacation experience. It’s natural to want to check out which hotel or other lodging experience may be right for you and/or your group. It’s also natural to go straight to the internet to do your checking.
There are several things to keep in mind when viewing online hotel reviews.
You should definitely check out more than one source. Don’t rely solely on the review section of the hotel’s own website. Of course you should visit that page, to get a feel for some of the positive features of the hotel, but you will never find any of the negatives (if there are any) about the hotel on their own site.
That’s why other online hotel review sites exist. They are not controlled by the hotel, and you can generally get a more well-rounded impression of how most guests feel about the hotel.
If you Google the name of the hotel, you will surely be presented with some of the review sites. The most obvious one should be the Google Places site. That should be near the top of the Google results page, with a small “pushpin” icon and some stars next to it. It may also say the number of Google reviews the hotel has. The more reviews, the more reliable the information will generally be.
Click next to the stars, where it says “X number of Google reviews” and you will be taken directly to the hotel’s Google Places page, where you can read the reviews.
Besides Google, here are some other hotel review sites. Make sure you check out a bunch of them use their search boxes to see if the hotel you are considering is listed with them.
Also, don’t forget to check the local Chamber of Commerce site for the city the hotel is in.
Here’s a tip: when searching in the search boxes, you may want to put the name of the hotel in quotes, such as “ABC Hotel” in order to keep the search results more accurate.
More things to keep in mind when reading online hotel reviews:
If a hotel has many four and five-star reviews, and one one-star review, it may be because some goofball or disgruntled employee or competitor has a chip on their shoulder. Don’t let one bad review spoil what might be a great choice for you. (By the way, be aware that it is probably illegal, and certainly a violation of internet policies, for a competitor to trash an establishment just because they are competing for business.)
On the other hand, if there are many reviews and the majority them are negative, that is a serious red flag.
As illegitimate as it is for a competitor to write a fake review, it is also at least equally illegitimate for a company to write fake reviews, or have someone else write fake reviews for them. This is a totally frowned upon action, and is not generally done, although it happens. That is why you should check more then one source of reviews. Don’t rely solely on the Google reviews (although you should certainly check them.) Make sure you check out other online hotel review sites, as well.
If you do find bad reviews, check to see if the owner or some other representative of the hotel has taken the time and effort to respond to them. The owner of the hotel can respond to reviews if s/he has an account with the review site. If the owner responds in a courteous and thoughtful way, you may get a feel for how they run their business. If they are brusque, and simply deny the accusations without acknowledging that they may have actually ever make mistakes – watch out!
Although the number of reviews can be a good indication the quality of the hotel, keep in mind that a small lodge or inn gets fewer guests then a gigantic hotel chain, and therefore will logically get fewer reviews.
If you have an experience with a hotel, which you would like to write about, you can get a free account with all of the above sites. Then you can log in and leave your own review.
Eve Elderman reviews hotels and other lodging venues. She lives and writes near Cooperstown, NY.
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