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How to Read a Tripadvisor Review

Tripadvisor reviews can be all over the place and difficult to judge at times. It is a proven fact that most Holidaymakers make more of an effort to write a review about a bad experience rather than a good one. The reason for this is that people in general, expect a good time on their Holiday and when this is provided to them, they take it for granted and are less inclined to write a review on a service that was expected.

On the other hand, people whose expectations are too high, or have been sold a dream or inflated product by a third party, will be more likely to complain if the holiday fails to meet the perception they had of it before traveling. They may feel vindicated in some way by writing a poor review of a Hotel, as they vent their anger on a personal issue that was not addressed to their liking by the Hotel while staying there.

The most common reason for a poor review is when Holidays get off to a bad start, caused by an incident that may occur early on, like a missed transfer, delayed flight, early morning arrival, family argument in transit, tired,weary and cranky moods or other factors that are outside the Hotels control.

All you need then, is for these people to bump into a rude or untrained receptionist, or one whose language skills are poor, thus not allowing clear communication between the customer and hotel. In Ibiza I have noticed that many Hotels have untrained, male “night porters” (some lacking in finesse) on duty when customers arrive in the early hours. They might have poor English and may not be trained to deal with any problems that may arise with tired and cranky clients that arrive early in the morning. This First impression does not bode well for any future problems that may arise further down the line.

This then leads to the client starting the holiday on the wrong foot and looking for reasons to complain. Rather than accepting minor problems like size/decor of the accommodation, they now find fault in small niggley issues. If they are not addressed and rectified at an early stage, they can then build up into an angry holidaymaker with a one sided opinion of the premises.

Its these biased opinions, that a person needs to identify and rule out when judging a review of a Hotel on Tripadvisor. They can be easy to spot……they usually go straight for the jugular at the start of the review and just list their personal grievances without any balance given to the Hotels advantages, and unless its Bates Motel, its got to have some good points, or else it would not be in buisness!

Some Nationalities complain more that others. Holidaymakers forget that they are in Spain, living within Spanish Culture and eating local food. Problems also arise when Spanish Hotels try to cook food that is not associated with their local style of cooking. They are not very good at it, and use poor quality ingredients that are over processed and cooked in microwave ovens, so always separate poor reviews on the catering experience from the level of quality in room and general hotel facilities.

This also applies to the Human factor and clash of cultures. Many reviews list grievances with staff as a big problem. What a person has to take into account here, is the “Basil and Manuel” syndrome. The Fawlty towers comic act which featured an Englishman trying to work with a Spanish waiter through language and cultural differences which invariably lead to frustration and conflict. This happens a lot in Ibiza, (but without the humor) so a little understanding and patience goes a long way, as its not an easy job to work in hot conditions for low pay, while everybody else is on holiday. On the flipside of that view, is the customers perception that they are paying for a service so it should be provided to them. Therefore the environment for misunderstanding and unintentional insult is always present.

Also beware of biased, fake reviews which are written by the Hotel staff or friends associated with the owner. These are easy to spot as they read like a blurb from the hotels brochure. They are usually brief and to the point, with only a few sentences or paragraphs listing how wonderful the place it is to stay in. If it was that good it wouldn’t have vacant rooms in the middle of peak season!

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