Trip Advisor is an awesome website for reviewing travel and entertainment. The reviews that are written are about hotels, resorts, airlines, activities and restaurants by people who have actually experienced the activity. As a travel agent and traveler, I rely on it heavily whenever I’m looking to book a vacation for my client or myself. In my experience, there are some secrets to which reviews you can trust and those you cannot.
The first thing that I look for is how many reviews a certain poster has posted. If there are lots of posts, then you can assume that they are well-traveled and can offer good comparisons. That doesn’t mean that you cannot trust the new posters. You have to start somewhere. I certainly wouldn’t want my truthful and earnest review of a resort be disregarded just because it was my first or second review.
When you read these reviews, look to them for helpful information about the resort and restaurants and activities. And keep an open mind. People will write and complain about the most trivial thing that will cause them to give the resort a low rating. One time, a reviewer posted about their room being rundown and outdated. The reason they stated this was because a small piece of the wicker in this enormous king size bed headboard was broken. Really??
You will find over time too that people will complain about things that are not the same as they are at home. Of course they’re not the same. You are not at home. When going to an Italian restaurant at a Dominican resort; it is not like going to a restaurant in Rome. It’s the Dominican interpretation on an Italian restaurant. And they will complain about things that are totally out of anyone’s control unless you can control the weather or the amount of seaweed in the ocean or flight patterns.
The best advice that I can give you when researching your vacation on Trip Advisor is to look at the reviewer’s pictures that are posted. From them, you can get a bird’s eye view of what the beach looks like and what a standard rooms looks like and what is served in the buffets, etc. Then read the reviews. You can scroll through and pick out the ones that give your resort a low rating to decipher what really was bad about it. Was it overcrowded? Did it smell? Were there bugs crawling everywhere? Were there safety issues? These are things that would steer me away from some resorts. You cannot blame a resort for long lines at Immigration or the airline losing your luggage or your room not being ready at 10:00AM when check-in isn’t until 4:00 or long lines at check-in because 20 planes landed at the same time.
When you get home from your vacation; post your own review about your resort but only if you can be honest and objective. I’ve been submitting reviews to Trip Advisor for years now and I’ve gotten emails from people asking specific questions about my comments as everyone will write something different about the resort. In my case, I’d written about the tennis offered at one resort and I’d received a dozen different emails regarding this. I’ve also gotten emails asking questions that no one else had mentioned in any previous review and they’d trusted my opinion.