Tripadvisor has revolutionized booking a holiday – and at last, has given a voice to millions of holidaymakers who were underwhelmed by the service they received in exchange for their hard earned cash.
Tripadvisor is not without its good points, however – and, recently, many unhappy hotel owners claim that negative reviews were posted about them by jealous rivals.
It can be impossible to tell whether a review online is genuine or a piece of positive/negative PR, so here are a few tips for using Tripadvisor to make sure you get the holiday of a lifetime, and not a holiday which seems like a life sentence.
- Even package holidays can be checked out on Tripadvisor, so take a look at the reviews online to make sure they match up to the brochure description before you book.
- Pictures are hard to fake, so take a good look through all the images uploaded by other holidaymakers who have recently stayed at your chosen hotel or resort before booking.
- If reviews of your chosen hotel seemed mixed, scroll down as many as possible to get a more balanced view of what your chosen hotel or the resort is like. Look for any mention of poor maintenance or outbreaks of holiday illness.
- Sometimes, hotels can get glowing reviews with one really bad one posted on Tripadvisor, and it is hard to know whether this is genuine or the holidaymaker was just perhaps unlucky. Check and see whether the reviewer posting a bad review has posted elsewhere and compare the reviews to get a balanced view of their opinion.
- Holiday illness can wreck holidays -and your health- so it is vital to check and see whether your chosen hotel or resort has a history of frequent outbreaks of holiday food poisoning.
- If you find any reports of holiday illness on Tripadvisor, enter the name of the hotel and “holiday claims” in a search engine online to find out whether holiday illness claims have been made through specialist holiday claims solicitors. Companies handling claims keep track of cases of food poisoning at hotels and resorts like those in the Dominican Republic, Egypt or Mexico, for example, and a search engine should pick them up.
- Tripadvisor reviews can also tell you the best time to visit resorts, as well as events worth attending or places worth visiting at your chosen resort.
- If you know where you want to go but are unsure about accommodation, look for hotels with five-star reviews at Tripadvisor. You might be tempted to book there and then on www.race2004.net. But remember that package holidays are protected under the Package Travel Regulations 1992, whereas if you book holidays independently, they will not be.
- How hotels and tour operators handle complaints is important, so if your chosen hotel has some negative reviews, check out whether the hotel management has responded to the criticism and put in place measures to improve matters.
- Staying in poorly maintained hotels and at holiday complexes can be disappointing and downright dangerous. Look for any indications of poor maintenance or shabby rooms and excessive cost cutting when you look at Tripadvisor reviews before you book.
When you make a complaint to a tour operator, ensure that you have sought advice from a solicitor who can advise you on what needs to be in the first letter, and what you should say.