By: Lori Metze and By: David Metze
It’s time to go on vacation. To avoid surprises, you hop on TripAdvisor or Expedia for either happy affirmation of your hotel choice or to dodge a bullet. This should be the easy part, but the number of hotel reviews on major sites has dramatically increased over the last few months making it harder to find what you’re looking for – a balanced, reliable opinion of hotels. For every helpful review, there are 50 more that don’t quite get the job done.
Begin to change the hotel review world RIGHT NOW and write reviews that actually help your fellow travelers and hotel management. In our business, we’ve read thousands of reviews and have come up with our very own categories.
Don’t be One of Our 6 Deficient Dissers
She tries to extort freebies or upgrades by threatening to leave a bad review. Even worse, she chooses this moment to leave her first review and makes good on the promise when she doesn’t get what she wants. The bridezilla who was charged an overage fee because her guests drank every drop of liquor on the grounds falls into this category. You can spot her by looking for words in the review like, “bed bugs, mold, roaches” and references to other unsavory vermin. She’s not afraid of throwing in names and likes using ALL CAPS.
Come on! If the hotel were actually this bad, the health department would have it razed to the ground.
He gleefully believes everyone hangs on every word he writes. His reviews are characterized by a five-paragraph diatribe that ends where it started. It often includes agonizing detail of his fiancée’s 30th birthday party that was held somewhere besides the hotel he’s reviewing. He’s left hundreds of reviews and earned quantity badges which he proudly displays in his office.
What kind of monster gets bigger every time you feed it? Click “helpful” on his review and find out.
She complains or compliments in a highly subjective way that lacks details to the point where the info is completely useless to any traveler. She uses words and phrases like, “the décor is bad…, it’s too far…, needs renovation, cheap-looking, very nice, too expensive.”
Let’s be frank and just admit that adjectives like “expensive,” “ugly” and “cheap” mean wildly different things to different people.
His is the glowing review that has nothing but nice things to say about absolutely everything. Readers are left to wonder, “Did they pay you?” While we understand that the budget motel at the highway exit is pretty awesome, it will now turn up in a “Best Hotels in the City” listing leaving everyone to scratch their head and wonder what computer algorithm is responsible for this list. This is the kind of thing that gets Virginia Beach (which is great, no question) ranked the “best beach in the world,” well ahead of Hawaiian beaches.
There’s something wrong with this picture.
Every penny of hers is a treasure that will inevitably be wasted at a substandard hotel that is out to get her. She usually buys a Groupon or books a Priceline deal and then complains incessantly about everything. She’s not a frequent buyer or user of travel as much as she just loves a deal and never finds one good enough. She always seems to mention the $500 held on her debit card and can’t get those funds back until Tuesday.
Hint to Deal Wranglers: Do not use a debit card when you check in! That money will be locked down.
He references five other hotels where he’s stayed in the past three weeks, all of which he found lacking in some way. He drops hotel names on Trip-o-critic like he drops CEO names at a sales conference. He loves to talk about big brand X hotels, his points and his status. The review is long and lacks information.
How to be a Helpful Critic
- If you have a legitimate complaint, take it up with management before you leave, when they can still do something about it – let them know right away and then write about the way it was handled.
- Focus on specifics. Instead of saying, “it was nice,” say, “the carpet was brand new.”
- Keep it short. More than three paragraphs is just too long unless you’re a travel writer.
- Be relevant. Write about the hotel, not about your vacation in general.
- Don’t comment on parts of the hotel you didn’t use. For example, if you didn’t order room service, don’t write about how you wished you could have had time for room service.
- Try to touch on many different aspects of the hotel – from the service to the room to the food. A well-rounded review from one person can help put the strengths and weaknesses of a property in perspective.
- Be objective. This is difficult on an opinion-based platform, but keep in mind that just because you hate purple, doesn’t mean that the Purple Hotel deserves one star.
- Just the facts, please. This should go without saying, but never make something up or exaggerate. Revenge doesn’t belong on review sites. It’s not punishing the hotel like it was intended and savvy travelers will ignore it.
- Balance out the squeaky wheels (they get all the grease, you know). If you had a great experience, take a little time and leave a review. Most of all, be sure to mention the names of employees that made it happen. The staff and management in hotels work long hours for modest wages because they care about you.
Give yourself kudos. You’re changing the travel world, one helpful review at a time.
David and Lori Metze lead Cloud Social Response Team, a time-saving hotel and resort review management service that frees up the time of General Managers by properly responding to and reporting on valuable guest feedback. Along with their team, they’ve read and responded to thousands of hotel reviews. Lori is also a professional travel writer who reviews luxury hotels and resorts every month. Learn More