We’ve all been there. Reading online reviews about destinations, hotels, car rentals and other travel suppliers. However, all sites are not created equal. Just as you might have a friend who highly recommends a hotel, another just might not be of the same opinion. Reading one bad review should not deter you from looking further, especially when 10 others say it’s fantastic. However if you read five similarly bad reviews on an aspect that is important to you, then take heed and look elsewhere.
As a travel agent, I will sometimes go to trusted review sites such as Monarch (Canadian) for feedback, especially when I’ve not used a particular travel supplier. I’m fortunate to have access to a number of other resources and experts whom I can trust for opinions. Clients are encourage to look at trip review sites as it’s an extra set of eyes seeking information to make the best collaborative decision.
The date of the review is important. Obviously the more recent the better. If you see complaints about staff service last week, and then 8 months ago, you know it’s probably not a general issue. If the last three months show consistently poor service, then you know what to expect.
What is most important to you? If you are going primarily to lie on the beach, then you want to ensure the beach is up to your standards. When you see complaints about rocks at the water’s edge but you spend your time by the pool, then it’s not so important. I’ve even seen reviews that state the ocean was the wrong colour of blue – it was dark and they wanted aqua coloured!
A picture is worth 1,000 words, as long as it’s untouched. Find online videos so you can actually see for yourself. I’m not talking about the professional marketing pieces put out by the travel supplier, but actual customer experiences.
Everyone wants good value for their vacation dollar, but sometimes there is not enough time to do the research. Many people get overwhelmed and need the advice of a travel expert. As much as friends mean well, don’t be afraid to use an agent. They are worth their weight in gold. After having daydreamed about your vacation for some time, you want to make sure you get what you paid for…and more than you dreamed.