This Oahu hotel had stellar TripAdvisor reviews. We were floored on arrival, and thought about leaving immediately and sleeping in the car. It was the 2005 Pro Bowl weekend and everything was booked solid, except for this hotel. We checked out after one night, which was one night too many.
It all comes down to who do you trust.
According to Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester Research, more than 83% of us trust the opinion of an acquaintance or friend, while only 30-49% of us trust the opinion of various website editors.
Another study, by Pollara Research, indicated that nearly 80% of those surveyed said they were likely to trust recommendations by real-world friends and family, but only 23% reported being likely to consider a well-known blogger’s recommendation.
For the most part, I found myself in agreement with these studies. It is sometimes difficult to know who you can trust and whether there was any monetary influence in a review. For me, it is more intuition than anything else. Also, does the writer seem to convey a true sense of objectivity about the property. If it is all glowing, that gets me wondering straight away.
Contrast individual reviews with travel review sites like TripAdvisor or Virtual Tourist, in which I needn’t feel trust towards any one author, because there are abundant reviews that I can myself digest and correlate.
A recent Travel and Leisure article spoke about travel review sites and also questioned their credibility. Some sites are making considerable progress in helping you find the truth in their reviews. We’ve previously expressed concerns too about travel review sites, and discussed ways to cut through the muck. TripAdvisor also suffers from an inherent corporate conflict of interest, inasmuch as it is now owned by Expedia.
This starting us thinking about Beat of Hawaii review policies. We enjoy sharing our finds with visitors, and have never received compensation in any form for our reviews. In only one case, (Westin Princeville Ocean Resort), did a hotel or restaurant even know that we would be on site.
What has your experience been with travel reviews? I look forward to hearing your comments.