How to Get The Best Out of TripAdvisor

When used properly, TripAdvisor can be an invaluable tool for the diligent vacation planner

TripAdvisor can be a handy research tool when you’re planning a trip – so long as you use it with caution

TripAdvisor can be a handy research tool when you’re planning a trip — so long as you use it with caution

TripAdvisor has changed the travel world by giving travellers a public platform where they can — well, in a lot of cases — complain. But what’s true and what’s simply a bad experience or merely personal opinion? Here are some tips to help you get the most out of TripAdvisor.

How to Use TripAdvisor

Look for Trends: Don’t be swayed by one or two bad reviews in a sea of great ones. Take the time to read about 10 reviews and look for consistent trends.

Check Dates: Resorts and hotels undergo changes and may be renovated and placed under different management. If a review is over a year old, it might not be your best point of reference.

Evaluate the Reviewer: Read other reviews by that person. Are they a seasoned traveller or is that the only review they have ever posted? Also, are other reviews they have written in the same negative tone? This might be a hard-to-please person and their review shouldn’t necessarily be taken to heart.

Give More Weight to Experienced Reviewers: The comments of a seasoned traveller are generally more helpful than someone who rarely travels. That being said, know yourself too. Not everyone is looking for the same type of experience. Additionally, don’t forget that people of different backgrounds and ages may have different expectations, perceptions and preferences.

Evaluate the Responsiveness of Management: When a negative review appears, does management make a credible attempt to apologize or explain what happened? If you have unanswered questions, check out the forums on TripAdvisor where members may have raised the same concerns. Also, don’t hesitate to contact reviewers and commenters to ask them questions.

Check Out the Photos: Professional shots on hotel websites can be deceiving, whereas photographs taken by real people offer a better glimpse at what a room really looks like.
In the end, TripAdvisor can be a great resource for travellers — but just make sure you know what to look for.

Claire Newell is the travel media expert for Global BC, host of the travel series Operation: Vacation, best-selling author, spokesperson, wife and mother of two.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.