This article is a travel topic
While away from home, you want to be happy. You want to be comfortable. You want to enjoy youself. You want the place where you are staying to meet your satisfaction.
But there is a problem. You've never been to that place before. You've only seen it in a directory and read about it on paper. You don't know what it is really like. Is this place really clean? Are the employees really nice? How do I know what to expect?
Fortunately, in our internet age, many online sites, such as TripAdvisor, allow customers of lodging and other establishments to rate and tell about their experiences in the facilities. They tell what they have experienced as customers at a customer's point of view, unlike the owners who will tell you propaganda based on all the good stuff they have to say.
Reviews can be the answer. Almost all properties have at least some reviews already written about them. As a potential customer, you can compare and contrast each of the reviews that have already been written, and determine based on the words of others if an issues that have been reported are a problem for you.
There are some things to keep in mind when reading a review:
Fact versus opinion
If you are educated enough, you should know the difference between a fact and an opinion. If you are uncertain, you can look up these terms in a dictionary. Assuming that you do know, keep in mind that reviews contain both facts and opinions, often mixed together. Also be aware that a fact can be a true or a false one.
Examples of a fact are:
Examples of an opinion are:
Guests may have varying expectations, thereby influencing the tone of their review. For example, one guest may write a negative review, complaining about poor service. Another guest may not have such high expectations of service to begin with, and may like the cleanliness, so they would write a positive review, saying that the rooms are immaculately clean, and therefore overlooking poor service. One guest may think the drab colored carpeting is ugly; another may say it is beautiful.
Numbers of reviews
One should generally not let one bad review outweigh many good ones. One who personally had an unhappy customer service experience may be taking out their sourgrapes on the location by exaggerating everything bad about it and even telling falsehoods. Meanwhile, the majority of other guests have been happy and only have positive things to say.
More recent reviews
Reviews versus rating system
Many review sites have customers rate the place on a scale of 1-5, and perhaps will print the average satisfaction rating of all customers. Be aware that this does not correspond with the hotel rating systems that are designed by large corporations. These are simply the points of views of individual customers. It is possible for a cheap, roadside motel to be rated quite high by its customers, and a highly luxurious hotel to have many dissatisfied customers.
Writing a review
It is strongly recommended that after staying at a lodging facility, whether it be a drop-in for one night on your way to somewhere else or several weeks you may be spending on a long holiday, that you write a useful review about where you stayed. By doing so, you are helping others who may be considering staying there to make up their mind if that is what they are looking for, and helping the facility itself make improvements. Yes, the management at many facilities do read the reviews that are written about themselves, and they use the information to determine how to improve themselves. Some even write rebuttals to negative reviews.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when writing a review:
Tell the truth
'All reviews shall be truthful. Whatever you do, do not let your feelings, positive or negative, lead to falsehoods finding their way into the review. The purpose of the review is to help others and to help the facility accomplish what is best for all. Lying positively about a place gives potential customers higher expectations than reality, and keeps the facility from knowing what they need to do to improve themselves. If you say something false that is negative, you can get sued for libel.
Many times, you may be so like a place so much that you want to tell everyone the very best. Or you may hate it so much that you want to write a tell-all. But now it is time to practice self-restraint.
For example, if you find one corner of the area around the sink has a little dirt that should have been cleaned before your arrival, and the remainder of the room is immaculately clean, you should not say "room was dirty." If you had to wait your turn [fairly] in line behind someone else to see a desk clerk, you should not say that the staff took a long time to meet your needs.
Be careful using names
There are some situations in which it is justified to use a person's name. For example, if one person gave you exceptional customer service, you may want to give them a glowing report. Once again, it should not be exaggerated. But use their first name only, and then a last initial if you need to distinguish from another employee with the same first name. But don't put a full name in your report unless the property itself bears that person's name.
If you have a complaint about a particular employee, it is best to take it up directly with their supervisor and not to use the review to vent your frustrations. When you write a review, it becomes publicly visible, so whatever you write about that person can be found via a Google search. You may think you are punishing that person by doing this, but such action is uncivilized and will not necessarily solve the problem. It may cause hardship in that person's life in an unwanted way. That person may be able to sue you. (And yes, through good detective work, 'anonymous' internet usage or usage under a false name can be traced to you.)