Is tripadvisor useful the good, the bad and the ugly?

Last week trip advisor sent me an email telling me that I was the top contributor for Brighton which surprised me. I thought there would be others who had made a lot more contributions or reviews. It seems a long time ago when I started to write reviews in 2008. I decided under the name of KiwiinBrighton to start writing reviews about the hotels I stayed, restaurants and some of the attractions we visited. Due to a particularly bad hotel stay in Paris where the bed was as soft as melted butter and the size of the room even by European standards is designed for Hobbits.

Seven years later I am glad that I did begin to write reviews. The honest reason I did it was all hotels seem to blend into one and whether they were bad or good. This happened with the one in Paris and I did not want to stay at it again. I travelled a lot and after a period of time I would forget about where I had stayed or eaten at in a city or whether it had been good. I thought tripadvisor could be a good tool to keep track of the good, the bad and the ugly.  194 contributions later it is great to look back and have a record of my trips that I can return to and decide where I might stay if I go back to a particular city. It also awakens happy memories of both leisure and business travel. Below is the link to my reviews if your interested.

The Good

Lovely bed in South Africa

Lovely bed in South Africa

2008 March Photos from 2007 038

The biggest value is that I am finding it so useful when writing content for my blog JohnandDebbieRTWadventure and link back to reviews of hotels where I have stayed at during my travels. Travel forums are also useful and I have had some wonderful people give good advice on particular subjects. The latest subject I am interested in is recreational vehicles or RVs in North America and routes to take plus life on the road. In August we begin a six month adventure travelling in Canada and the USA in a recreational vehicle. It is also quite nice to get a like for a review and people show some appreciation.

The Bad

There are a lot of fake reviews on tripadvisor. However, there are three rules that I follow which  I find help exclude the fakers.

Rule 1

If the reviewer has not written more than 25 reviews then ignore them.

Rule 2

Fake reviewers use similar or identical wording and it stands out.

Soft mattress I hate them

Soft mattress I hate them


Rule 3

One bad review that contrasts with all the other reviewers is either a fake or that person is just a complainer or was unlucky.

Follow these rules and you should find the reviews useful first hand information sources about restaurants, hotels and attractions.

The Ugly

The cost is where I find the ugly parts of tripadvisor. The claims of discounts, special deals with the booking provider or last minute should all be taken with a pinch of salt. Yes you will get a good deal but at what price. I have found that getting a discount normally means you get the boom boom room above the disco, the room facing the brick wall of the building nearby, the room beside the breakfast room or my particular favourite the one beside the noisy elevator.

In terms of the links to different booking websites I used them when booking business travel and get a slightly better room. However, with  leisure travel, i.e I am paying it myself I contact the hotel directly. Normally if your polite, friendly and it is a family run hotel or smaller one you will get a better price which surprisingly does work. You also can tell the hotel directly what you prefer such as a room not near the elevator or one with a firm mattress. This does not work with chain hotels you have to be a member of one of the many clubs. However for independent hotels it does work and you will get a better room.

You can get a better room with a chain but it will have to be when you get there and after lots of complaining based on genuine problems. This happened once in Bangkok where we were shown two rooms with each have something wrong. The first one the safe did not work and I needed it for business documents, they tried to fix it but failed. The second there was literally a disco above us and we had just arrived after a 12 hour flight from the UK. In the end they upgraded us to the top floor in a corner suite where we also access to the lounge for 11 nights which was lovely and unexpected. Thank you Amari Watergate Hotel.

Hence, my little hotel routine which drives my wife nuts sometimes when we get to a hotel as I will first go and check the room while she waits in the lobby. Several times this has resulted in upgrades or just a better room. I check several things including the mattress it has to be firm, water pressure there is nothing worse than shower with no pressure, the view if we arrive during the day and the general state of the room.

Our coming trip of a year round the world will be different as we will be staying at Airbnb, hostels and also hotels. I will be using tripadvisor as a useful tool to find the good and avoid the bad and ugly. Again if you want to see some of my reviews they can be seen at: