My Experience With Reading Travel Reviews to Book My Hotel
In anticipation of an upcoming trip to Auckland, New Zealand (NZ) I was on the search for accommodation. With so many options to choose from – bed & breakfast, motels, lodges, serviced apartments and hotels (to name a few) – I eventually decided to choose Auckland hotel accommodation. Now my issue went from: What kind of accommodation do I want to stay in? to: Which provider do I choose?
It’s fair to say that had I booked my trip through a travel agent they may well have been able to suggest the right provider for me, but in this day and age of online travel bookings, I had no need to talk to a travel agent. So keeping in line with my online flight bookings, I decided to book my accommodation online too. First though I decided to find out what other people were saying about Auckland hotels, to see if anyone had some good suggestions for me.
I’ve heard all this talk about user reviews becoming more and more popular in today’s online environment, and I can now see why. It’s much like talking to your family or friends and asking if they can recommend somewhere to stay, but in this event you have access to a wider range of opinions. The other advantage is that the feedback which is posted on the site is no longer filtered by the providers so that you only read good reviews, instead they are a much more transparent and honest assessment of the hotel.
There are many online travel review sites available, but I must say that it’s important to find one which isn’t just a general site allowing people to sign up and post comments unanimously, as these are open to unverified reports and even overly positive and sometimes fraudulent comments from accommodation providers themselves. So my first step was finding a trusted Auckland hotel review site/s.
This came in the form of an online booking site. The comments on these types of sites can only be posted by people who have actually booked and stayed at that particular Auckland hotel. This results in me being able to read honest reviews from actual guests. Not only that but it was easier to read the reviews on the same website I could end up booking on, than having to read one site and then find another for the actual Auckland hotel I chose.
Most of the reviews I came across, had a 1 to 5 star rating system where :
1 = poor
2 = below average
3 = value for money
4 = great value for money
5 = excellent experience
This method of rating means I could easily gain a general idea of the value without having to read every review over the past twelve months. From there, further investigation of the hotel was required, which involved reading each of the reviews that caught my attention. At this point it was very important for me to remember that one or two bad reviews did not necessarily reflect poor service on the part of the hotel. People do have bad days, and unfortunately hotels do to. But if dripping taps, poor showers, noisy rooms or bad service is mentioned in a number of the reviews, I considered it safe to assume that the majority of guests are right.
In the end, the one trend that showed up in the majority of bad reviews, is that at times people were expecting more from the hotel than it provided. Such complaints as “the restaurant was closed at 11pm”, “no room service” or “I had to carry my own luggage”, all show on investigation that these services were not offered by the Auckland hotel in the first place. There is still the perception that a hotel has 24 hour front desks and bar, pools, gymnasiums and spa. Where as today’s demands have removed the non essential offerings and services in order to provide a better price to the consumer.
So after reading numerous reviews and now feeling more informed than when I started, I managed to locate an Auckland hotel which meet my needs, not only in terms of service, but in terms of location, price and facilities. Ultimately the reviews were one component of my decision and needed to be viewed alongside my own personal criteria, in order to make my final decision.