Bitterwallet poll – are you a fan of TripAdvisor?January 25th, 2011 • 7 Comments
There’s a lot of stuff and nonsense about TripAdvisor flying around today, after the Guardian published an extensive article that said much the same thing three times over. At the nub of it was the fact that hoteliers still aren’t happy with the hotel review site and are still considering legal action, while TripAdvisor are still holding their ground.
There is a little more to it than that; there’s the commentator who points out that some people are never happy – even when offered the opulence of five star accommodation, they will piss and moan about the ripeness of their breakfast watermelon and leave a one star review as a result. The point is that the views of the ludicrous carry as much weight as the views and the reasonable and sane, and it’s left to consumers to figure out which are which.
Other issues are more difficult to deal with; the fact that PR agencies can be employed to astroturf the site – not only planting positive reviews about their client’s hotels, but leaving negative reviews about competitors. Perhaps the more interesting claim came from TripAdvisor themselves with regards to Duncan Bannatyne; that “in the case of Bannatyne’s hotels we have had several worrying examples of individuals being intimidated by Bannatyne and his hotel representatives.”
Ultimately, the article doesn’t answer the question that matters – for all its faults, are consumers ultimately better off with or without TripAdvisor? We’re fans of the site, but then we’re also able to prevent ourselves plunging our hand in boiling pots of water and stepping out in front of moving traffic. In other words, we don’t live our lives by it – it’s just one source of information alongside many others.
So over to you, the avid Bitterwallet reader and occasional traveller. What do you make of TripAdvisor? Place your vote and comments below.
TA pisses me off no end.
Renting apartments in New York for less than 30 days is absolutely illegal under NY law, and there’s even a sticky post regarding this in the NYC forum, yet TA still allow (presumably lucrative) listings for apartments from known scammers.
Case in point, http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/RentalPropertyManager-a_manager.25130 – Toshi Apartments has 44 listings, yet a search of the forums (http://bit.ly/fORM9Y) shows numerous threads regarding the scammer.
TA know about illegal apartment rentals, but seemingly don’t care as long as the revenue keeps coming in.
One trick is to look at the number of reviews a reviewer has written. When you see that all the five star reviews are by people who have only reviewed one or two places in their life, it’s safe to assume they’re all shills for the owner.
The funniest reviews are from people who have paid less than £30 per night and whine about the level of service they have received, especially when it comes to the breakfast not comprising enough food to feed a small town for a month,
I have no doubt from my reading that Toshi skirt the edges of the law and do other dodgy things. However, having seen the speed at which complaints about them and TripAdvisor appear whenever they’re mentioned online, even when it’s on a UK bargains blog which has little interest in NY city law, I have no doubt that there is some sort of organised astroturfing campaign against them.
The NY rental thing is just the most mental thing in the world. They could sort it out and solve many problems but don’t. No wonder the regulars are now just losing patience.
With all reviews you have to look at them to work out what is going on. If there are people with reviews but no contributions to forums it can often look suspcious, if there are reviews that just sound ‘wrong’ you notice.
With many places you’ll get enough real reviews that the odd fake one is swamped anyway, and in many cases a fake one in a crap place makes it look even more dodgy.
It is a worldwide site, you have to take into consideration many things. American’s don’t like walking anywhere, expectations of what you get vary greatly. The idea that you can’t stay off Times Square for $25 a day is madness to someone from Bulgaria for example (yes I’ve seen things like this) as well as people’s knowledge about areas are madness, some people obviously don’t even look at a map let alone a guidebook or do any research. Some people you wonder how they put their pants on each day.
Anyone with half a brain can use TA effectively. It needs a hell of a lot of cleaning up though I agree. The rental issue in NY. The way attractions are ranked seem totally seperate from their reviews so you end up with crappy tours being the best things in cities like New York, Washington and Edinburgh.
I actually had a woman threaten to post a complaint on Trip advisor about my business because she turned up without booking and we were to busy to accomodate her! It’s getting ridiculous! Tried to blackmail us!
I think it’s okay to use to get advice on hotels, where to go and where not to go and was a member for many many years, both adding my reviews and asking other users for their advice.
However, after putting my review on Athens and what a terrible place it is, I recieved so many personal insults I felt I was being stoned. Tripadvisor did nothing to assist me and instead removed my posts! And they threatened to remove me as a user.
As one user on there said, if you put negative remarks about Athens, then Tripadvisor and its users take a real offence and become very nasty.
TA is therefore too political for me and I have asked them 3 times now to remove me as I no longer want to be a member.