Take online hotel reviews with a grain of salt!

Work From AnywhereAll major online booking sites ask their customers to post reviews of the hotels they have stayed in. It’s a great way to have them briefly share their experience and help other customers have a clearer picture of the hotel they will be staying at. But these reviews are quite subjective and you always need to keep that in mind when you read through them. And always stop and think for yourself and decide if things said actually make sense. Here are a few aspects you should keep in mind when reading such reviews:

Review date – Old reviews (two-three years old) are not as significant. Try to compare them against newer ones. Other than being more accurate, you will also see the evolution of the hotel. Most of them get better and better over time.

Age and preferences of other travelers – If you’re a mature couple, what’s important for you might not be the same as what makes a young couple or solo traveler tick. Read all reviews but pay extra attention to those written by people who seem closest to your manner of thinking.

The general tone of the review – if something pisses people off, they tend to be a lot harsher with all other aspects related to a hotel. If the personnel is a little oblivious, they might also say the room was not that nice or that clean. They also mention what bothered them. To be able to tell if they are right or not, compare their take with other reviews where there was no trigger for anger or disappointment.

And finally, always compare reviews against what you know! And I have an example here. One day I was checking the reviews for a Turkish hotel I had stayed in for three weeks. And I bumped into this review complaining that if you paid in a different currency than Turkish Lira, the hotel had a ridiculous exchange rate. I started thinking. I remembered comparing the exchange rate of the hotel with that of the local exchange offices. Sure, there was a difference, but not a huge one!

As it happens to most hotels, it’s better to change smaller amounts and wait until you get to the exchange office. But the man in question had paid with a card and noticed a big difference between his calculations and what his bank had charged him. Now, the POS belongs to the hotel, but the commissions are those practiced by the Turkish bank and that in the card owner’s country and exchange rates are imposed by used card types (Visa and MasterCard establish and enforce exchange rates for international card payments). Not that of the hotel! So his recommendation to pay in cash for your stay was smart, but him blaming the hotel was not based on facts.

What other aspects do you think should be taken into account when reading such reviews?