From rating Uber drivers to using Yelp to check if a restaurant is worth dining at, reviews are a big help for travellers—especially when it comes to booking accommodation. With just a few clicks of a button, hotel reviews can help verify everything from how good the service and location is, to which room has the best view and is farthest away from the elevators.
However, it’s not a case of one-size-fits-all when it comes to picking a property, which means weeding through all that feedback to determine if the accommodation will be perfect for your dream getaway. After all, the resort boasting five waterslides and a kids club is great for a young family, but probably won’t be appreciated a business traveller. Here’s what to look for in a review, and how to pay it forward after check-out by sharing your own experience.
What to look for in hotel reviews
Not all hotel reviews are created equally, but there are a few key points to look for as you read:
Note how recently the review was written, as a lot can change at a property in short period of time due to things like staff turnover and renovations.
As ratings and reviews are so important to a hotel’s bottom line, it’s no surprise there have been many cases of “fake” reviews from owners, or competitors purposely giving a rival property a low score. That’s why verified sites like hotels.com are a great resource, since the only people who are able to leave reviews are guests who booked through the website and actually completed a stay at the property.
Everyone loves to complain, so it’s important to take critical reviews with a grain of salt. Perhaps the person who griped that the hotel in the heart of South Beach was too loud should have done their homework, and realized just about every spot along the strip is going to be party central. Or they lamented about the breakfast spread, but failed to mention their neurotic gluten-free-dairy-free-protein-heavy diet. The key is to look for reviews mentioning more common complaints such as the air conditioning not working or a lack of hot water, and how management dealt with the issue.
It’s typically a good sign if someone from the hotel has responded to the review: it shows that they’re concerned about feedback and will likely make an effort to ensure your stay goes smoothly.
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The Winning Formula
Many people think star ratings are indicative of how luxe a property is, but those “five stars” are actually based on if a hotel offers amenities such as a pool, luxury spa or golf course. Instead, travellers should use the Winning Formula developed by hotels.com, which analyzed about five million of their verified guest reviews to determine the top rated hotels. The formula looks at things like how friendly the staff are, room pricing, if there are inclusions such as WiFi and breakfast, as well as location and cleanliness—all important things to consider when choosing accommodation. The properties with the highest ratings all earned spots on their Loved by Guests awards list, which is a great place to start your hotel hunt.
Tips for writing a hotel review
If you rely heavily on online reviews to pick a hotel, it’s only fair that you give back by sharing your own experiences. The key to writing a good review is to be as specific as possible:
- Were you there on business, for a family reunion, a wedding?
- Did you take advantage of amenities such as the shuttle service or concierge?
- If your room was too loud, note what your room number was, and if it was overlooking a street or near the elevators.
- If issues arose during your stay, how did staff handle it?
- And most importantly: did the property look the same as it does in photos?
If knowledge is power, then doing your homework before booking by reading hotel reviews is sure to set you up for success—especially now that you know what to look for when choosing where to spend your dream vacation. Happy booking!
This post was presented in collaboration with Hotels.com
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