The ultimate guide to using hotel reviews to find the perfect accommodation

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:

Date
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.

Verified Reviews
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.

Complaints
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.

Responses
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.

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.
hotel reviews

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

hotel reviews
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How to use hotel reviews to find the perfect accommodation.

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9 Responses

  1. Nice tips for finding the perfect accommodation. And I also believe that reading a hotels/hostels, etc reviews is a great choice to help you do that.

  2. Indrani says:

    Those are great pointers to review a hotel on.
    I usually search for hotels on these factors and it does take time to weed out several fake reviews to get the correct picture.

  3. Danik says:

    Great tips here on writing a hotel review. I keep these in mind.

  4. Ane says:

    I tend to use reviews very infrequently as I find that some of the posts are so irrational they cannot be relied on. I do however use the star ratings on hotels.com as that’s more a pure mathematical formula and thus feels a bit more trustworthy. Great ideas thanks

  5. Leah says:

    I’m amazed at how many people don’t know how to dissect hotel reviews, and think that whatever is written is the Gospel (both good and bad). You’ve given a great breakdown of how to read in between the lines.

  6. Michela says:

    I like to read hotel and accommodation reviews but always take them with a pinch of salt. There is a line between how people experience a place and their emotions/expectations vs objectivity. And yes it’s important to read in between the lines.

  7. Mike Cotton says:

    I would think it’s fairly obvious when there is an overly glowing review. In fact, I don’t take any notice of positive reviews. The negative reviews, with common themes, are the ones to take into account.

  8. Claudia says:

    I find a grain of salt helps a great deal. Reading between the lines is key to understanding the potential motivation behind a review.

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