I am a fan of Tripadvisor. In fact I am a senior contributor to their website. I use them all the time to get information on a holiday destination, or see some reviews about a hotel or restaurants, and I even use this site to book my flights. Tripadvisor is a great information tool for people like me. I read reviews of a certain hotel or restaurant that I would like to go to or before booking a holiday to some resort. After some years of using tripadvisor, I realised that there will always be great, good and bad reviews on one establishment or another.The fact is, some people will like your place or service and some will not and shout about it. But it is up to us still to get the best personal experience rather than just take someone elses opinion. I went to a holiday destination where some reviews were not as good but I still went there and had a fantastic time. What I use tripadvisor for is to pick up useful factual information like price, distance, choices, accessibility and leave personal opinion on the side. Incidentally, this is also my style of writing for tripadvisor. Though I give my personal opinion, the majority of my writing covers factual information. What I did not like or like is kept to a minimum and I try to be objective. We all have different tastes and views depending on our characters. Therefore our views on what is good may be what is bad for others or what is good for others be bad for us. The argument here would be, whose information should we listen to and what information can be useful to us. The danger is that tripadvisor can be use the wrong way. It could be use to “bad mouth” an establishment because they are your competitor. It could be use to manipulate to win bonuses in relation to a company incentive schemes. It could be use aggressively to promote their businesses by self-serving business owners. Or it could be use to destroy a person that he/she didn’t like and write a bad review about the server or manager. We all know that we can always ask someone else to write a review about who,what, how when we want to hide our identity and we all know that this happens for whatever purpose it may serve. Therefore, other than objective and factual information that thrives in tripadvisor that can help you make an educated decision to go to restaurant or book that resort or hotel, there are also dangerous self serving, misleading opinions that can take you to a path paved by greedy, selfish, destructive people.
Tripadvisor now is use to over advertise businesses rather than help people get factual useful information. My fear is, tripadvisor will soon be clouded by self-serving promotions and cluttered by preconceived move to attain some business goals or forward their money driven causes rather than provide information to help people make educated choices.
Now I fear when I read a review on tripadvisor I am in doubt and ask…is this a company driven advertisement written for them? Is this a personal attack on a person that he/she did not like? Is this a move by an individual to gain bonus schemes designed as incentives by a company to promote their business? This will be hard now to follow whether what we are getting is real factual information of an experience or not.
Until then, please be warned and keep on “reading between the lines”.