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Pillow Talk: How Much Can You Trust Hotel Reviews?

The process to booking the right hotel can be long and arduous. You begin by selecting your location, days and price range. You narrow down where you want to be and what amenities are absolute necessities.


You have seemingly found that perfect hotel at the right price. And then, you mosey on over to the review section and find reports of bed bugs, a loud party bar below the guest rooms and an icy reception staff ready to greet you if you click purchase.


This process can go on and on to the point where no hotel seems to fit the bill. Every place has its complaints. Reading hotel reviews from previous guests can be somewhat of a double-edged sword. You want to gather travelers’ viewpoints, but you also want to make a decision before your travel days have come and gone.


When reading the review section on your next hotel selection, keep in mind these facets to reviews so you don’t end up either staying at home or missing out on a great hotel.


Find Overall Ratings—Rather than reading through paragraph after paragraph of reviews, if the hotel search engine you are using or private hotel review website has an overall rating or percentage of satisfaction listed, use that as a guide. If 95% of travelers enjoyed the hotel, you might not need to spend hours reading reviews.


Be Aware of Emotional Complaints—Many travelers have made the mistake of judging a hotel based off of an experience that would probably never happen to the next guest. Be sure to have your eyes on the look out for more emotional complaining than actual problems with the hotel. When the traveler details their back-story or sob story, whichever it may be, try to hit the mute button and focus on the facts.


Take Construction Complaints With a Grain of Salt—When reviews complain of a hotel being under construction with loud noise and lack of parking spaces as a result, don’t always reject the hotel. Chances are the review was written long ago and the construction has since finished. If you come across construction complaints but you think you have found the perfect hotel, email the hotel directly and ask if construction is still taking place.


Look Out For How Long The Reviewer Stayed—Many reviewers complain about hotel furnishing being outdated or the lack of a flat screen TV for their week-long vacation. The longer you stay in one hotel, the more likely it will start to wear on the reviewer. If you are just booking a one night stay to compliment your cheap flight to Fort Meyers, you need to evaluate how long you'll actually be in the hotel room. If you are planning on arriving late to a hotel and leaving early, whether the hotel has updated furnishings or mints on the pillow shouldn’t really matter. You’re not buying the place. Reviewers who stay for longer periods in hotels can end up jaded on their experience, especially when they make comments about the useless armchair in their room and its outdated fabric.


The Importance of Noise, Safety, Cleanliness and Rudeness in Reviews—In Galway, I stayed at a great hotel. The reception staff was incredibly friendly. The hotel was clean and ideally located. However, at night, the nightclub below would turn my hotel room into a shaking boom box as teens screamed the latest pop hits at the top of their lungs. The problem with this hotel booking is that I neglected to read the reviews. After checking out, I found all the reviews said sleeping was next to impossible at the hotel, which turned out to be true.


Noise complaints should be taken seriously as should safety concerns, problems with cleanliness and a rude hotel staff. If you go into the hospitality industry, you need to be hospitable. Frequent hotel reviews that bemoan a rude reception with plenty of noise at night shouldn’t be ignored. After all, the purpose of a hotel is to provide a good night’s sleep. Keeping all of this in mind will ensure that you will have a better hotel experience in the future. 


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Flickr: heatherontravels


About the author

Morly Cowan

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