Thursday, October 12, 2017

Using travel reviews to decide when to book a place to stay...

Last night, I decided to do a little shopping for our next trip.  There are several places I want to visit.  Some places are more urgent than others are.  For example, I really want to get to Berlin before we leave Germany.  Other places are more "bucket list" type spots.


Hmm...

One place I was really considering visiting was a B&B in the Champagne region in France.  I had found the B&B the last time we lived here, but we never got around to visiting.  Years later, I see they're still in business and they have more reviews than ever.  Most of the reviews are glowing, though they did get a few that were less than stellar.

I do pay close attention to comments left by previous guests, but I pay even closer attention to the responses left by the hosts.  I believe that anyone in the hospitality business should realize that sometimes people aren't going to like what's offered.  Sometimes they will leave negative comments.  No one can please everyone all the time, so it is what it is.  However, when a host's comments are snarky or overly offended, I tend to want to steer clear of that property.  Such was the case with the B&B I mentioned earlier in this post, a place that currently has an overall score of 8.2 on Booking.com.

Have a look at this comment left by a guest.


A review from 2012...

As someone who has been mistaken for pregnant before, I could definitely feel this lady's pain.  It's just one of those things better left unmentioned.  I can't blame her for being upset.  Maybe some would accuse her of being overly sensitive.  Maybe I might even give the owner the benefit of the doubt.  But then I read his response.


Clearly, her review pissed him off and he felt the need to retaliate by referring to her as "sensitive" and vaguely accusing her of stretching the truth.

I have to admit, reading the "sensitive lady's" review made me decide not to book this particular B&B.  When I go on trips, the last thing I want to deal with is offensive remarks from a host.  I see similarly snarky remarks the owner left on other lowly rated reviews that make me think he may be a bit of a jerk.

I made a similar decision not to book a highly acclaimed property in Amsterdam because of comments left by the proprietors.  Here's an example.


And the manager's response is below.


There are actually a number of snarky comments like this one on Trip Advisor for this particular hotel.  The manager seems kind of "colorful".  

I can totally understand why people in the hospitality business want to defend their product.  However, being in the hospitality business means actually being hospitable.  Sometimes that means biting your tongue.  I distinctly remember reading reviews of this hotel and wondering if I should book it just to see if the manager would get "snotty" with me.  Then I realized that Amsterdam has lots of hotels to choose from and why would I book one in search of a really bad time?

Granted, sometimes people do complain about stupid shit.  But when a hotel proprietor gets caught with their pants down, it's probably best not to get too snippy about the guests who catch them.  We once stayed at a B&B in Key West, Florida.  It was not a bad place.  For awhile after our stay, I read the reviews left by other guests.  One guy, a man from Australia, took pictures of the mattress in the room where he stayed.  It appeared that someone had peed on it.  He posted the picture on TripAdvisor and one of the proprietors came back very defensively instead of apologetically.  Basically, he claimed he was too poor to either have the mattress cleaned or replaced.  That may very well be the case, but the guest's complaint was entirely valid.  I see now, it's been removed from the reviews.

It's not as easy to find reviews of self-catering places.  I do pay close attention to what people say on Booking.com when I use that site to reserve a place.  I am even more careful to pay close attention to any management responses.  Fortunately, when I have left negative reviews, most of the responses have been professional.  I am not too hard to please anyway, though, even though I do enjoy writing the odd vent now and again.  It's probably best to keep things civil by all means.

6 comments:

  1. One has to read reviews with a filter, and decide what they can believe and can't. I usually look and see if there's a pattern of bad reviews, or just one or two that sound like people with an ax to grind. Both when I worked at the hotel and now renting condos I've seen my share of bad reviews - some warranted, some ridiculous. We had one lady last week rent a condo that was recently renovated with all new furniture, painted, and flooring. She complained about what looks like a water stain on the carpet that's a nickel in size. Another complained that the ceiling fan looked like it needed dusting and demanded we send someone over - right as our crew was going from unit to unit with hurricane prep. They got there eventually, but that property happened to be far away from the other units and was the last on the list; she wasn't happy. I could understand if the place wasn't rented on a regular basis but there were people there the week before, so even if our cleaning crew missed it in between cleanings, how bad could it really be? At the hotel I frequently was threatened with a bad review if I didn't give them money back on their stay. I've only had that happen once with the condo rentals, though, and the guy was stupid enough to put it in writing so we got his review removed.

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    1. Oh yes, I am a big fan of taking things with a grain of salt. Sometimes people are just difficult. In the case of the B&B owner, it appears that he pleases most of his guests. However, I know for a fact that if he ever made a comment about my "project", I'd be really pissed off. And his response to the lady's complaint only lent credence to her account.

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  2. Yeah, I probably wouldn't be as nice to him after he made the comment. When I was younger I would have reacted like her. Now that I'm older, I know how to dish it out pretty good

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    1. Me too. I was mistaken for pregnant three years ago. It was offensive until I realized that it means I still look like I could conceive.

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  3. I can understand mistaking someone for being pregnant, but you don't try to make it better by saying you should go for a jog!

    For this reason my husband never asks or mentions a woman being pregnant ...ever. lol.

    WOW.

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