Maybe your experience was less than stellar or there were a few things you would have liked to have known before you arrived at the hotel you had only seen pictures of online. You think you owe it to fellow travelers to relay this information, because after all, had you known then what you know now, you may have made different choices.
These days, the majority of travelers use online review sites to influence their traveling decisions. Reading the honest, unbiased feedback from other travelers may convince you to choose accommodations closer to your planned activities, or add a restaurant or museum to your itinerary.
The thing is, when you read reviews on a website like Venere, it can often be difficult to know exactly how to interpret others’ thoughts on London hotels, for example. You might have clues: Some sites include demographic information such as the age or gender of the reviewer, or offer information such as how often the reviewer travels and their favorite destinations that can help you determine whether you are like-minded. However, if the reviewer chooses not to include those details, you’re flying blind.
For that reason, when you write your reviews, keep a few points in mind so others find your reviews useful and you can help other travelers make smart decisions.
Read the Guidelines Before Posting
Each review site or travel service has its own guidelines for posting reviews in terms of content and minimum standards. Before drafting your glowing review of a charming bed-and-breakfast, review the requirements to ensure you cover all of the bases. Consider reading a few sample reviews as well to get a feel for the site and the points other reviewers have focused on.
Writing a review that simply raves or criticizes a business without providing evidence is not helpful to readers. If you loved or hated something, tell people why. Maybe it was the special touches, like warm chocolate chip cookies at bedtime that made you feel welcome at a small country inn. If so, tell others about it.
Likewise, if you were less than pleased, explain why. Keep in mind that if your complaint was something the business could fix, such as low water pressure or loud neighbors, note what you did to try to rectify the situation and how it was handled. If the problem was something that couldn’t be easily fixed, such as the view, explain why you were disappointed. Otherwise, your review could appear to be complaining for the sake of complaining — not to mention, someone else may not have the same standards, and your minor quibble could prevent them from booking at what they would consider a fantastic location.
Include Personal Touches
If you were writing a review for a travel magazine, you’d want to include colorful details that bring the place alive for your readers — the sights and sounds they can expect. Since most travelers reading reviews are trying to determine whether a hotel is clean and comfortable, they probably aren’t interested in a four-paragraph description of the meal you enjoyed in the hotel restaurant. Stay on topic, and be concise in your descriptions.
At the same time, don’t feel compelled to stick to “just the facts.” Adding relevant details, such as recommendations for the best items on the buffet or a quiet corner with an unobstructed ocean view, can help enhance others’ experiences and earn you a reputation as a helpful reviewer.
Spellcheck — and Do It Again
Before you post your review, proofread and spellcheck it. Readers may be less likely to take your thoughts seriously if your review is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors.
Update Your Reviews
In some cases, review sites allow you to make changes to your reviews even several years after the fact. If you learn new information or return to a spot to find something has changed, take a moment to update your review to reflect that. A negative review can do great harm to a company, so take care with your thoughts, and stay honest and accurate.
Writing online reviews is an important part of today’s connected world, and everyone from other travelers to business managers read the thoughts of actual customers to help them make decisions. If you decide to write down your thoughts, make them something worth reading.
About the Author: Louise Vinciguerra is a fantastic joke teller, has a million and one hobbies, and enjoys matching her fonts with her moods. This Brooklyn native dirties her hands in content on weekdays and as a devout nature lover, dirties them in soil on the weekends. When she’s not on Facebook, Wordpress or Twitter, she’s traveling in search of fun food, dabbling in urban farming or planning nature trips from her resident city of Rome. When she’s not doing any of the above, she sleeps.