Again, this is one I’ve been pondering a while, but the appearance of the lovely Alex Polizzi (Hotelier & television presenter, ‘The Hotel Inspector’) on The Wright Stuff has spurred me to quit the pondering and ramble.
As Alex is a renowned hotelier she was asked what she thought of ‘Trip Advisor’, a site that you apparently can visit to look at reviews for hotels etc. The sentence that stuck out for me was Alex saying, and I paraphrase, ‘if you have a problem, tell the hotelier, don’t stew about it then rant on the internet. Give the hotelier a chance to do the right thing.’
This is my view exactly. The internet, as lovely as it can be, has also bred a nation of keyboard warriors and critics. Another recent programme, ‘Ruth Watson Means Business!’ (Ruth Watson, Hotelier, television presenter, early ‘Hotel Inspector’) was solely dedicated to businesses trying to turn round their online reviews, usually coming face to face with some of the writers of the bad reviews. The one thread that was sewn through every case, was that no one complained to the establishment at the time. They all stewed before ranting online, keyboard warrior style. For me that method would be a last resort, if the proprietor was not helpful or willing to communicate. Anyway, I’m whizzing off at a tangent.
‘Trip Advisor Culture’
The people I speak to in real life at least, tend not to go or stay anywhere unless they first research it on the internet. They are often swayed by these reviews. Holidays live and die by these reviews. Some of which, allegedly, aren’t as genuine they should be. I know information is supposedly power, but sometimes we can do with a little less. That flows nicely to the next point…
‘If it’s written down, do we believe it?’
The question opens up a whole area; tabloids, other written media, but I’ll stick to this subject. Apparently this is the case for some. If the review that could have been written by anyone, is good, that’s all that’s needed.
It’s ok to try and read between the lines, and it’s good to question what’s written. It doesn’t mean one is cynical, just healthily sceptical.
Is that what people who use these review sites need? Reassurance that they are doing the right thing? Surely that means that the majority are doing what it is that we want to do. “Baaaah!” Do something different. Live a little. If the holiday has a few snags because we didn’t look at a review site, that’s fine, it’s what holidays are about!
‘Incapable of making a decision’
Without the review sites at least. Let’s trust our instincts. Taste is subjective. I’m pretty sure I won’t like what most others like (because I’m awkward), so I will trust mine. Yes, it’s handy to be warned somewhere doesn’t have running water, but as for the food or decor, my taste will be different to yours so I should not rely solely on the opinion of others?
‘Have the courage of your convictions’
Yes, do! And it’s ok to not get everything right. We constantly strive for perfection in everything, when we cannot control everything. Have fun bemoaning the little differences in foreign lands. If ‘just like home’ is needed, stay home.