Travel Tuesday: Six tips to tell whether you can trust TripAdvisor reviews

Wading through online reviews can be tough. Follow these tips to weed out the bad reviews from the bad reviewers.
Wading through online reviews can be tough. Follow these tips to weed out the bad reviews from the bad reviewers. Getty

It’s travel Tuesday, where we check in with travel expert Claire Newell from Travel Best Bets for tips to make your next vacation a breeze. 

TripAdvisor has changed the travel world by giving travellers a public platform where they can, in many cases, complain.

READ MORE: Restaurant owner calls negative reviews ‘blackmail’ after video shows customer put hair into dish

But how can a savvy traveller differentiate between a genuinely bad review and what was simply a bad experience or someone’s personal opinion?

Here are some tips to get the most out of TripAdvisor.

WATCH: TripAdvisor tips

First, look for trends.

Don’t be swayed by one or two bad reviews in a sea of great ones. Take the time to read about 10 reviews and look for consistent issues.

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Next, check dates. Resorts and hotels change often and are renovated and placed under different management.

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If a review is more than a year old, it might not be your best point of reference.

Also, evaluate the reviewer.

Read other reviews by that person. Are they a seasoned traveller or is that the only review they have up?

WATCH: Success of BC’s favourite TripAdvisor restaurant ‘Little Hobo’

Also, are other reviews they have written in the same negative tone? This might be a hard-to-please person and their review shouldn’t necessarily be taken to heart.

Next, evaluate the responsiveness of management.

When a negative review appears, does management make a credible attempt to apologize or explain what happened?

READ MORE: TripAdvisor stops selling tickets to attractions featuring endangered animals

If you have unanswered questions, check out the forums on TripAdvisor where members may have raised the same concerns.

Don’t hesitate to contact reviewers and commentators to ask them questions as well.

Finally, look at the photos.

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Professional shots on hotel websites can be deceiving whereas photographs taken by real people offer a better glimpse at what a room really looks like.