Travel

Are platforms like Tripadvisor really that important? The good and bad of review sites.

So, you fancy going to a new restaurant? Somewhere nice, not too pricey but does great food. Do you gamble, and hope you stumble across what you’re looking for? Or do you do your research?

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be on Google faster than you can say Tripadvisor!

As a society, we heavily rely on other people’s opinions and reviews, which affects our decisions on where we visit, eat, or go on holiday.

Now more than ever, we want to get as much information as possible before going somewhere we’ve never been because of the looming consequences of coronavirus.

Tripadvisor acts as a dream come true.

It provides a sense of comfort and safety by knowing what to expect—we can prepare for the experience to get the most out of it. We won’t be shocked by prices, dress code, or customer service, because we already know it all.

But does this take the fun out of it?

For the more spontaneous amongst us, the ‘not knowing’ aspect is the most exciting part.

When you think about it, sites like Tripadvisor had to start somewhere. There had to be a first person to go somewhere or do something without any pre-information. This is almost impossible now.

It can feel like everywhere already has a reputation or a label defining its experience. Sometimes taking a risk can be much more rewarding and the outcome provides a far better adventure.

We must also consider the impact of negative reviews online. Of course, not everywhere is going to be a five-star experience—there will be occasions where elements of a business can be improved. It’s still important to remember how our comments and reviews can affect others. Since the beginning of the pandemic there has been a noticeable rise of ‘difficult’ customers, generally because of impatience and lack of understanding.

Titled “UK tourism boom sparks backlash against ‘Tripadvisor warriors’”, The Guardian published an article highlighting the bad reviews of a cafe in Fowey, Cornwall. Staff felt their mental health was seriously affected after reading the negative comments online. We must ask ourselves whether a bad review is really worth it if we’re damaging people’s health.

We tend not to think of individual cases like this, as we focus on the company or institution as an untasteful corporate being. Potentially, this could lead down a very dangerous road, as it’s much easier to do damage when you’re sitting behind a screen.

Nevertheless, we can’t ignore the undeniable helpfulness of review sites like Tripadvisor. In a world of constant change and unprecedented times, comfort in knowing what to expect can be a godsend. The guaranteed solace of knowing you’re awaiting a pleasant evening out somewhere you haven’t been before, is the kind of ‘small things’ we appreciate and need to balance out the tough realities that life can throw at us.


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14/09/2021

About Author

Phoebe Lucas



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