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In this day and age of social media, it’s super easy to check out what other people are saying about a resort or destination that you are thinking about traveling to but should you trust every one of them?

While not knocking travel review sites (because we use them as well), you just need to be sure that you are getting the best information from the total strangers that are reviewing the hotel or destination.  Here are some tips of how to make the most of the online reviews.

Avoid the reviews that are overly negative or overly positive:

If you are looking at a hotel which has some mixed reviews, ignore the ones that say “I want to stay here forever” and the ones that rip the hotel apart.  You never know if the guest at a hotel had a horrible flight or if the airline lost his luggage or the room wasn’t ready upon his arrival.  Conversely, you don’t know if the overly positive review wasn’t written by a marketing company or the hotels own employees.

Look for reviewers from your area:

If you are looking at an all inclusive resort in the Caribbean, try to read the reviews from people from your general area.  Regional food preference can really color the reviewer’s opinion of the resort food.  The same for service.  Europeans will almost always rank a hotel differently than an American- again due to regional differences in travel and food styles.

Look for specifics in the review:

Words like decent or even great don’t help out enormously if they don’t back it up with specific reasons why the hotel was great or terrible.  While the reviews with more specifics may be longer to read, you can get valuable insight into the reviewer’s reasons for the score when they offer specific info about the hotel.

Give more credence to a reviewer who is more like you:

If you are a 50 year old, from NYC who is very well traveled and and only wants to relax on a beautiful beach, consider the reviews from people more like you.  Reviews written by 22 year old honeymooners who never traveled out of their city before might be much more impressed with everything than you might be.  Again, regional difference count as well as age and experience difference can make a difference.

Consider what the reviewer booked and what his expectations were:

If the reviewer just booked the cheapest room online and expected to come to the hotel and get an upgrade, that can color a review when he wasn’t granted the upgrade.  Also, realize that room and bedding requests are never guaranteed.  Unless you confirm a king bedded room, you might not get it upon arrival.  The same thing with early check in.  When arriving in Europe at 8am, you can’t expect your room to be ready so that you can rest and shower.  Check in time is usually around 3pm.  Again, these kind of expectation can change the tone of the review.

 My Vacation Lady knows that you are going to consider the reviews but realize that unless you know who the reviewer is and what their expectations were, we suggest relying on our personal and client feedback and our expertise more than just reading reviews from people you don’t know, especially if there are mixed reviews.

My Vacation Lady uses the personal approach to vacation and honeymoon planning along with our years of experience and worldwide contacts to help match you to the right resorts.