This article has been updated in September 2021
Picking numerous accommodations for nearly 8 months continuously, I had to go through a lot of reviews in order to be able to pick the right hotel, tour and so on. As a result of that, I came to the conclusion that the inner world of some “reviewers” could be rather miserable. While many travellers often do have a valid point or two in their reviews, one can’t ignore the fact that some people have mistaken writing a review for a tool of venting their frustrations. Hence the title of this post: the sad world of a trip advisor “reviewers”.
The amount of negative “reviews” I’ve seen as well as their consequent impact on the small local businesses is not exactly insignificant. To elaborate on it, let’s create a supervillain “reviewer” and call him for example Richard. Richard Spoiley. No. Richard Spoiley Pratt 😉
So our friend Rich picks the cheapest hotel in town that’s normally used by the locals. Private room for 1/2 the price of what he’d pay for a bunk bed in an established backpackers’ hostel next door. The price is dropped to $5 but his expectations are still set up there, next to his white straight man privileges.
Rich had a bad night sleep because he drunk too much the night before and only semi-zombie-slept the whole following day. He doesn’t like feeling tired but he likes blaming everything but himself so he decides to deal with it in a form of a complaint on Trip Advisor or on another sad platform where people like our Richard can let their steam off.
The guests were not sociable enough and the owners and staff only spoke Spanish or just very bad English. The shower wasn’t hot enough, the Internet wasn’t as fast as in Richard‘s First World country. There was also a noisy party next door (the same spot Rich attended yesterday), oh and a towel wasn’t provided!
The place didn’t offer breakfast so he had to walk next door, where he had to listen to stories from yesterday’s epic party, which pissed him off even more. The bloody street dogs were barking all night, not to mention the roosters in the morning. Richard‘s life is just not easy. Everything is against him sometimes.
Consequences of vengeful reviews
With few Richards around, the locally owned business ratings drop, and together with various political unrest or/and the bloody Coronavirus travel restrictions, there are fewer guests and therefore less money so the cleaner is no longer required. The owner cleans herself to save the money she is now missing. Cleaner’s family lost 1/2 of their family income and their already economically challenged standards dropped even deeper…
In the meantime, the “liberal”, open-minded and cool haircut Rich Spoiley Pratt sips his 2-4-5 happy hour mojitos in a different town, all satisfied with himself how he gave it to that bloody local hotel. But then his mood swings because his mind produced yet another thought to be miserable about – that the happy hours should be longer.
“Just 6-8 pm bloody hell. Greedy bar owners, then I’ll have to pay $3 for each drink. And what kind of water they make their ice from anyway? OMG, is it the tap water?” The sad world of Rich, the king of the Trip Advisor “reviewers”.
Rich meets COVID-19
FYI, the whole piece above was written before the current situation with Coronavirus. Regardless of the massive consequences of the current pandemic is – can you imagine that Richard had his expensive Machu Picchu tour cancelled without a refund due to the outbreak and the consequent state of emergency? Can you imagine Richard, when he was told by Peruvian police officers that he really has to stay self-isolated in one place?
Not everyone is Rich
I would like to make sure that I’m not painting everyone with the same brush here. Even though I was rather shocked to discover that there’s a significant volume of various semi-Richards, I want to make it clear that I’m not talking about the majority of travellers.
Thankfully, most adventure-loving people are still nice and understanding people. You know who you are. The same stats apply for the Trip Advisor reviewers either. Even though one has to crawl through many reviews a’la Rich, the majority of them are still actually informative, rather than some sad unfair complaints.
I mean that the purpose of those reviews is to be informed about places objectively to deliver helpful information. Objective information could put you off or otherwise, depending on what kind of place you are looking for.
Flip side of the coin: The sad world of some service providers
I have to admit that there are also quite a few places that do deserve a warning because they cheat. It is however important to remember that some places lie to you knowing what they are doing and some just reflect the expectations of local tourists, where standards could be often very different, but then the price always gives it up in advance.
What I’m talking about is that it is important to separate an honest mistake or misunderstanding from the calculated flat lie or in fact any kind of SCAM, when the property offers partial info, the content of which is suitable for the cheating property owner only, while it purposefully fails to mention certain parts that might put customers off.
There are many reviews out there on several platforms. I believe that the trouble is that most people only write a review if they were extremely happy or otherwise. I mean – would you write a review if things were just OK? Not perfect but not bad? That’s a little issue I have with reviews – it’s like the TV news. There aren’t many reports of for example people having a good time during a music festival unless something bad happens.
There’s just not enough middle ground in this “review business”, which I believe is supposed to be the purpose of the review, right? And that’s not to mention the fake Trip Advisor reviewers, like for example this funny guy, who managed to rank his fake restaurant as Nr1 in London. However, except for many imperfections the reviewing platforms might come with, if you manage to distinguish which review is genuine and suitable for you, it might serve its purpose.
In case you wanted to read about a wee-bit related subject of travellers’ complaints, please click here.
So much for the consequence-free shared opinions 😉
Love, peace and understanding ;jb
Here’s few practical tips about travelling in Latin America
- Budget: in case you were interested, here‘s an article listing the country-by-country basic expenses for a traveller in Latin America
- Safety: Few safety tips on how to secure your valuables, what to watch out for and more could be found here
- Transport: Information, safety and some other practical advice regarding public transport in Latin America can be found here
- ATM withdrawal charges: Some practical info, including the list of free-of-charge ATMs in Latin America, can be found here
- Border fees: To find out how much will you have to pay to enter or exit certain countries in Latin America, please click here
- Pre-trip preparations: Few things you can do ahead of time before you’ll become frantically busy prior to your departure are listed here
- Packing list: What to take with you for an extended trip as well as some security tips could be found here
- Cheap Flights: few tips on how to score a cheap/er flight, better seat on a plane, where to get a nap at a particular airport and so on
Locations covered on Quaint Planet
Santiago de Chile ► Valparaíso ► Santiago de Chile ►Punta Arenas – Ushuaia – Punta Arenas ► Puerto Natales – Torres del Paine – Puerto Natales ► El Calafate (Perito Moreno Glacier, Arg) ► El Chaltén (Los Glaciares National Park) ► Chile Chico (Ch) – Puerto Rio Tranquillo (Marble Caves) ► Coyhaique – Puyuhuapi – (Carretera Austral) ► Puerto Chacabuco – Quellón/Castro ► Puerto Varas – San Carlos de Bariloche (Arg) ► Buenos Aires ► Colonia (Ur) ► Montevideo ► Punta del Diablo – Cabo Polonio ► Montevideo ► Salto ► Concordia (Arg) ► Puerto Iguazú (Iguazú Falls) ► Salta ► San Salvador de Jujuy ► Tilcara ► San Pedro de Atacama (Ch) ► Uyuni Salt Flats Tour (Bol) ► Uyuni ► Sucre – La Paz (Death Road Tour) ► Copacabana (Lake Titicaca) – Isla del Sol – Copacabana ► Cusco (Per) ► Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) ► Cusco ► Lima ► Máncora – Montañita (Ecu) ► Puerto López ► Quito ► Ipiales (Col) – Pasto ► Tatacoa Desert ► Bogotá ► Medellín ► Villa de Lleyva ► Santa Marta – Cartagena – Rincón del Mar Necoclí ► Capurganá ► Puerto Obaldía (Pan) ► Panama City ► Las Lajas ► Cerro Punta ► David ► Bocas del Torro ► San José (Costa Rica) ► San Juan del Sur (Nic) – Ometepe ► Granada ► Managua – El Rama – Bluefields – Corn Islans ► Léon ► El Tunco (El Salvador) ► La Antigua Guatemala – Lake Atitlán ► Lanquín (Semuc Champey) – Flores (Tikal) ► Belize City ► Bacalar – Tulum – Playa del Carmen – Mérida – Valladolid – Cancún ✈️ .