If you want to book a beach resort, or any room anywhere for that matter, you can find reviews online. They are very informative but in a subjective sort of way. The questions you need to ask when reading them are: Who to believe? What to believe? When to believe it?
Everyone’s a Critic
With easy access to the rest of the world simply with the pounding of a few keys on a keyboard, anyone can be a critic. That can be a good thing and a bad thing. Some people will complain about anything which doesn’t give you an accurate view of the place. Also, People are more inclined to go to the trouble to post a review if they are mad or feel slighted while less of them will bother for positive reviews. Keep this in mind when reviewing them.
Who to Believe
Tripadvisor is the acknowledged king of reviews for resort, hotels, restaurants and the like. They are best at overseas destinations and probably the most widely used. You can find reviews online from package providers like Travelocity, Orbitz, Apple Tours, and Funjet as well—and these offer pretty objective reviews. The resort you’re going to will have reviews on their site, but third party sites are much more reliable for accuracy. Not to accuse anyone of fudging on the details, but resorts are not very likely to keep bad reviews up on their own site. On the other hand, I recently was researching a trip to Panama and could tell the same person was writing about several hotels as she used the same verbiage, pretty much word for word, in complimenting two different hotels in different cities that were miles apart. Search out reviews on third party sites that cover all the resorts in your desired area for the most honest batch of reviews.
What to Believe
Some people will complain about anything. I once saw a review on the first resort I visited in Mexico that said they serve too much Mexican food. Huh? It’s Mexico, that’s kind of why you went there isn’t it? Someone also complained the salt water at the beach tasted like s***. Thomas Cook Vacations reports some real doozies like, “I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure didn’t mention mosquitos.” This one was one of my favorites, “They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting to my husband who was trying to relax.”
When to Believe
To get an accurate idea of the resort you will visit you need to read a lot of reviews. Realize that some people will complain about any and everything. One guy will say the food was crap and the next five will rave about the dining experience. Keep in mind more will complain than compliment, and use a large sample to get the right info.
Hard to Believe
To give you an idea of who, when, and what to believe, and to reinforce that you need a large sample to get an accurate view, I leave you with a few more reviews sent to Thomas Cook Vacations:
“We booked an excursion to a water park but no one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We thought that was included in the price.”
“The beach was too sandy; we had to clean everything when we returned to our room.”
“It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It only took the Americans three hours to get home. That doesn’t seem fair.”