Staying in a hotel, hostel, dorm or whatsoever can be a great experience. Or a terrible nightmare. Either way, you can help fellow travelers by writing a review. Here’s how you can help them pick the right spot for them AND how you will benefit from that!
Writing reviews isn’t the nicest thing to do, unless you like writing as much as I do. But by making it a habit, you will discover it is very easy to write an honest review that can help lots of travelers with picking a nice place to stay. With these few tips you can leave a review in a just few minutes.
Who’s you audience?
Pick a platform that you use for reading reviews. I usually use Tripadvisor (check my reviews if you are interested) as my guide to proper places. This platform gives me the opportunity to select the type of traveler that wrote the reviews and shows me if friends went to similar places. Booking.com is nice to book, as are Hostelworld and Hostelbookes. But for reviews I never use these websites, simply because the reviews do not give me the information I am looking for. (For instance, if I read on Hostelworld that it was a nice place to hang out with other people, it usually means it is a partyhostel. I rather read about the quality of the beds, the aircon, silence or location.) Once you have picked your platform you can start writing.
Give a little background
When you write a review, do not forget that you came to a place with certain expectations. Make sure that you have a complete profile, so people know if you are in your 20’s or 60’s, if you were travelling solo, with a family or with friends. If you don’t have a profile, make sure to provide these simple basics in a few lines. It will help others to decide whether they feel like you are similar to them. Once you’ve done that, write about your experiences and relate them to your expectations. It is not useful to write that the place was too hot if you forget to check if there was aircontioning. If for some reason things didn’t work out as I expected I can still give the information about that without sounding angry. For instance: ‘after a long trip I was looking for a hot shower and a soft bed. And luckily this place had everything I expected. The friendly staff however told me that hot water was only available after 6 pm due to electricity shortage.’
Unless you are traveling at 5 star quality (and rates) there is always a chance that your experience is not exactly what you were hoping for. If that happens, first talk to the staff while you are still there. Don’t get angry (you wouldn’t help someone if he came to you with an angry voice, right?) just try to explain what you were expecting and see if they can somehow meet your expectations. Don’t use your review to get back at someone or to just ruin a reputation. It is not nice to read and you want to avoid an endless discussion on a review-website. Also, keep in mind that standards can be different in a country. I have read hundreds of reviews from people that were complaining that there was no proper shower or WiFi-signal while they were in the middle of the jungle on a deserted island. Be real and do not expect western facilities if you are travelling in third or second world countries. While travelling, I met fellow travelers that also had read those reviews and we had a good night of laughs about hilarious stories of furious women complaining about hairdryers and people complaining about the lack of a chair in the shower to wash their feet in the footwashingbowl (which was of course a bidet).
Find a least one positive feature
Most people never write a review until they have a bad experience. If you are one of those people, than first try to write down at least one positive feature about the place before you start sharing your horrors. Is makes your review sound less agressive or angry and it helps you to think about the positive parts of your trip.
Benefit from your reviews
Writing reviews also has benefits for the writer. It helps you to cherish great moments. That is, if you get into the habit of writing a review after every stay. Because writing down the good stories is helpful too. If you had a bad experience, writing it down with at least one positive point about the accomodation helps to smoothen the rough edges of your review. When you visit multiple places in one country you can start writing reviews after having visited at least 3 places, so you know what the standards are at your destination. The best benefit however is karma. For every review you’ll write there is a thankful reader. And with every review you inspire others to do the same, so you will read more and more useful reviews from likeminded travellers. After a while you will start to recognise if people are giving an honest review or just using it as a complaintform.
You see, it is so easy to make the world a better place while you travel. Happy travels!