Trip reports, book reviews, holiday advisors, opinions in general
Woah ! Hold on – thank you for the many faxes and e-mails but I cannot answer all of you! So I will try to address the main issues collectively here. Comments, questions and opinions received can be divided neatly in to three different piles:-
– People who feel it is their “right” to say what they think.
Yes, it is your “right” to speak out. But it is not your right to do so at the cost of somebody who has never hurt you, who probably works very hard, and whose business could suffer as a result of your comments. You need to see the difference between giving valuable and helpful information about where you stayed/ate/what you read/purchased/whatever and simply venting your frustration. Take it as a foregone conclusion that the owner of the hotel/restaurant/writer/manufactuer/whatever does his or her best to have Happy Customers. The fact that he did not get it quite right for YOU is not a reason to post a nasty report. Furthermore, just as you assert your right to say what you think, you have to accept the other party’s right to say what he or she thinks of YOU.
If you do have a complaint to make, remain polite and friendly. Rude and abrupt messages will usually be met with rude and abrupt responses or, at best, non-committal and sterile responses. You cannot seriously expect the owner/hotelier/whatever to give your message serious and considered thought if you are being rude. It is more likely he or she will bin it without looking further. And I don’t blame them.
– People who depend on reading good reviews for making choices.
Deary me. I don’t know how many holidays and trips I have been on or how many restaurants I have eaten in, how many books I have read, nor how many products I have bought – I’d be loathe to attempt to count! – yet I have never EVER read a review or a report first. I take the rough with the smooth; I enjoy it if it is good and do not return if it is bad. And that is what you should do too. Some people are good at having a good time and others are not, regardless of where they are or what the place is like. What was a bad/good experience for one person is not so for another; likewise just because one person said such-and-such was dreadful/wonderful it does not mean that it really was.
– Restauranteurs, authors, manufacturers, hoteliers and gite owners who have been victim of bad reports.
Something so difficult is that while the web sites that post the reviews will post any old bad review willy-nilly, they “vet” the good reviews in case it is a false one. A good review for my own place was recently rejected because, Trip Advisor said, it came from my own lap top …. well, yes. It was written on my lap top by a lady staying here. She and her family come every year. On top of this, people are far more likely to write a bad review, all fuelled-up by their annoyance, than happy and contented customers are to write a good one. This makes it hard and unfair for the owner/manager/author. People’s nights out or holidays and special events are extremely important to them – and so they should be – and whoever they book for the function should do his best to meet the required standards …. But some of the vicious and quite simply evil reports I have been shown by fellow traders in the last few months beggar belief!
So, Golden Rules:
1) Totally ignore reviews that tell you about a one-off incident that is not relevant to you or to the world in general unless, of course, it is a funny or interesting incident for your entertainment
2) Bear in mind that the owner/manager will not let THAT happen again, whatever it was, so there is no need for you to worry anyway
3) Review sites give a “badge” to review-writers, encouraging them to write reviews even if the reviews are rubbish – good or bad
4) Be your own man. It is crazy to depend on what one or two other people said
5) When reading a review ignore anything that smacks of vengeance, wingeing, pettiness (there was no bread knife, for example) and ignore anything that is making a personal stab at the owner (he was grumpy, for example)
6) When writing a review bear in mind your AIM: what are you writing the review FOR ? Just for the love of hearing your own voice (so to speak) ? Or do you feel you have valuable and interesting information (good or bad) to impart to others ?
7) Finally, to the owners I would say: do not blacklist people unless they really were so dreadful and you sincerely would not wish them on other owners. Either learn from the criticism or ignore it. Enjoy the praise !
(The sketch was done in Azerbaijan – now, if ever I had cause for complaint it was there! But the man was working so hard and doing his very best and has doubtless by now got his act together.)
Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist. She is widely travelled and writes regularly for magazines and blog sites. Her sketches are on her web site http://turquoisemoon.co.uk . Her books are available from Amazon and on Kindle, or can be ordered from several leading book stores.
Click below for “A Call from France”, a true story. Recent comment: this book is a must-read for all mothers, especially mothers of teenagers.
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Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist. Her books are available as e-books on this site:-
https://payhip.com/b/tEva “A Call from France”
https://payhip.com/b/OTiQ “French Sand”
https://payhip.com/b/BLkF ”The Man with Green Fingers”
https://payhip.com/b/1Ghq “Saying Nothing”
They are also available on Amazon & Kindle, or can be ordered as paperbacks from most leading book stores and libraries.