I have long had a love/hate relationship with Tripadvisor. I visit her often, she’s very opinionated, and is always good for a laugh. Below are a few reasons why.
Love- I love that Tripadvisor has traveler photos. I always check out accommodations on their direct website (if they have one), but traveler photos can provide a more accurate view of important factors such as common area environment, cleanliness of bathrooms, style of rooms, and general atmosphere. With more realistic expectations, I find that I am not disappointed that the rooms don’t all look like the suite with perfect lighting portrayed on the official website.
Hate- I hate that Tripadvisor is often used as a punching bag for a bunch of complainers. “You mean that your $3 beach front room in Cambodia had some ants? The horror! Roosters outside your hostel woke you up in the morning? How dare they!” Let’s get real people; you are paying for budget accommodations, you can’t expect 5 star luxuries. I feel so bad for great hostels/guesthouses with low ratings because pessimistic people get off on finding fault in everything. The staff might not offer to carry your bags, get over it.
Love- I love that you can filter the reviews by trip type. For example you can choose to read reviews from solo travelers, couples, families, etc. Since I like to party yet also enjoy relaxing and getting a decent nights sleep, by filtering the reviews I can get better insight into if a hostel is a good match for me.
Hate- I hate that Tripadvisor does not provide a link to hotels official websites for pricing and booking. I am guessing this is because they have affiliations with external booking sites such as expedia.com or hotels.com and they want you to book through them. However, as a reputable travel site, I think they should provide direct websites for users.
Love- I love that you can filter reviews by date. I find you get a better feel for the places current status when you can see recent reviews. For example, by doing this you can see if a hotel is under construction, if there has been a positive or negative change in management, or if the overall hype of a place has been maintained or enhanced. Although not as important as the traveler type filter or the traveler pictures, it is still nice to get a feel for an accommodations current vibe.
Conclusion-All in all I really do love Tripadvisor and continue to utilize it for my travels. It can be a valuable resource as long as one can learn how to read between the lines.