The Art of Reviewing Bad Travel Experiences

8 ways to properly review a business that didn’t meet the standards.

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The Art of Reviewing Bad Travel Experiences [image source: morefmphilly.com], crowd ink, crowdink, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
The Art of Reviewing Bad Travel Experiences [image source: morefmphilly.com]

You’ve spent the whole day travelling only to arrive at a hotel room that looks nothing like the picture. Or, the tour you planned months in advance isn’t what you expected. What do you do? You may think people’s first idea is to find the nearest computer and post a bad review online, but a recent survey finds that’s not the case.

In fact, the latest research from TrueLocal, an Australian business directory and review platform, suggests that 67% of reviewers only post feedback after a positive experience, while only 6% of reviewers admitted to slamming businesses online when they’re upset.

All of that positivity isn’t just making businesses look good, the survey found that positive reviews make it easier for readers to make a purchasing decision compared to negative reviews.

Of course, however, that doesn’t mean you have to stay silent when something is wrong or different from what was promised. But there are more productive ways to resolve the problem besides an online rant.

  1. Don’t Wait Until You Get Home

If something is broken in your room, or the waiter was rude – whatever is grinding your gears – speak up! If you politely ask to speak to a manager or call the front desk as soon as you notice a problem, you’re more likely to nip the problem right then and there. Why wait until nothing can be done about it to complain?

  1. Keep the Feedback Constructive

Don’t just rant – be constructive. You’re alerting the business to a potential customer service problem, not telling them how you would do everything differently. Stick to the facts.

  1. Be Polite

This really should be step number one. The end goal is to get the other person to change something for you or do what you want, so you have to try and keep them on your side. Most people will want to help and the fastest way to mess it up is to yell, use expletives, or name call.

  1. Be Vocal About What Will Make You Happier

Some issues are easy to fix, but you can’t always expect people to read your mind. If the business owner isn’t proactive in offering something to improve the situation, ask for what you want! Ask for a reimbursement, a free breakfast, Wi-Fi code – whatever will make you happier (within reason!)

  1. Call Instead of Post

If you do decide to cool down or wait until you’ve returned home, try calling instead of posting an online review. Write down a list of what you expected and where it fell short to keep yourself on point.

  1. If You Can’t Call, Email

If the idea of calling makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, try emailing instead. Again, keep a brief list of what happened and how you think the issue can best be resolved. Keep it concise and clear. You also then have a ‘paper trail’ of your complaint.

  1. Take the Surveys

Many hotels and tour groups will send surveys following your visit. These are a great way to think about what you enjoyed and what wasn’t up to par. With a survey, you can still speak your mind, but without living in online infamy as the “crazy person who wrote 6 paragraphs complaining about the hotel pool temperature”.

  1. Let it Go

Decide whether or not the problem is really that big of a deal and if it’s not, move on. Life’s too short to sweat the small stuff, and hey, you’re already on holiday! Some things will be beyond your control, so pick your battles and speak up for what matters most to you.


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Lauren Trucksess is the Cofounder of Wish You Were Here, a travel and lifestyle blog that focuses on finding the world's most unique destinations, activities, and events. She and her partner Troy began the blog as a way to encourage others to create and share 'wish you were here' photos for friends and loved ones, a tradition they started as a long distance couple. Originally from the United States, Lauren is an avid traveller who has made Australia her new home. She lives in Sydney, where she also works as a PR and marketing professional.