Booking a hotel on the internet is becoming more and more of a hassle as hotels are more concerned with keeping their reviews high rather than focusing on providing better service; often the hotels will take it as far as writing their own reviews. Luckily, there are a few techniques that you can apply to help you dredge the useful information out of the sea of Internet junk. To start, if you were coming to visit Berlin you’d simply Google Berlin hotels and pick a site. Next you would want to narrow down your search by picking an area that you actually want to see because being stuck 10 miles from where you actually wanted to go can be rough. Say you’re planning on staying at a hotel near Alexanderplatz, pick out one that fits well with your location and completely ignore the actual ratings. Instead of bothering to read the description you’ll start by scrolling down to the customer reviews where the action is at.
Ignore the Good reviews
Good reviews are full of vague and incredibly useless words like “awesome”, “great”, or “comfortable”. They won’t tell you if the staff knew what they were doing, how much the parking costs, whether you need to pay for Wi-Fi, or if there was a funny smell in the rooms. Good reviews can’t be trusted because half the time they are written by hotel staff or someone hired to write fake reviews that has never even been there. Along with very positive reviews you also can’t trust very high overall ratings since those might just be representative of a larger and more fake review program.
Read the Bad Reviews to gauge overall quality
Bad reviews are excellent for several reasons. Most importantly they can tell you what the hotel is like at its very worst. People who have a positive experience usually won’t bother to write a review at all, whereas someone who had a horrible time will get online to warn others away. Read lowest ratings and see what peoples’ worst experiences were like. If someone writes about their room being burgled while they were in it, bed bugs crawling around, or a generally dirty room you know that there is something very wrong with the hotel in general. On the other hand if the worst thing you see is someone complaining about standoffish staff, a too-cold pool, or expensive parking you know that even if it’s not a 5 star experience it probably meets normal sanitary hotel standards.
Find Reviews that rate Highly but don’t Gush
When the time comes to figure out which hotel is actually better than merely sanitary and downright hospitable you can start looking at the better reviews. Ignore any reviews that don’t have anything bad to say because they’re more likely to be fake. Reviews that tell stories and give specific descriptive information are the ones that you’ll want to pay attention to. Avoid reviews with vague statements about general atmosphere or reviews that sound suspiciously like a brochure.
Guy Pierson is a writer and globetrotter, currently working as a content creator for the EHIC travel support team at applyehic.org. Guy’s hobbies include learning new languages, eating bizarre food, and glider flying.