Picking numerous accommodations for nearly 8 months continuously, I had to go through a lot of reviews of places to stay. Together with witnessing various conversations of my fellow customers, I gathered worrying statistics about what certain travellers sometimes complain about. As a result of such observations, I have to say the world of some people could be rather miserable.
The amount of negative “reviews” I’ve seen as well as their consequent impact on the small local businesses is not exactly insignificant. To elaborate on it, let’s create a super villain ‘reviewer’ and call him for example Richard. Richard Spoiley. No. Richard Spoiley Pratt 😉
So our friend Rich picks the cheapest hotel in town that’s normally used by the local tourists. Private room for 1/2 the price of a bunk bed in an established backpackers’ hostel next door. The price is dropped to $5 but his expectations are still set up there next to his white straight man privileges.
Rich had a bad night sleep because he drunk too much the night before and only semi-zombie-slept the whole following day. He doesn’t like being tired but he likes blaming everything but himself so he decides to deal with it in a form of a complaint on Trip Advisor or on another sad platform where people like our Richard can let their steam off.
The guests were not sociable enough and the owners and staff they only spoke Spanish or just a very bad English. The shower wasn’t hot enough, the Internet wasn’t as fast as in Richard‘s First World country. There was also a noisy party next door (Rich attended yesterday but today he wanted to sleep his hangover off), oh and a towel wasn’t provided!
The place didn’t offer breakfast so he had to walk next door, where he had to listen stories from yesterday’s epic party, which pissed him off even more. The bloody street dogs were barking all night, not to mention the roosters in the morning. Richard‘s life is just not easy. Everything is against him sometimes.
With few Richards around, the locally owned business ratings drop, there are fewer guests and therefore less money so the cleaner is no longer required. The owner cleans herself to save the money she is now missing. Cleaner’s family lost 1/2 of their family income and their already economically challenged standards dropped even deeper…
In the meantime, the “liberal, openminded and cool haircut” Rich Spoiley Pratt sips his 2-for-3 happy hour mojitos in a different town, all satisfied with himself how he gave it to that bloody hotel. But then his mood swings because his mind produced a thought that the happy hours should be longer. “Just 6-8pm bloody hell. Greedy bar owners, then I’ll have to pay $3 for each drink. And what kind of water they make their ice from anyway? OMG, is it the tap water?”
Not everyone is Rich
Yep. However, saying all that – I want to make it clear that I’m not talking about majority of travellers but there are far more (half) Richards than I would have ever expected. Thankfully, most travellers are still nice and understanding people (you know who you are) and I would like to stress that, while making sure that I’m not painting everyone with the same brush here at the same time..
The same stats apply for the reviews either. Eventhough one has to swim through many reviews a’la Rich, most of them are actually informative, rather than being a mistaken unfair complaint for the review. There are plenty reasonable reviewers that would actually give you a crucial information about the place instead of whining about some service the property doesn’t even advertise to provide or things the property can not affect.
I mean that the purpose of those reviews is to be informed about places objectively to deliver helpful information, not some over-expectation vengeful bullshit of Richard or some over-celebrating of smth that was just OK because someone had a great time there. Objective information that could put you off or otherwise, depending on what kind of place you are looking for.
I have to admit that there are also quite a few places that do deserve a a warning because they cheat. It is however important to remember that some places lie to you knowing what they are doing and some just reflect the expectations of local tourists, where standards could be often very different, but then the price always gives it up in advance.
What I’m talking about is that it is important to separate an honest mistake or misunderstanding from the calculated lie or a semi-lie, when the property offers a partial info which is suitable for the cheating property owner only, while it purposefully fails to mention certain parts that might put customers off.
So much for the consequence-free shared opinions 😉
Love, peace and understanding ;jb