few weeks ago, my mother and I were discussing travel.
specifically, we were discussing a trip Terry and I would be making
and a trip she was setting up with my father. Part of our conversation
covered the internet, which involved some of the things that go
into researching, booking, and just in general poking around.
the real conversation was more fun than anything else. We shared
some common headaches and complaints about the entire process.
We laughed about how silly and out of touch people can be. And
we discussed how frustrating it is to get straightforward information.
of the honest information troubles was actually found in almost
all of our conversation about travel coverage on the web. And
as we talked, she mentioned one of my pet peeves about the internet.
Mom wandered into how unreliable and unhelpful several reviews
and comments were. And since sound effects don’t work that well
between writer and reader, you’ll have to take this and use a
bit of your own imagination…
Ding * Ding * Ding * unreliable internet * Ding * Ding * Ding*
Marx would be giving away a prize for revealing the magic word.)
I don’t believe the idea that material on the internet and considering
the source need much of an introduction overall. Like another
example, buyer beware, there’s plenty of reasons and evidence
for why all of us should wander through web pages with skepticism
and lie detectors on full alert… and if we get drawn in by it,
well, it’s probably on us.
there is a bit more than just general awareness. And for me to
cover the ground, I want to meander back to a trip I took in 2013.
Ellen, Richard and I were headed to Savannah, Georgia. As was
the case for many of the adventures the four of us shared, ahead
of the actual events Ellen and I would spend some time looking
around and making plans. Could be as simple and obvious as plane
tickets and car rentals. Could be as creative as some hunting
for hidden treasures.
of the funnier things we kept encountering was crazy thoughts
involving hotel stays in Savannah.
quick step to the side, same trip.
of the best tricks to interpreting online reviews is to look for
repeated words, phrases and concepts. In general—widely
sweeping and very general—ideas and experiences mentioned
by one commentator need to be viewed as isolated. Place them into
that your experiences may vary classifications. But if several
people are mentioning the same item in a similar fashion, it could
be worth exploring a bit.
and I stumbled across a ton of reviews and comments, praise and
complaints, involving Savannah. This went for the community as
well as different businesses. One thing that came up several times
involved critiques about parking. That we found interesting, and
we asked several questions about it. Turned out, it was a lesson
we would understand quite well after our visit, and one we benefitted
a bit by being able to ask about often.
of these things can be brilliant and beneficial. But the brilliant
and beneficial can be like panning for gold… intensive, exhausting,
and frequently disappointing. The point is, you don’t always have
to have a bad experience in order to recognize bad information.
expressed… back to the search.
place we kept coming back to was the Residence Inn Midtown.
is a bit out of the center of activity. We took roughly ten to
fifteen minutes to drive into the heart of Savannah each day,
meaning in the car and leaving the hotel lot to the point where
we would be parked and standing on the sidewalk ready to begin
an activity. In general, I would tell you it was an affordable,
friendly, convenient place to stay. Not only suited our needs,
it exceeded our expectations. I would gladly stay there again,
and I would refer you there for your trip.
I mentioned crazy thoughts.
thoughts about Residence Inn Midtown number one – Ice
comment on a travel review site featured someone that was incredibly
ticked off about the ice cream bars offered by the hotel.
consider… this location was a fairly low-priced option compared
to many other hotels in Savannah. Terry, Ellen, Richard and I
got a two-bedroom suite, with a mini-kitchen (full refrigerator),
for less than one standard room without a kitchen area would have
been in several other places. Plus, they offered a breakfast every
morning and a happy hour every evening. Breakfast included hot
and cold options, cereal, pastries, yogurt, waffles and more.
Snacks covered wine, water and soft drinks with an assortment
of cookies, cheese and crackers. Very impressive for a lower-dollar
bonus offered by this Residence Inn. Every day, if you checked
the freezer in your room, you would find ice cream bars. You know,
such as a Klondike bar. We found four every evening. One per person.
this reviewer was extremely disappointed, and reviewed the property
very low on the satisfaction scale, because of these ice cream
they were ice cream bars in the freezer. They weren’t a rolled
room to room, fourteen flavors, hot fudge and caramel and assorted
topping with whipped cream and cherries, serve yourself a treat
ice cream bar.
thoughts about Residence Inn Midtown number two – Dollars
and cents and wine
the first crazy thought I mentioned the breakfast and happy hour
offerings at the Residence Inn Midtown.
another site, a person slammed the quality of the wine offered
each evening. Person was extremely upset that they seemed to be
pouring nothing but what was referred to as $10 bottles.
hoping that without much explanation you see the crazy in these
two individuals and their rants. And yet… crazy as they both are…
they each share a couple of reasons for being part of my thoughts
when it comes to online reviews.
of all, they’re fun and stupid and obvious. You’re staying in
a room with two separate bedrooms, a sitting area, table and kitchen,
for under $200 per night. AND that place is clean and safe. AND
that place meets all of your needs. AND that place is offering
food without charge such as a strong breakfast menu plus an afternoon/evening
snack bar. I don’t think there’s a lot of ways to support someone
pissed off at not finding an ice cream sundae bar at the door
to the room each day or expensive bottles of wine on limitless
idea, they are obvious offerings of the extremes. When I or anyone
else gives you the advice of considering the source, then you
head to an online grouping of travel reviews to find someone complaining
that high-end wasn’t being served at the complimentary hotel cheese
and crackers soiree, the consider the source alarms should be
sounding off at the highest levels of steer clear of this one
that’s the funny thing. Because in reality, the problems begin
not with recognizing consider the source advice. There are a ton
of ways you should be able to see things that are happening and
understand the sources aren’t reliable. Instead, the problems
that I see for people seem to develop from applying context.
instance: How can you spot a review, endorsement or slam from
someone and be absolutely positive the person has an overwhelming
bias in the situation?
with complete certainty. There is no way to know that person creating
the post is the sister of the business owner, a competitor from
across the street that doesn’t offer the same quality and decided
to go on the attack, a customer that was or wasn’t truly wronged
but in either case has the power to vent online.
it’s like hearing about phone scams. We all know they exist and
think we’re smart enough to spot them when they come along.
But there are things you can do to approach and process the information.
And in many cases, this is where consider the source meets realistic
for themes, words and concepts that repeat. If one person says
the cramped parking lot caused trouble when the tow truck showed
up to work on the family’s car, you might have someone venting.
When every other comment is about difficulties parking, such as
lack of spaces, tickets being issued and stolen items, you might
want to do a bit of investigating.
what’s important for you. If you’re looking for clean rooms and
a breakfast option at the hotel, suddenly an ice cream bar in
the fridge is a bonus. Complaints about the lack of room service
caramel sauce and chocolate sprinkles are funny.
the end, people can find whatever it is they want to find. Reasons
to visit a location. Reasons to stay away. The only thing that
really matters is an understanding that pretty much everyone has
an opinion. It’s up to you to decide whether or not to listen