Help! How can I write really good reviews for TripAdvisor?


Dear HTWB Agony Columns

I want to start writing reviews for TripAdvisor as I love travel, vacations, eating out and all the other things they focus on. How can I write reviews that stand out and that may eventually lead to me being considered as a good, professional reviewer, perhaps for a local or regional magazine?

Thanks in anticipation!

Maureen from Nottingham, England

Hi Maureen

This is an interesting coincidence – recently I’ve started writing reviews for TripAdvisor, too! Mine are just about restaurants as I’m a fat glutton who doesn’t travel much other than from the UK to the US / Canada and back again … but eating out is a joy for me and I love to share my experiences.

Anyway, what advice would I have for you?

The first thing I would say is don’t be intimidated by the fact that you’re writing a review, and so feel you have to be nice about something if it isn’t / wasn’t.

You need to be honest – and pretty thorough

Nearly every day I get updates via email from TripAdvisor and so many of them are merely a few lines that say something like “great venue, good food, nice atmosphere.” End of.

The problem with these is that they don’t give enough real information about the place concerned, so that readers can make informed choices about it.

If you want your review to be valued, I think it’s important that you rate the venue as you feel appropriate using TripAdvisor’s rating system, but then pick out in your written section the parts you liked best and the parts you liked least. If the sheets weren’t very clean, don’t be afraid to say so. If the dessert was insipid, say so. If the swimming pool was over-crowded, say so. These are the facts that readers will find very helpful.

And don’t worry that readers will assume the problems you might highlight are permanent and long-term: everyone knows that a reviewer’s comments can only be made as snapshots of a venue, hotel, restaurant, etc., and that you might have caught them on a bad day. However, the fact that you alert readers to potential issues will be appreciated by them.

Share the facts and figures, too

Many TripAdvisor readers want to know prices, distances, and other facts and figures as these may well influence them in their decisions whether or not to try a place out. Try if you can to give a rough idea of costs in your review and how fair you found them. It’s worth making it clear, too, that the prices you quote were correct at the time of writing and give the date: once your review is a couple of years old the prices you quote will probably be out of date.

You don’t usually need to go into chapter and verse on details of location, address, opening hours etc. Such information normally will be available via the venue itself.

What’s more import here, though, is how accessible you found the place, whether it was easy via your sat nav or map, and within what realistic commuting /driving distance it was from your home, hotel or whatever base – especially if this took place in a heavily populated area. If the venue is well off the beaten track, it can help (assuming you recommend it!) if you give the real politik of how to get there from the nearest main road or highway. Some venues’ own directions on how to find them can be a little bit vague.

Restaurant,review,Tripadvisor,food,wine,criticIf you’re doing restaurant reviews, here’s some expert help

Some time ago I asked an old friend – an international chef and restaurant critic – to write an article for us here on how to write a restaurant review. It has since become one of the most popular articles on this site, so have a look at it now – here it is.

As you’ll see when you read the article and scroll down, my old pal Sam (after I had kicked and shouted at him a bit) wrote a wonderful short book that expanded on the topic and is well worth reading by anyone learning to be restaurant reviewer. Click through to get the Kindle book.

blogging,writing,blog writing,business,newsletter,,How To Write Better,Suzan St Maur

What does everyone else think? What advice would you have for Maureen?

While you’re here, stop by my Bookshop…books and eBooks to help you write better – and to give to friends and family …