As per my previous posting, it is now time to share with all my experience using a number of holiday review websites.
Other than the usual browsing of these websites, I introduced each of the websites that were subjected to the review to a new contributor by the name of Dave White. Dave recently went on a holiday to the El Dorado Seaside Suites in Mexico and tried to leave a review and tried to post on the respective forums of the sites a question about a future holiday to be had in Mexico.
Easily the biggest of the review websites. The site layout is easy on the eye but does have very annoying pop-ups, pop-unders as well as divs springing up at the top and bottom of the screen. Adding a hotel review was as easy as typing in the name of the hotel in the search box, with predictive suggestions aiding, pressing the “write a review” button, completing the review and entering a few details to create an account. The review was approved within 24 hours.
Equally, making a post on the forum is very easy. Press the “ask a question” button and you are straight into typing the message. The same account as the one created when the review was submitted is used and the message is instantly displayed on the forum. A reply to the question was received within 5 hours with an email notification advising that a reply to the topic was made.
Overall, the user experience has been good. Very efficient and it does exactly what is expected. A site that you would go back to in order to get more information.
A review website that is owned by TUI UK. The forum is very difficult to find (more about that later). Adding a review was easy. However, despite not wanting to write a review about the resort this had to be completed. Quite surprising, the review was shown immediately which means that there was no check in place to stop fake reviews being displayed.
As hinted above, the forums are very difficult to find. There is no link to them from the main menu bar. Not that it really matters as the registration process to join the forums could not be completed in any case. Subsequently, I could not post the question so can’t judge how quick a response would be forthcoming.
Overall, a very poor performance. Not a site you would go back to in order to get more information.
Owned by Webdibular Limited. A very bright introduction page with an easy to navigate menu. Registration to the forums was easy. The posting made was held in a moderation queue and was approved within the hour. The question asked on the forum remains unanswered despite (or perhaps because of) it being merged to an existing topic.
In terms of the hotel review, despite the promise that they “shall review it and add it to the website with [sic] 24 hours” the review is still not being displayed. Adding it was straight forward once I discovered that the hotel was listed under Cancun rather than the correct area of Riviera Maya. No terms and conditions had to be agreed to before submitting the review. Of note is that all the reviews displayed for the El Dorado Seaside Suites don’t show the year they apply to.
Overall, “can do better” would be the most appropriate rating and not somewhere you would go back to in order to get more information.
Owned by Tripadvisor. The layout of the site is clean. Registration to the forums was very easy with instant approval of the topic posted. Three replies to the question asked were made within a reasonable time.
In terms of the review of the hotel, this was straight forward too and as simple as typing in the name of the hotel and then being presented with the respective form to complete the review. The review was approved within 24 hours.
However, it is pretty clear that Holiday Watchdog is owned by Tripadvisor. The latter site’ reviews are shown on the former. To a web user, there is no need to visit Holiday Watchdog when Tripadvisor can do the same, only a little better.
Real Holiday Reports
What a car crash of a site! The home page looks like a bunch of adverts thrown together rather than a structured holiday review website.
Their forums don’t work anymore. When they did, the registration couldn’t be completed as the email containing the activation link never arrived. It couldn’t have been because there was an error in the submission as, what I class as spam, emails have been received coming from the server of Real Holiday Reports.
In terrms of submitting the holiday review, this was straight forward once I worked out how to get to the name of the hotel. Given the level of spam received by email, I dread to think what kind of rubbish would have come through my letterbox had I decided to give them my postal address when submitting my review. On a positive note, the review was approved in a timely manner.
Overall, one to avoid. Move on swiftly. Nothing to see here.
So broadly speaking and in conclusion, it is clear that Tripadvisor leads the pack with the other sites desperately trying to compete.