The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
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The website I am reviewing here is TripAdvisor.co.uk not TripAdvisor.com as stated above which is more American. The UK version does of course still cover worldwide hotels etc.
I have been a member of TripAdvisor.co.uk for over a year now, and it has proved to be a useful and valuable site, which I use often.
Basically it is probably best known as a review site for anyone wishing to post a review about a hotel, holiday location, attraction etc, and also a useful place to visit for anyone thinking of booking a hotel or holiday, and wondering what the place will be like. You can search for a hotel, holiday park or location in the search bar, then read the customer reviews for that particular place. It is a popular site with over 20 million traveller reviews and opinions. However, it is also much more than that!
You can register to the site with your name and email address, then all the reviews you write will be stored under 'My Contributions'. Also displayed will be the number of people who have marked your review as helpful. You can also upload photographs along with your review. I have wrote a number of reviews myself. This is easy and straight-forward, and after submitting a review to the site it will be checked, and you receive an email when your review is published on the site.
There is a forum on the site also and people often use this to ask a specific question about a hotel or location, and members will answer their queries. Or if you read a review and would like to know more, or ask a specific question, then you can send a message to the person who wrote it via the site. The option is also there to 'compliment a reviewer' , you can enclose a message with your compliment if you wish. I have done this myself and found members to be very helpful, and likewise a couple of members have got in touch with me and asked further questions about places I have reviewed, and I was happy to help. It does seem a friendly site. Any questions I have had have been answered.
You also have a travel map which pinpoints where you have been and you can make this available for other people to see if you wish. It is a 'at a glance' guide to where you have visited and you can also use this to plan trips. There is a useful newsletter you can sign up to receive and also have the option to subscribe to Tripwatch, where you can enter specific locations or hotels and you will be alerted by email when new reviews are available. You can opt to receive updates and news of offers and competitions via email too.
Another feature of the site is the hotel finder, you can type in the location you are planning to visit and your check-in and check-out dates. A list of hotels will appear, where you can read reviews, check availability and book. Search filters are available to narrow your search if you wish. Not only can you search and book hotels, but also flights. Links are provided to tour operators and also holiday parks to make bookings for holidays.
One of my favourite things about the site is the 'restaurant finder'. I was visiting Edinburgh recently and clicked on 'Restaurants' and typed in 'Edinburgh'. The option appeared for me to enter a particular type of restaurant, ie - Indian, and also what I was looking for, ie - romantic meal, child friendly, outdoor seating, takeaway option etc to narrow your search if you are looking for something specific. You can also specify a price range.
After making my selections, a list of suitable restaurants in Edinburgh appeared and were listed in order of popularity with the members of TripAdvisor. You can click on a restaurant, read reviews and diner ratings and even reserve a table at some of them via Top Table, which when clicking on the link takes you to a section to book your table.
So this really is a one-stop place when booking a hotel, holiday or short-break/overnight stay, as you can plan and book your trip via the site and even book your restautants!
There is a lot of useful information on the site and simply by typing in a location, information will appear, informing you of accomodation, attractions in the area, restaurants, special offers and traveller articles, as well as a brief history of the place. Photographs and video guides are available and there are pdf files available to download which gives you free guides to your chosen location.
It is a very comprehensive and useful site and one I cannot do without before booking a holiday or hotel. I only wish I had found it sooner, as I booked a disastrous holiday 18 months ago, and had I read the reviews beforehand I would not have gone!
Make TripAdvisor your first stop when booking a hotel or holiday.