Last week I was excited to get a call from a Sky News producer asking me if I would be interviewed as guest on their Technology show, Swipe.
I was interviewed over skype about the effects of technology and review sites such as Trip Advisor on travel planning and it got me thinking about how much of the adventure is being taken out of travel due to advancing technology and review sharing.
When I backpack or take a long vacation, it rarely occurs to me to check Trip Advisor about where to stay, what to see and do. Reading reviews and having expectations can take the adventure out of the journey. I want to discover things for myself without prejudice. As a travel writer, even the bad experiences are useful because at the very least, you always come away with a story.
On the other hand, when I take a city break – where time is precious and limited – I rely heavily on review sites. The Trip Advisor App is my go-to when it comes to picking a hotel or making a restaurant reservation. When I don’t have the luxury of time to wander aimlessly, I need to feel that the basics of accommodation, attractions and dining are taken care of so I can enjoy my spare time being a tourist without the pressures of making hit and miss decisions based on absolutely nothing.
Sky raised the question of fake reviews and I wonder how it affects other travellers? With 150 million reviews online how do you tell the genuine from the fake? The gushing reviews which could be an inside job and the scathing insults which could be a campaign by a rival business? I feel lucky that I’ve never had any bad experiences while relying on reviews and have never felt misled in my expectations.
I still like to believe that the vast majority of posts are made by real travellers, for travellers and posted in good faith.
You can watch the Sky News Swipe programme here:
Have you had any really good or bad experiences from using a review site? Does it affect the decisions you make while travelling?