With the rapid rise of TripAdvisor, who heavily rely on customer reviews to rate accommodation, how much attention should you be paying to what other people think?
With the ease of finding out information across the internet we all want to find out as much information about something as we possibly can. We want to know how great other people think something is before we part with our hard earned cash. I mean, the last thing you want is to book a pitch on a campsite that isn’t going to live up to your holiday expectations.
However, read other people’s opinions with a huge pinch of caution. Sure, read a few reviews, but remember, more people complain about a place than praise it. That is unfortunately the nature and instinct of many people. What did we do before the internet? We still booked campsites, but mostly without prior knowledge of what everyone else thought. We were more likely to only hear reviews from friends and families, opinions of whom we probably respected and trusted more.
Let me give you a personal experience.
In 2012 we decided to go away for the half term holiday in June. We had some Tesco Clubcard vouchers that we wanted to convert to use at a Park Holiday Resort. We decided to stay at Languard on the Isle of Wight. We were pretty chuffed to have enough to use for both the ferry crossing and a whole 10 days on the campsite there. We booked up at the beginning of the year and didn’t think much more of it.
About a month before we were due to leave, I was looking at things for us to do while we were there. I stumbled across some reviews of Languard. My heart sank. Despite many great reviews, my mind and thoughts dwelled on the bad reviews, of which there were plenty.
People described poor toilet and shower facilities, noisy and drunk groups of people and a poorly managed site.
I was so close to phoning up and cancelling – it was only because I couldn’t bare the thought of disappointing the children that I didn’t do it.
I tried my best to put the reviews out of my mind – I wanted to go with an open mind.
I’m so, so glad I didn’t cancel. We had an amazing 10 days (despite 9 days of rain!) on a campsite that I would happily return to again. We had plenty of space, friendly campers and adequate (I’ve seen a lot worse) facilities.
The thing is, people have different expectations. I’m not saying you should lower yours, but maybe people view things in a different way to you. We don’t all think the same and I don’t believe a camping trip can be the same for every person.
Sure, we could have turned up and been camping alongside a group of loud and annoying people. But we weren’t. You can’t control who is camping at the same time as you. What you should find out before you go is the management’s policy on noise and disturbance at night. Is there someone on duty who you can contact during the night if you need to? We knew before we went to Camping Bel, France, that they had a curfew from 11pm until 7am. Any excessive noise during these times wouldn’t be tolerated.
Of course the best kind of review is always going to be word of mouth. Ask around and get recommendations. Just don’t rely on a handful of people on a review site that you’ve never met and might be incredibly different to!