Sites like tripadvisor.com let users write reviews of various hotels and restaurants. Smart travelers like me use the information on these reviews to make sure they get the best rate and the best experience when they travel.
In addition to the reviews by travelers, the site lets property owners or managers comment or reply to comments left. You see them apologize for bad service, explain problems that travelers may have highlighted or sometimes just thank the guest for leaving a glowing review. Travelers can use the contact information in the reviews to communicate directly with hotel management and initiate the booking process. Knowing you are an active tripadvisor.com user (and will probably post a review of your visit) the hotel will probably go out of their way to make you happy.
My friend runs a concert booking agency webookbands.com, and uses the technique. He told me about this special method for getting great rooms and great rates. When he wants to visit a city, he reviews the tripadvisor.com listings for the properties in the area. He reads the reviews and finds the places he wants to stay, then checks for the manager comments and replies. The comments include the name of the manager and sometimes their email as well, so he then contacts the hotel directly and asks to speak with the manager.
He has a conversation with the manager and tells them he got their name from tripadvisor.com and has been reviewing the comments and responses about the property. He then initiates or books his reservation directly with the manager or with their referral to another employee.
While the process may take longer than booking online or with a reservation agent, the direct communication with the manager always results in a good room at a good rate. In some cases he has been able to secure a room in popular cities like New York when everything appeared to be sold out.
After his stay, he’s always sure to provide a detailed review of the property and his visit, and so far they have all been glowing, positive reviews, after receiving great service. I’ve begun to use the technique and think it’s still important to have that direct, human-to-human contact with someone from the hotel to ensure a good experience. The technique also gives you a name to reference, in case you encounter any problems or issues.
Freddy Sherman is a world traveler and editor of the travel blog travel4people.com . Follow him on twitter, @thefredsherman
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Beijing Travel Guide
Guide to in-flight WiFi
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