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j
jounipesonen Sep 6, 2013 01:18 AM

I very much appreciate the Chowhound forums on restaurants - both for specific suggestions from others, general info - and also like to respond to requests for info. I do the latter mainly for helping others - but there probably is the element of noting that one knows something someone else might not - probably a facet of being human hard to avoid.

I also use Trip Advisor and find its forum and input on restaurants generally good - and often useful.

But I recently got an email from Trip Advisor saying I only need two more reviews to get some kind of badge - but then it also encouraged me to SHOW EVERYONE HOW WELL-TRAVELLED I WAS!!!!!

Good grief - has the world turned THAT narcissistic? That's probably a naive question as Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Rolex wouldn't exist otherwise.

In any case - personally - I will post reviews on TA with an entirely different feeling.

Comments?

  1. Tripeler Sep 6, 2013 01:48 AM

    It sounds to me like TA is doing all they can to get more free content from users. The "badge" sounds as prestigious as being able to score some "genuine" Rolex batteries for a Rolex watch.

    1. d
      DGresh Sep 6, 2013 05:09 AM

      I tend to use Tripadvisor for hotels and don't even look at the restaurant reviews there; I use chowhound for that with much success. I have the feeling that the restaurant reviewers on TA aren't as much "like me" as the reviewers here, while my requirements for an acceptable hotel room are not that different from most people. I will admit that I have earned a few of those highly coveted badges (for my hotel reviews).

      1 Reply
      1. re: DGresh
        t
        truman Sep 6, 2013 08:07 AM

        This.

        I've only posted one review of a restaurant on TA (to go along with a hotel review from the same trip), and it was only because there were so many reviews contrary to my experience.

      2. h
        HillJ Sep 6, 2013 05:14 AM

        The TA badge is a marketing tool. Their forums useful. I'd rather earn guest perks directly through hotels booked. I never use the restaurant reviews.

        1. j
          jounipesonen Sep 6, 2013 05:31 AM

          I don't have so much of a problem with the idea of a 'badge' (does show if someone has perhaps some kind of experience) as with the idea of writing a review and thus SHOWING everyone how well-travelled I might be.

          I've never run across anyone sporting a pretentious status symbol that I wanted to know anything more about - from whatever forced encounters I've had with them they invariably number among the least interesting people,

          14 Replies
          1. re: jounipesonen
            h
            HillJ Sep 6, 2013 06:04 AM

            I don't follow you.. Are you saying that you feel forums are just bragging spaces?

            TA is a site specifically for people to recount their travel experiences. Are you calling that bragging?

            If so, do you feel the same way about a food forum designed for people to share their dining and cooking experiences by a company who also give out the occasional CHOW T-shirt?

            1. re: HillJ
              j
              jounipesonen Sep 6, 2013 11:27 AM

              TA told me that I should want to be SHOWING PEOPLE HOW WELL-TRAVELLED I WAS.

              That is repugnant to me - as would be wearing a Rolex, etc. to relay my so-called status. I go to a forum to ask questions, start a discussion and/or to help someone who has a question.

              I resent TA thinking I or anyone else uses their bloody forum to impress people!

              Use the word 'bragging' as you wish above.

              The 'badge' thing is only incidental.

              1. re: jounipesonen
                d
                DGresh Sep 6, 2013 11:32 AM

                Given that the badges are simply a numerical count of your reviews, you could amass a huge number of "points" reviewing all the Hampton/Holiday Inns along I95 in Connecticut, if that happened to be where your business trips took you. I don't think *anyone* confuses a number of reviews with being "well traveled".

                1. re: DGresh
                  j
                  jounipesonen Sep 6, 2013 11:34 AM

                  "I don't think *anyone* confuses a number of reviews with being "well traveled"."

                  Tell that to TA - that's the motivation they seem to be using! At least that's how they were trying me to write 2 more reviews.

                  Here was their text;

                  Get your Passport badge
                  Show how well-travelled you are! Review places in two destinations and collect your Passport badge on TripAdvisor.

                2. re: jounipesonen
                  h
                  HillJ Sep 6, 2013 01:22 PM

                  It's certainly your right to be turned off. As it is TA's mission to attract travelers willing to write about their experiences. As a free site, you're free to use it as you wish. But in all the time that I have read TA travel reviews I have never thought about the motivation behind them.

                  1. re: HillJ
                    j
                    jounipesonen Sep 6, 2013 03:22 PM

                    But now you know why TA thinks people write them :-)

                    1. re: jounipesonen
                      h
                      HillJ Sep 6, 2013 03:24 PM

                      you've def. given me a diff perspective and something to think about.

                  2. re: jounipesonen
                    hal2010 Sep 9, 2013 06:13 PM

                    They have a competition each year to see who has the most reviews. I got an email about it this year and checked out the winner, who had literally thousands of reviews. He'd reviewed everything from the public washrooms to the hot dog stand to the Ferris wheel everywhere they'd gone

                    There are people who get great satisfaction from being a top contributor, whether what they post is useful or not.

                3. re: jounipesonen
                  d
                  DGresh Sep 6, 2013 06:13 AM

                  IMHO the whole point of the "badge" (which by the way is entirely virtual) is just to indicate that a person has taken the time to write a number of reviews, and thus is not a person who only joined TA to bash a one-off bad experience or laud a good one. Same as I'm sure many of us trust names we see a lot here vs someone who is posting for the first time and may be a shill for a new restaurant.

                  1. re: DGresh
                    h
                    HillJ Sep 6, 2013 06:15 AM

                    Now that I can follow.

                    1. re: HillJ
                      j
                      jounipesonen Sep 6, 2013 11:31 AM

                      My OP was nothing about badges - but about TA's obnoxious suggestion that I would write a review with the motive to show people how 'well-travelled' I was.

                      Yes - the badges are good in showing users that someone MIGHT have some worthwhile experience - but GETTING badges should not be thought of as a contest to impress people.

                      1. re: jounipesonen
                        PegS Sep 6, 2013 04:45 PM

                        You're obviously not in marketing--which is not a bad thing! I think, though, you're missing the point of what that TA solicitation was trying to do. They were hoping to come up with motivation in their verbiage would encourage someone to write more reviews. Obviously it missed the mark with you.

                        1. re: PegS
                          j
                          jounipesonen Sep 6, 2013 10:27 PM

                          Sure I understand what they're doing - it's the same people that are in charge of Louis Vuitton and their ilk. Not for me, thanks - and I hope there are others who don't think life is all about showing the world how great one is!

                          1. re: jounipesonen
                            Shrinkrap Sep 8, 2013 07:41 PM

                            Okay, but I hope they write reviews anyway. I am constantly being emailed to write reviews for opentable and Amazon, and I feel bad because I find the reviews VERY helpful, but I don't feel like it.

                            :(

                            I feel a little better after the "free content" comment.

                            Of course there is nothing like chowhound for planning your meals in advance, but when your standing hungry on a corner in some strange city, the "nearby" function on tripadvisor is much simpler.

                            Once staff at a hotel I stayed at went above and beyond, then asked me to give her a shout out on TA, and I did.

                            Was that bad? ;)

                4. l
                  lsmutko Sep 6, 2013 08:27 AM

                  It's a concept called "Gamification," taking the idea of rewards -- like badges -- from online games and applying it as an incentive for non-gaming engagement.

                  It really motivates some people, while others find it, like here, a little silly.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: lsmutko
                    r
                    ratgirlagogo Sep 8, 2013 09:53 AM

                    That was exactly what I thought when I read the post - frankly even on gaming sites the badges seem like such a juvenile kind of reward (you've won a GOLD STAR, Little Johnny!) that it makes me feel a little embarrassed to be playing games. I can't imagine how anyone would be motivated by the offer of a silly badge to post more reviews on a more grown-up site.

                  2. j
                    jarona Sep 6, 2013 11:56 AM

                    I'm pretty narcissistic--and I admit it freely. TA is fun for me. I'm also well-fed so Chowhound is as much fun:)

                    1. JonParker Sep 6, 2013 03:40 PM

                      I have very few, like one or two TA reviews. In general, I find their restaurant reviews pretty useless. Sadly, most people who travel a lot, whether for business or pleasure, really don't know much about food.

                      One of the nice things about Chowhound is that you can look at what the locals really like. With TA, you get the places tourists stopped at.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: JonParker
                        mcf Sep 8, 2013 02:17 PM

                        And a lot of bogus owner written/solicited reviews that TA does not police the way CH does. And owner abuse of reviewers.

                        1. re: JonParker
                          LulusMom Nov 15, 2013 01:44 PM

                          I've only very rarely checked TA restaurant reviews. And when I have done so I've seen that they feel sort of, erm, hard to put this the right way, maybe middle-brow? As if going to the closest California Pizza Kitchen or Cheesecake Factory is what they recommend. And point very well taken that they tend to be reviews by tourists, not the people who live there.

                          I almost always write reviews of the hotels I stay in, and sometimes the sights, but almost never the restaurants. And I guess that is because it doesn't seem like a valuable way to spend my time. But since I use others' hotel reviews to help me, then I feel it is only fair to do my bit to help too. Hope this all makes sense.

                        2. t
                          trvlcrzy Sep 6, 2013 06:04 PM

                          Same here. I just use Tripadvisor for reviews on accomodations or tours/guides but it's pretty suspect for food. I have gotten bad food/restaurant reviews and ratings on TA (and Yelp). I trust Chowhound more for restaurant reviews..most written by people who are really passionate about food.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: trvlcrzy
                            mcf Sep 8, 2013 02:18 PM

                            It's suspect for lodging, too. There are people who make their living writing reviews for pay, and buidling up credibliity points by appearing to have reviewed numerous cities and facilities.

                            1. re: mcf
                              d
                              DGresh Sep 8, 2013 03:19 PM

                              That's why I generally look at the negative postings and ignore the glowing ones. Particularly if the negatives seem to have a common "theme".

                              1. re: DGresh
                                mcf Sep 8, 2013 04:23 PM

                                Yes, that's what I find most helpful, too. Or even an average review, that at least points out something less than perfect.

                                1. re: DGresh
                                  Ruth Lafler Nov 14, 2013 04:18 PM

                                  That's the way I read all reviews -- including those on chowhound -- unless I know the reviewer (at least by reputation). Trip Advisor reviews are about as helpful as yelp reviews: you look for commonalities and discard reviews based on single bad experiences or experiences you consider irrelevant.

                                  I only use Trip Advisor for restaurant reviews in places where there aren't other sources, i.e. smaller towns.

                            2. E Eto Sep 6, 2013 07:57 PM

                              I stopped looking for any serious stuff on TripAdvisor ever since the story emerged that they've been dispensing bogus reviews, or rather, that TA hasn't provided any oversight for users or marketing companies that pay people to write bogus reviews. So it doesn't surprise me that they use badges or other incentives to get more user content. However, that's just par for the course for most sites like Yelp, Foursquare, or any any others that rely on users for content.
                              http://www.forbes.com/sites/grantmart...

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: E Eto
                                j
                                jounipesonen Sep 6, 2013 10:31 PM

                                TA also provides printed 'certificates' for restaurants to put on the front facade/door. I don't know CH's position on such.

                                1. re: jounipesonen
                                  E Eto Sep 6, 2013 11:43 PM

                                  That seems like more reason to distrust Tripadvisor.

                                  1. re: E Eto
                                    j
                                    jounipesonen Sep 7, 2013 12:55 AM

                                    Ironically they even read and filter all reviews.

                                    I should have done it before but I would suggest people read the Wiki article:

                                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TripAdv...

                                    Indeed a dicey operation.

                              2. i
                                INDIANRIVERFL Sep 7, 2013 07:29 AM

                                The most informative thing I have gotten out of Yelp and Trip Advisor are the negative reviews. Whether it is a dish, the bar, or the vibe, they can be quite eye opening.

                                As for web cloud awards, my thought is to hang onto them, whatever the source. There is no telling how your past and present on line presence may reward you in the future.

                                1. t
                                  therealdoctorlew Sep 8, 2013 03:55 PM

                                  There is clearly a difference in the quality of restaurant reviews between TA and CH. TA wants volume and attracts many ordinary travelers who predictably provide reviews of lower utility than those found here. That is no reason to avoid reviewing on TA, as the presumably higher quality reviews from Chowhounders will balance some of the other reviews.

                                  I also noted that my local restaurants were rarely reviewed, although anyone new to the area or passing through might appreciate higher quality reviews. I therefore started reviewing my local restaurants and places I ate at on daytrips and such, in hopes of improving the overall quality of the reviews in my area. And, I think, the high quality reviews will be recognized by readers.

                                  I encourage all Chowhounders to do the same.

                                  As for the badges, so what? Although I did see somewhere that getting to 50 reviews gets you some sort of TA logo'd promo tchatchka.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: therealdoctorlew
                                    mcf Sep 8, 2013 04:25 PM

                                    Nah, let them fix their site and police it better for fraudulent reviews and maybe I'll bother, but not til then. Because of mostly past participation, am a senior reviewer, fancy badges await my next reviews but if they won't invest in their site with efforts to make it credible and not heinously unreliable, I'm not going to either.

                                    1. re: therealdoctorlew
                                      Joanie Sep 9, 2013 04:50 AM

                                      I'm surprised so many people find the reviews on TA to be bogus. I feel like the ones I check out are written in a way that I trust most of what's there, including some restaurants but mostly hotels. I always review the hotels I stay at and feel I see enough reviews both positive and negative that I don't think folks are shilling one way or the other. I've gotten some TA badges and swag (including an awesome large canvas bag) but didn't really think twice about it. I'm also Yelp Elite somehow (I don't feel like I post *that* often there). If CH gave indications of # of posts, I don't think people would run screaming but who knows. Maybe I'm completely naive.

                                      1. re: Joanie
                                        E Eto Sep 9, 2013 07:00 AM

                                        Looks like you've commented on almost 3100 topics. Congratulations!

                                        1. re: E Eto
                                          Joanie Sep 9, 2013 10:12 AM

                                          3100 on Chowhound? Haha, and that's with taking myself off the Boston board a couple years ago. God I do go on, huh?

                                        2. re: Joanie
                                          mcf Sep 9, 2013 07:02 AM

                                          Yelp and TA both have serious cred problems.

                                          1. re: Joanie
                                            m
                                            masha Sep 9, 2013 07:44 AM

                                            Joanie, I'm with you. I both rely upon and post reviews on TA, primarily for lodgings, but sometimes for restaurants (and attractions). I always look at the source of the reviews. When it's a reviewer's only review on TA or where a business has a long list of positive reviews from one-time reviewers, I treat the reviews with more skepticism.

                                            But, especially as to lodgings, where the reviewers have multiple postings and the content of the reviews contain telling details (both positive and negative), they are a significant part of the data upon which I rely. In the past year we've traveled to both Asia and Europe, as well as the northeastern US, using TA as our primary source of information in booking B&Bs and hotels. By and large the properties fully met our expectations based on those reviews.

                                            As to restaurants, I find TA reviews less reliable source of information, but still rely upon them, especially in smaller cities where there is very little CH information. We recently were traveling in Maine and I was looking for a bakery in the Auburn/ Lewiston area to pick up some treats en route. There was no CH info available but there were very positive reviews of a particular bakery in Auburn, mainly from people who were traveling through (i.e., not locals). By clicking on their review history I could see that the reviewers seemed to be people with some food chops (e.g., a Californian who had traveled extensively in France). We stopped by the bakery and it was great.

                                            And, as others have mentioned, the functionality of TA that allows one to identify restaurants by proximity to a particular place, is very useful. Especially at the end of a long day of travel when we've checked into our hotel late in the afternoon and not had much of a chance to explore the neighborhood, we often find ourselves using TA to find a close-by restaurant. The finds have been variable -- a terrific little ramen shop in Tokyo that we selected solely on the basis of its TA stars because all of the reviews were written in Japanese (the Google translates were hilarious but wholly unintelligible) but also a number of restaurants with forgettable food.

                                        3. j
                                          Just Visiting Sep 10, 2013 05:24 AM

                                          I get those stupid e-mails all the time. I ignore them. But FYI, some forum software programs automatically generate a "status" for users based on number of posts. I run a website that includes a member forum. The forum software has an opt-out feature (meaning the administrator has to chose to turn it off) that automatically generates status. You can re-name the status levels and we did that at first but everyone found it silly and annoying or they had no idea what it was and we got tons of private messages and forum posts about it so we turned it off.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Just Visiting
                                            hal2010 Sep 10, 2013 10:37 AM

                                            The world is definitely that narcissistic

                                            http://klout.com/corp/how-it-works

                                          2. m
                                            masha Sep 10, 2013 12:28 PM

                                            I think that the format of TA for reviews makes it harder for them to "police" them for fraud. Unlike CH, where there are regulars on each Board who can be relied upon by the mods to report suspicious posts, the TA reviews are not terribly receptive to that process.

                                            It is my recollection, that TA used to use an algorithm for weeding out bogus reviews that resulted in "false positives" -- i.e., certain legitimate reviews were excluded because of the criteria used in the algorithm. As a result, as I recall, TA abandoned that algorithm when certain hotel owners complained that the algorithm was depriving them of legitimate positive reviews.

                                            TA reviews do have a link for users to report suspicious reviews, and I have used it with success (i.e., TA took down the review after I reported it). In one case, I found a review that was a verbatim plagiarism of my own, laudatory review of the same property, posted about 3 months after I'd posted. It was for the no. 1 rated hotel in a major metropolitan city, that was part of a high-end international hotel chain. All I could surmise was that an employee of the local hotel was posting bogus positive reviews to enhance the likelihood that the hotel would retain it's No. 1 slot. The property was pretty spectacular and I am sure that most of the positive reviews were authentic; we booked there because it had high positives and not because it was "no 1." (Aside from the plagiarism being a dead-giveaway that the review was bogus, a link on the reviewer's history revealed that the only other property he'd ever reviewed was the restaurant located in the hotel.)

                                            I would also note that, besides Reviews, TA also has "forums" (organized by geography and by specialized topics) that operate much like the CH Boards. I am active on a few of those forums and have found that the TA mods are as active, if not more active, than CH in taking down inappropriate postings, including those from blatant shills. As with CH, the bogus shilling and self-promotional posts are pretty obvious as they often involve a single poster, who has never before participated on the Forum, who will suddenly post virtually identical posts on multiple threads in a short spate of time. Because these threads are all collected on a single Forum, with a community of users who know each other, it does not take long for the posts to be reported.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: masha
                                              mcf Sep 10, 2013 12:45 PM

                                              My experience with TA was that when I pointed out and documented owners' lies in attacks refuting my reviews, they didn't respond and the offensive misinformation was left up.

                                              Even when I had photos documenting what I'd seen.

                                              1. re: mcf
                                                m
                                                masha Sep 10, 2013 01:15 PM

                                                MCF, I've had no experience in dealing with challenging a property owner's response to my TA review. My experience has been with reporting bogus reviews, not dealing with dishonest responses by the property owner.

                                                1. re: masha
                                                  mcf Sep 10, 2013 01:33 PM

                                                  Done that, too. They stayed up. In any case, they let owners abuse reviewers, not merely address the issues. And lie.

                                            2. CindyJ Nov 13, 2013 12:33 PM

                                              For restaurant advice, Trip Advisor is useless, period. I never use it, I never post on it, and I would never refer someone else to it. Today I found even more evidence to support my position. I was looking for a place to have dinner in/near a town that's about an hour from where I live. I started by Googling and I without realizing it, I clicked on a link for TA. Up came a listing of 494 restaurants. Texas Roadhouse is ranked #14. Dunkin Donuts is ranked #18 of 494. HUH???? I've been to many of the restaurants on this list -- some of them are really fine restaurants -- but they rank far lower than Olive Garden and Subway. After reviewing these rankings what became perfectly clear to me is that the people submitting their votes either don't know what good food is, or they don't know what a restaurant is, or, maybe most likely, they're being wiseasses and just making a mockery of TA.

                                              1. j
                                                jujuthomas Nov 13, 2013 05:10 PM

                                                I haven't used TA much, but when we were looking for new places to try on our vacation, I found two recommendations there that sounded intriguing. I confirmed with the hotel staff before we tried the places, but both were fantastic.

                                                i posted reviews of both places both here and back on TA, and then started getting the emails... only 3 MORE posts to such and such status. really. huh. who cares. I just wanted to provide positive feedback to places where I had great experiences, in hopes that they will they will be there next time we visit!

                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: jujuthomas
                                                  j
                                                  jounipesonen Nov 13, 2013 11:08 PM

                                                  That's why I made the original post - what in hell is TA trying to sell with their pressure to post?

                                                  And as indicated the site is difficult to trust anyhow.

                                                  1. re: jounipesonen
                                                    mcf Nov 14, 2013 06:57 AM

                                                    Volume. To the hotels and restaurants whose phony posts they don't police.

                                                    1. re: jounipesonen
                                                      j
                                                      jounipesonen Nov 14, 2013 11:17 AM

                                                      Sorry - I didn't phrase my comment too well - I really meant what is TA trying to sell to the poster - 100 parrot stamps and an unrestricted hall pass?

                                                      1. re: jounipesonen
                                                        j
                                                        jujuthomas Nov 14, 2013 11:22 AM

                                                        well, when I passed 5 (?) reviews they offered me two free trip advisor luggage tags! as you can imagine, i was beside myself with excitement since they looked like they cost - oh a whole nickle to produce. ;)

                                                        1. re: jujuthomas
                                                          m
                                                          masha Nov 14, 2013 11:29 AM

                                                          Actually, I find the luggage tags useful, as you can slip your business card into them easily. (They also prominently display the TA logo, the concept being that when you check into a hotel and they see the tag, they will treat you better because they anticipate you will post a review. That I do find repugnant). When my husband exceeded 25 reviews, they sent a very nice canvas tote bag (again prominently displaying the TA logo), of heavy material and with a zippered closure. We don't use it as luggage but it's handy to fold up and take with you when you travel, to use for day outings -- perfect, for example, to use as a shopping bag in grocery stores and/or stash the provisions for a picnic.

                                                          1. re: masha
                                                            CindyJ Nov 14, 2013 03:29 PM

                                                            Luggage tags... canvas tote bags... Nah! I'm not interested in drinking the TA Kool-Aid.

                                                            1. re: CindyJ
                                                              m
                                                              masha Nov 14, 2013 04:53 PM

                                                              I don't participate for the trinkets. I write reviews to pay forward reviewers whose contributions have been helpful in planning my travels, especially hotel/B&B picks. As stated up-thread, so long as you read the reviews with care, they are a useful source of information, especially as to lodging (and, I agree with Ruth Lafler that they are also helpful in smaller towns for food, where there is a paucity of CH or other info).

                                                            2. re: masha
                                                              d
                                                              DGresh Nov 14, 2013 03:46 PM

                                                              Hey I'm close to 25 posts, and I'd love a canvas tote bag. Gotta get working :)

                                                              I find the hotel reviews useful, and that's what I do mostly. I learned that a hotel I totally panned was "8th out of 12 hotels in New Haven CT". I had to look at the 4 that got worse reviews, and wow..... drug dealers and prostitutes in the lobby/parking lot, bed bugs, roaches.... like I said, the hotel reviews are pretty useful!

                                                              1. re: DGresh
                                                                Ruth Lafler Nov 14, 2013 04:36 PM

                                                                I always click on the link to the lowest-star reviews and read some of them. Sometimes it's just a matter of expectations, i.e. it's clean and cheap but people ding them for being shabby and without amenities (which isn't necessarily a deal-breaker for me), and sometimes it's issues like you describe (which would be).

                                                                I've mostly reviewed hotels and I've given a range from very good to "stay somewhere else." What I do wish is that there were more ways to sort the reviews.

                                                              2. re: masha
                                                                Joanie Nov 15, 2013 07:45 AM

                                                                I love that canvas bag, it's a great weekend bag. In fact, I thought I was getting some other trinket but it never arrived. Whatever the case, I've now gone over 100 and I'd say 4/5 are hotels. Sometimes when restaurant or attraction options come up once I've submitted a hotel review, I'll click and add my 2 cents. I feel like the reviews are pretty "real" but like Yelp, it can be hard to figure out if the place is really that good or really that bad. All I can do is tell the truth (or my truth at least) and hopefully everyone else does that too.

                                                      2. h
                                                        Harters Nov 14, 2013 03:33 PM

                                                        I regularly post to TA (a Top Contributor in their web-speak - is this the sort of thing the OP means by TA giving you a badge?). It's mainly hotels but occasionally food. I find the site useful for selecting hotels, as I can easily assess what folk are writing. However, I generally find TA to be useless for selecting restaurants - with contributions along the line of "best ever place", followed by "worst ever place", without either actually describing the food, which would enable you to know whether you want to eat there. I generally like to write about meals out and send contributions to a review guidebook. I also post to Chowhound and, until recently , egullet. I'll also happily post to local forums. Rarely, very rarely, when there is no other outlet, I'll post to TA.

                                                        11 Replies
                                                        1. re: Harters
                                                          j
                                                          jounipesonen Nov 14, 2013 10:53 PM

                                                          As the OP Icertainly have problems with TA - and was bothered by their appeal to narcism.

                                                          And I see a LOT of misuse by TA and its users.

                                                          The fact I have to give them is they are the only act in town for anyone looking for INTERNATIONAL reviews of H&R). CH is basically US - and such as Yelp are minor jokes.

                                                          If one has 'been around' and really reads between the lines in TA's reviews - as well as knowing key 'pressure points,' it's possible to mine rather valuable information.

                                                          Id be more than glad to read a post with someone telling of a better 'international' review site - more reliable and not appealing to narcissm.

                                                          1. re: jounipesonen
                                                            h
                                                            Harters Nov 15, 2013 02:19 AM

                                                            Yes, I agree about the international aspect.

                                                            If, for example, you look at Chowhound's Spain board, ytou will see that posts are pretty much exclusively made by American tourists and, almost exclusively, they are visiting Barcelona (and a couple of other cities).

                                                            Now, like millions of other north Europeans, we visit Spain regularly for holidays. But, like the rest of those millions, we are not visiting the cities. Means that I find zilch to assist me with restaurant planning. So I turn to TA. It may not be great but, if nothing else, it may tell me places to avoid in a resort area.

                                                            You find similar issues with other non-American Chowhound boards. France board is pretty much just about Paris. My home board (UK/Ireland) is pretty much about London. Etc.

                                                            1. re: Harters
                                                              prima Nov 15, 2013 06:08 AM

                                                              I use TA's forums a lot while travelling to places not covered well by Chowhound, including off-the-beaten path parts of the US, Canada and EU. I also check E-Gullet, when travelling to EU. I found TA and EG especially useful in the smaller towns and cities of Northern Germany and western Brittany which do not seem to be frequented by the travelling CHs who ask for resto advice in Rome, Paris or Provence.

                                                              I'll use the TA reviews to narrow down my resto choices, by reading the comments rather than the ranking of the reviews.

                                                              I post trip reports and reviews on TA from time to time, and I've found other CHs on TA, so at least a couple TA members meet the stringent review standard required by Chowhound. :) (tongue in cheek)

                                                            2. re: jounipesonen
                                                              CindyJ Nov 15, 2013 05:47 AM

                                                              >>> The fact I have to give them is they are the only act in town for anyone looking for INTERNATIONAL reviews of H&R). CH is basically US... <<<

                                                              I'm inclined to disagree. While it's true that CH coverage in other countries isn't nearly as extensive as coverage in the US, some of my best restaurant finds in France and Italy were from reccomendations I found on CH. And I'm not talking large cities -- I mean in small towns and villages.

                                                              1. re: CindyJ
                                                                j
                                                                jounipesonen Nov 15, 2013 12:10 PM

                                                                (OP) I don't doubt CH reviews will be worth taking seriously and can be of big help - but there just simply is little material!

                                                                I reside in Helsinki - and there are maybe 2 CH comments on the whole of Finland per year - just as a reference.

                                                                When I am going to Ljubljana or non-Prague Czech Republic locations - or non Rome/Florence in Italy - there is little point in looking at CH.

                                                                Look - that's OK - CH is a US based site - I'm just saying it is NOT international - but that doesn't stop being able to find OCCASIONALLY worthwhile reviews non-US.

                                                                It just would be nice if there was a real international site not so 'other driven' as TA. And until someone does that - or tell us such - TA will have to get attention unfortunately - tote bags or not.

                                                                1. re: jounipesonen
                                                                  Joanie Nov 15, 2013 12:26 PM

                                                                  Oh I can corroborate that there's no action for Helsinki on that board. I asked a couple questions last month for HEL, Lapland and St. Petersburg and barely got a reply. I posted a trip report mostly for others like me trying to find some info, certainly no one there gave it a 2nd look. Whatever, northern Europe isn't too happening a Chowhound spot, what can you do?

                                                                  1. re: Joanie
                                                                    j
                                                                    jounipesonen Nov 15, 2013 01:22 PM

                                                                    And you won't find anything for Ljubljana, SLO - Trento, IT - Ceske Budejovice or Cesky Krumlov, CZ - etc etc etc

                                                                    It's not just northern Europe - it's non-US! And that's OK - CH is a US web site - so again - I just wish there was a truly international H&R site.

                                                                    1. re: jounipesonen
                                                                      prima Nov 15, 2013 02:38 PM

                                                                      In my experience, Chowhound isn't too helpful in parts of the US outside the largest metropolitan areas and food & wine tourist destinations. Some areas with relatively large populations (Denver and Colorado come to mind) have relatively little activity on Chowhound.

                                                                      1. re: prima
                                                                        d
                                                                        DGresh Nov 15, 2013 03:09 PM

                                                                        Yeah, there are tons and tons of areas that aren't well covered. Ithaca NY has a fair bit of info, but 30 miles away (Syracuse for example), or the Adirondack region, has almost no activity. Lower Hudson Valley is pretty good, as is Westchester County. Chowhound is not a universal solution.

                                                                        1. re: DGresh
                                                                          mcf Nov 16, 2013 08:29 AM

                                                                          The High Peaks region has increasing coverage, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake. Much better food scene in recent years too.

                                                                      2. re: jounipesonen
                                                                        CindyJ Nov 15, 2013 07:26 PM

                                                                        FWIW, I read some wonderful CH reviews of places in FVG (northeastern Italy) and the Alto Adige that helped me during a recent trip there. Not a lot, but a few very detailed, very helpful reports.

                                                            3. hal2010 Nov 15, 2013 07:03 PM

                                                              Trip Advisor has never let me down on mid-range to budget food and lodging in out-of-the-way places. You'll see the occasional place that's trying to stack the reviews, but they're obvious. Lonely Planet and Travelfish cater to backpackers looking for the cheapest of the cheap and Fodors and Zagat are for people who want to spend more and stay on the beaten path.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: hal2010
                                                                susancinsf Nov 17, 2013 07:39 AM

                                                                Although I mostly use it for hotel reviews I've had better luck with Trip Advisor than with Lonely Planet in areas where there isn't much CH coverage, for precisely the reasons you mention: TripAdvisor reviewers at least seem to pay attention to the food, not only whether it is the cheapest.

                                                                And of course, the long term solution is for CH folks to give back by posting their experiences, particularly about out of the way places on CH.

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