My Bizarre Experiences with TripAdvisor

gigabYte

Member
Dec 7, 2018
53
8
8
What City & State do you work in?
Long Island, NY
After hosting with Airbnb for many years, I decided a couple of years ago it might be smart to sign up with another company or two to hedge my bets in case anything happened to Airbnb.

After looking around it turned out there was only one other service I could sign up with because I offer shared rooms in my own home. All the other services seem to specialize in whole-home rentals.

TripAdvisor was the only one that offered shared rooms like Airbnb does.

So, I signed up two years ago, got several very flaky messages the first year - but no reservations. Then a fellow Airbnb host suggested I should get some reviews on TA. But how do you get reviews if you can't get reservations!?

Well, turns out on TA it's not hard. Anybody can write a review for you whether they've stayed with you or not. And whether or not they've ever had any contact with you on TA. So, my friend offered to write a fake review for me. And she offered to get another friend to do the same, if I would in return write fake reviews for them. Done!

To try to keep it as honest as possible though, I copied two reviews from our Airbnb page and just asked them to post those. So, at least they were real reviews.

Anyway, that didn't seem to help. Months and months went by without even a request. But finally, we got a request that seemed legit, although the person insisted on writing solely in Spanish! Apparently I learned enough Spanish in high school that I can read messages as long as I know the subject and context of what they're talking about. So that turned out to be no problem. However, high school Spanish was not good enough to help me respond in Spanish. So, I responded in English - trusting that she would be able to figure it out somehow.

It was a mother and daughter coming from Argentina. Only problem was, they wanted to stay 21 days. We hate long stays. We're much happier with our usual 2-3 day stays. And in this case, we were afraid that since everyone else who had ever contacted us through TA was so falkey that these people might be flakey too and cancel before they arrived. And with a 21-day reservation they were going to block out 3 weeks on our calendar... including our Airbnb calendar. But we decided to let them come, hoping it would mean a fully-legitimate good review on TA.

To make a long story short, they came, they were fine guests, although we really weren't able to talk to them much. The daughter spoke fine English but she was very shy. The mother wanted to talk but got frustrated when she couldn't put the words together in a language that we could both understand.

No mishaps, though. Nothing bad happened. But when they left - that was it. That's the last we heard from them. I wasn't motivated to write them a review (which would have prompted them again to write one for us) and they were apparently not motivated to write us a review either. It's amazing how when you don't make that personal connection and have a good conversation or two - how unmotivated you are to write a review for a guest.

So, one TripAdvisor trip in two years - and still no authentic reviews!
 
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Austin Bob

Member
Dec 15, 2018
129
11
18
What City & State do you work in?
San Antonio
I hear that. TA is weird for sure. I've had a listing on there for be 6 months and haven't gotten a single inquiry! During that same time I've been almost solidly booked with Airbnb. So, I'd starve if I had to rely only on TA.
 

Graham

Member
Feb 4, 2019
141
10
18
What City & State do you work in?
Glendale AZ
That's a good story; really puts into perspective how language barriers can prevent a real connection with someone. I myself have never been a host for any home-renting service, but I've used it before. It was a bit strange because the only reason I even saw the owner was because I ran into him in the hallway, and he seemed totally unprepared to talk to me.
 

Austin Bob

Member
Dec 15, 2018
129
11
18
What City & State do you work in?
San Antonio
That's funny @Graham! I mean if they're hosting you in their home they shouldn't be too surprised to see you in the hall! When we host we never know who might be around or when... but we always suspect someone might come walking out one of our two rented bedroom doors at anytime! Or they'll be coming through the front door.

So, how was your overall experience staying in that place? How did you feel about it when all was said and done?
 

Jon York

Member
Nov 30, 2018
103
21
18
What City & State do you work in?
New York City
Yeah, that's weird a host would be unprepared to see you! Maybe he only hosted every now and then and just wasn't used to people being around. Anyway, I'm sure that didn't make for the best experience.
 

Graham

Member
Feb 4, 2019
141
10
18
What City & State do you work in?
Glendale AZ
Overall, the experience wasn't bad, but wasn't good either. It was a basement-bedroom sorta deal. Pretty small, barely enough room to do Beachbody Insanity in. They had Netflix, that part was cool.

Could've done without the sound of the baby pounding away upstairs, though.