TripAdvisor is a must visit website when planning a vacation. This is because it is like a Lonely Planet guide, customer review site, travel forum, and deals site all rolled into one. More than 500,000 people visit the TripAdvisor site each day and they offer information on over 400,000 destinations. This guide looks at how to save money using TripAdvisor, how to spot the most helpful reviews and a few ways to get more out of the site.
Covered in this report
It is a comprehensive travel website that offers reviews, information on destinations, travel deals and many additional tools that other sites do not offer.
They make comparing prices between suppliers and several booking agencies quick and easy. Meaning you do not have to find and compare the sites separately yourself.
Best for: Customers looking for a comprehensive travel website that offers them access to the best travel deals and extra information and advice.
How to Save Money using TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor not only provides accommodation reviews. They allow you to search for accommodation deals. When searching for accommodation in a particular area you can narrow your search results by different criteria such as the hotel star class, amenities and a particular area. You can also narrow your results by price per night to look at hotels within your budget. See the refine a search by price tool below.
If you are looking for accommodation that provides free extras, you will notice that in their amenities search refining tool, shown below, you can select options such as free breakfast, car parking and Internet.
In addition to this basic search function they provide many more tools which can be utilized to ensure you receive the best value for money. Let’s take a look at some of these tools:
The price comparison tool
Although TripAdvisor is not a booking agent themselves; it is always worthwhile heading to their website before making a travel booking. They provide you with the means to price compare to ensure you are getting the best price on available accommodation at any given time. They not only link you to prices the hotels are charging directly, but through multiple booking agencies. They keep track of deals for the following booking agencies:
When you enter your desired dates and hit show prices they will open a link to the hotels booking page and prices, as well as other booking agencies price pages. This takes a lot of the work out of comaring different sites for the best price.
Special offers and coupons
Look for the special offer icon, an example is shown below.
If this button is showing for a hotel there is a promotion running. For example, in the instance of the example shown, the deal is for stay 3 nights and get the 4th for a penny. See the details of this deal below. TripAdvisor is providing you with a coupon code to use to receive the special deal at the hotels website.
When searching for some destinations they will also offer you links to good package deals for flights, accommodation and more. Alternatively you can create your own package by searching for flights through TripAdvisor. The Associated Press has found that TripAdvisor returns the best airfare prices the most often.
Once again the hard work is taken out of price comparing. Their search tools are up to date with the prices for:
- World leading airlines
- Low cost airlines and more.
Their search tool allows you to check alternative dates for the best price and even nearby airports. They also expose the majority of fees airlines charge, for things like checked baggage, so that you have a correct overall view of what you will be paying.
Great Deal on a similar hotel
If your internet search tools are set to allow pop ups when viewing the TripAdvisor site you will often notice that a window will pop up displaying a deal on a similar hotel. Sometimes these are well worth checking out.
Sign up for the weekly deals email
TripAdvisor can send you out a snapshot of the best deals of the week. You can select whatever locations you would like to receive this information on.
How to spot the most helpful reviews
All reviews are reviewed by TripAdvisor before being posted to the site, but it can still be difficult to determine how much stock to give a review as people’s opinions often vary widely when it comes to travel preferences. However, there are many ways to ascertain which reviews on TripAdvisor might be the most credible both overall, and for your particular needs. Check out the following suggestions:
Look for businesses with a certificate of excellence
Businesses that maintain a high overall user rating and a high volume of recent and quality reviews are awarded a certificate of excellence.
Pay attention to a reviewer’s badge level
The badges show a contributor’s level from Reviewer through to Top Contributor level. The different levels are shown in the chart below. Those with a higher level have often experienced varied travel and therefore often give well balanced opinions.
See how many helpful votes the reviewer has
When a person’s review helps someone they can leave that person a vote. Reviewers with lots of votes often write very informative reviews.
Check out the reviewers about me profile
This can provide you with valuable clues to their mindset and how it might line up with your own. Reviewer profiles include details like:
- Their travel style
- What purpose they travel for
- What they think a great vacation includes and
- Who they travel with
Assess the amount of low feedback left, not just the star rating
Many businesses on TripAdvisor score a middle of the road rating, so it is also worth checking out how many low ratings they have. See the example chart below. Businesses with lots of terrible or poor ratings are probably best avoided, but those with lots of average or above ratings are probably worth checking out.
See what number the hotel is ranked for the region
TripAdvisor not only assigns a star rating based on feedback, they also rank the hotels in order of recommendations for any area. This will give you some idea of where the hotel sits for any given destination.
How to get more out of TripAdvisor
If you take a look at all the resources available at TripAdvisor, you will find that they offer much more than great deals and customer reviews on their site. Take a look at some of the extras they offer:
A Comprehensive travel forum
You can browse discussions by destination or other categories such as Bargain travel, air travel, or beach travel, to find answers on travel questions you may have. Or ask your own question to get the discussion going. As an example of the type of information you can expect to find in the forum check out a topic called A thread for the financially challenged , it has ideas on cheap ways to navigate a trip to London.
You may also notice that some forums have answers provided by a destination expert. These are regular contributors who have a history of giving good advice.
Best annual accommodation providers lists
TripAdvisor compiles listings of best accommodation providers annually. For example, they have just released the 2013 top hotels list. You can view a list for each individual country or worldwide. Check it out here.
Or you can view best lists by category such as romance or hotels for families.
Travel inspiration tool
If you want to get inspired on places to travel to, TripAdvisor offers a nifty tool that lets you put in a few prerequisites and then they return destinations they think would suit you. Check out the screenshot of the tool below. Note that it asks you what sort of holiday you like eg. Romance or adventure and what continents or regions you are willing to travel to.
Trusted Airline ratings
TripAdvisor now has quite a comprehensive list of customer reviews on many airlines all over the world. You will find ratings and comments on important criteria such as:
- On time status
- In flight service and amenities
- Extra fees and charges and
- Baggage handling
Airline seat guru
Before reserving your airline seats , it can be beneficial to check out TripAdvisor’s Airline Seat Guru. They show customer feedback for particular seats. This can provide you with information on which seats are near the bathroom or engine. They also allow you to check seat availability to determine how full a particular flight is before booking a ticket.
Restaurant and attractions reviews
They now also offer a good listing of reviews on restaurants and attractions. When it comes to restaurants you can search by city, cuisine and price. You will find information on attractions by searching for the attractions name or a listing of local attractions is provided on a destination page.
They have mobile app versions for many devices such as: