If you’re anything like the team at Hipsiti, checking out reviews is a crucial part of any travel decision. So before you plan your trip, you jump on to Hipsiti.com, find your next city break and read through the ratings and reviews left by other Hipsiti travellers like you. You come across an incredibly helpful review by Emma, add Tokyo Tower to your list of sights to see whilst you’re in Japan and stop stressing that you’ll need a translator whilst you’re there or will be stuck eating sushi for two weeks…
Reviews like Emma’s are helpful, authentic and constructive (HAC) they help you plan your stay, have trust in the person leaving the review and get you excited for your upcoming trip. Here’s why reviews like this are crucial to our community, as well as a few tips on how you can add your own reviews that are helpful, authentic and constructive!
How to be helpful
When I was travelling in Mexico, I took a 40 hour bus ride from Mexico City to Merida… 40 hours on a bus is something I would not recommend, but that’s a story for another time! Somewhere outside of Puebla, I had to transfer buses, but got completely lost. Thankfully, a helpful local found me, calmed me down and got me on the next bus heading in the right direction.
His helpfulness – and excellent English – made my day and saved me an expensive ticket change. Your reviews can do the same for fellow Hipsiti travellers. Here are our top tips for writing helpful reviews:
Change the sliders!
Don’t just leave all sliders on 5 or move them all to 10 – this is a surefire way to get your rating rejected. There are only 10 sliders, but they help others build an impression of a city they hope to visit, so be honest.
Make sure your information is correct.
This one sounds obvious, but check you’re recommending the right sights in the right city or that the name of the travel card you’re recommending for London is indeed called an Oyster card… (spoiler alert: it is).
Keep it general.
Whilst we love hearing stories and anecdotes, they aren’t helpful to others who are unlikely to have the exact same experience as you, so try to keep reviews general so they’re helpful to more people – for example transport tips, restaurant recommendations and areas to avoid. You can add your accommodation recommendations and share other insightful tips in the comments section of your review.
This review of Merida in Mexico by Antonio is a great example of a helpful review:
If you’re wondering about reviews we’ve received that are not so helpful, here’s an example of how not to write a review of Vientiane:
“Quiet, peaceful, undiscovered. Also Visit Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng. Buddhist temples and there is even a bear rescue centre! Fabulous!”
Only three words reference the actual city being reviewed and they are not particularly helpful. The bear rescue centre is actually in Luang Prabang, which the author doesn’t make very clear, so their review doesn’t help visitors prepare for their trip to Vientiane at all.
What counts as an authentic review?
It should go without saying that you should only contribute reviews of cities you have actually been to. I haven’t had the pleasure of travelling to Iceland, though it’s on my Hipsiti Bucket List so I’ll hold off on rating Reykjavik for the moment and instead, read the reviews to help me plan my trip.
Speaking of bucket lists, have you checked out your profile lately? We’ve just added a brand new feature that lets you add Hipsiti cities to your bucket list and you’ll receive a little notification if someone adds a review or rating to a city on your bucket list. You can then tap into the treks of others and get even more (or less?) excited by the feedback coming through from fellow avid travellers. The Taj Mahal on your profile will be your guide…
This information shared by Benji clearly shows he has visited the country and experienced the sights and activities he’s recommending, it’s not only authentic but helpful too:
Authentic reviews comprise of experiences you’ve genuinely had.
This may include activities you enjoyed, attractions you visited, food you tasted and places you stayed whilst visiting a city.
The most authentic reviews are also original.
Try to mention places, sights and highlights no one else has touched upon in previous reviews, to give a well-rounded picture of a city. You must not copy reviews of other members or reviews you’ve seen elsewhere. Not only is this plagiarism, it’s most definitely not authentic.
Be true to your experience.
Not everyone thinks the Taj Mahal is as spectacular up close and not every traveller falls in love with Paris at first sight. Be honest (but polite!) about your experience in a city. The good, the bad and the ugly help people to decide whether to visit a city or not.
This review is an example of a review that was rejected for its inauthenticity, sure they’ve been to Doha and we encourage you to rate your home towns objectively – after all no one knows their home town like the locals, but sliding all the sliders to 10 and leaving a comment like this, doesn’t help anyone decide whether to add this city to their next trip:
“I love Doha come visit us”
Is your review constructive?
Whilst we encourage honesty and genuine, authentic reviews; we’d love for you to keep your reviews as positive as possible. Barcelona, for example, is almost as famous for pickpockets as it is for its unfinished Sagrada Familia and talented football team – something that Sarah manages to warn future travellers about without being overly negative or critical of the city:
Instead of stopping at recommending not to visit an area because of pickpockets, she makes an excellent alternative recommendation to head elsewhere for beautiful views and a drink or two.
Stick to reality.
Keep your reviews constructive by making recommendations based on your actual experience in a city rather than repeating stereotypes you’ve heard about places you haven’t managed to visit yet.
Show the good along with the bad.
If you have something critical to say about a city, by all means, let other travellers know about it… but try to keep it constructive by suggesting alternatives or let people know about what you did enjoy as well as what you didn’t.
Ask yourself this question.
Hipsiti was created to be a comprehensive source of information for tourists when deciding which cities around the world to visit, so when you’re writing your review, ask yourself ‘does this help someone decide to visit this city?’, if so, it’s probably constructive!
So what would a non-constructive review look like? This review was rejected for not being constructive. Not only did the reviewer move all of the sliders down to zero, but they didn’t give any specific information that would help someone make an objective decision to visit or not:
“Went here once and wouldn’t go back. The only thing to do here is the flower show but thats only once a year. Other than that its boring and theres a little bit of a creepy vibe. Didn’t feel safe walking around at night here and found it very difficult to get around without a car.”
As my nan would say, only boring people get bored… But on a serious note, any city in the world has something to offer if you’re willing to look for it – a quaint local museum full of curios, a self guided walking tour, or a country pub where you can meet locals and ask for their suggestions. Perhaps this reviewer should have checked out other Hipsiti reviews for recommendations before going?
The Hipsiti community is created by incredible members like you, who leave reviews and ratings for other travellers, to help them decide whether a city should get a coveted spot on their bucket list or itinerary. Let’s keep this community a fantastic resource for travellers around the globe, by keeping our reviews helpful, authentic and constructive!
We’d like to give a huge thanks to the 3,200+ reviewers and 2,700+ members who have made Hipsiti into the fantastic community we love to be a part of. To say thanks and encourage ratings, we run regular competitions and give away gadgets and gear made for travellers, so be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and keep an eye on our WIN page for our next competition!