The school ski trip is part of the school year that is always much anticipated, by pupils and teachers alike. The company has been embarrassed by recent exposes where a homeless shelter was propelled in the TripAdvisor rankings to become one of Britain’s top hotels or a five-star restaurant in Italy that is Michelin quality but turned out not to exist at all.
TripAdvisor knows we’re so busy we prefer the easy one-click option on their site (even if the price isn’t cheaper), but by booking direct you are helping support small businesses (and they’re happier to have you as a client), keeping overall prices down, and cutting out the middleman in the communication and accountability chain in case something goes wrong.
To save money and enhance the quality of your trip at no cost to you, look for an adviser from a large consortium like American Express , Signature Travel Network or Virtuoso Because of longstanding partnerships with travel companies and the sheer volume of bookings these groups generate for hotel, airline and cruise partners, they are able to negotiate special rates and perks on behalf of their clients, from free cocktails and room upgrades upon arrival to spa treatments and late checkouts.
I may have never discovered this if it hadn’t been for the pattern I spotted in the reviews, but it’s my experience that for every review offering fair, constructive criticism the management can actually address (and some actually do!), there are twenty more which are useless or absurd.
That doesn’t mean I never scanned the reviews as part of my research, but in the ten years of doing hotel reviews I only remember one time when a series of almost identical incidents recounted in TripAdvisor’s user reviews helped me discover an unscrupulous hotel owner was purposefully overbooking one of his nicer hotels, then claiming there was a flood or other last minute problem with the room to funnel guests into his less attractive property down the road.