Here we’ll look at an actual review for a place, and see how they can help us decide whether this place gets shortlisted.

Trip Advisor review

This is the kind of gem you are looking for.

First, who posted it? Well, Eric has done 872 reviews and earned 205 helpful votes. If you want, you can click on his name and skim his other reviews to see if I’m a cheerleader or a nattering nabob of negativism. Some reviewers also have a Level tag (I’m Level 6) indicating a substantial number of contributions. What gives Eric credibility for me is the detail. He says WHY he likes it, and passes on tips, including how to get there and what’s nearby.

Note the date of the review. It’s wise to discount older comments a bit, because things may have changed a lot since then.

I usually skim the reviews on the first pass, looking for a few words that will help me decide if this place is for us. 

This place has so few negative reviews that I will shortlist it for later examination. If there are more than a few negative reviews, I’ll skim them to see why people were negative; was it about things that don’t matter to me? Or things that really DO matter to me?

When you come back to trim the shortlist, you’ll probably read more of the reviews. This will give you tips such as: how to get in; how to plan your visit; little things the website didn’t tell you; things that made it better or worse; whether the café is any good; whether the audio headset (or whatever) is worthwhile, and much more.

Next: trim that shortlist

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