Do You Ever Write Negative Reviews?

I remember a while back I was posting some of my Thunder Bay blog entries about individual places there. In many ways, my blog entries are a bit of my subjective review of a place. Someone must have read a few of my blog entries and then asked me if I ever post a negative review.

One thing I try to do with this blog is always focus on the positives of places I go to. Even if I don’t have the greatest experience, I am always looking for something that positively stands out from the experience. I am also always looking to give the place the benefit of the doubt.

I think this objective way of thinking comes from getting my MBA and the way it has taught me to look at things. I realize there are different market segments and each business will choose how it will position itself within those market segments. In many ways, I have become attuned to many of the different market segments, so I know how to appropriately grade a place and know when I need to grade on a curve.

What I find funny is people who don’t realize there are different market segments and then try to apply another market segment’s grading scale to it. If you want to see a real life instance of this, read any Motel 6’s online reviews. Almost every single one will contain a 1 star review that will mention how the decor is outdated and worn, there’s sketchy characters hanging out there, or the fact that the amenities are lacking.

What is hilarious about this is that these people expect the Ritz-Carlton treatment for $49 a night! Now if a Ritz-Carlton had outdated and worn decor, shady characters, and a lack of amenities, I could see where it would get a 1 star rating. I mean when you pay several hundred dollars a night, it makes sense to really scrutinize. When you’re paying $49 a night, you’re dealing with a whole different class (and market segment) of hotel and the same grading criteria does not apply.

When I come into any sort of establishment, I get a rough idea of its market segment and then look to apply the appropriate grading criteria. In some cases, certain criteria can be applied across all places. For example, no matter how run down a place might be, good service can be provided. It doesn’t take much for someone to put on a smile and provide good customer service, even if the given place offers very bare bones service. At somewhere like a Motel 6, there might not be room service or anything else offered, but at least the front desk can make your check in and check out processes as easy as possible and be friendly as they do it.

Another thing I look for is cleanliness. While you might be at an older place, it can be kept clean at least. Going back to Motel 6, the decor might be old, worn, and outdated but it shouldn’t be covered in a layer of grime. Additionally, everything should be functional and I should get a hot shower no matter where I go. The same goes for any other place. Cleanliness and functionality is just another service that is provided by a place and everywhere can provide an acceptable levels of this.

While judging on customer service, cleanliness, and functionality is fairly straightforward, the other criteria can be a bit harder to judge, especially if you don’t know which market segment something is in. In many ways, if you want to do it right you sometimes need to do some research on the internet. In other ways, after a while experience will guide you in how to rate places.

In my experience, I have stayed at a lot of mid-range hotels, particularly La Quintas. With this experience, I am able to know what to expect out of a mid-range hotel. This means I should be able to go any mid-range hotel such as La Quinta, Best Western, Quality Inn, Hampton, or Holiday Inn Express and judge them all with the same criteria based upon their offerings. I would not, however, want to judge a Motel 6 on the same ratings.

After I see what a place has to offer and compare it to its market segment, that’s where I get my objective criteria. Considering most places are average within their given market segment and I am always on the look out for something positive to point out, my reviews typically come out seemingly positive. This, however, does not mean every single review will be positive and I have written my fair share of negative reviews\blog entries.

I just wanted to clarify things a bit more so any readers don’t think I’m just being unrealistically positive about most places and wearing some rose colored glasses when I go into a place. I apply very logical and objective criteria on every place I go and tend to be critical of things. While I am critical, I am also realistic and realize comparing Motel 6 to the Ritz-Carlton isn’t helpful. Finally, as I experience more things, my objective criteria will continue to grow and hopefully I can give you the most accurate reflection of every place I visit.

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