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Get lost Tripadvisor: HolidayCheck is here

There’s way too much written about Tripadvisor, the American heavyweight hotel review site. Quite apart from the level of fraudulent reviews – the ASA recently ruled that Tripadvisor could no longer advertise itself as trustworthy – there’s the fact that Tripadvisor contributors seem both easily wowed and also liable to complain about the strangest things – often in what appear to be co-ordinated attacks.

There’s a far more balanced website based on the tranquil shores of the Lake Constance, on Switzerland’s border with Germany. HolidayCheck happens to be the Europe’s largest online travel portal, and the market leader in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Poland.

Where HolidayCheck differs from Tripadvisor is that each review is run through an algorithm that checks 16 different aspects, including tests for tourist-trade language and bad IP addresses, with suspect entries being examined by a team of 60 highly-trained tourism professionals. Suspect entries are pursued, with proof of booking sought, and prosecutions result when appropriate. The bad news from this is that it can take a few weeks for reviews to appear on the site, especially in high season, but the good news is that once reviews are approved for this site you can believe every word you read. Each is a real review written by an actual traveller.

This protects consumers from trade manipulation, but HolidayCheck are also fair to the hotels and cruise lines that are reviewed on their site. Each establishement can communicate directly with HolidayCheck and can also warn if they are being blackmailed – an increasing occurrence online.

Hotels can upload their own pictures but, more importantly, guests are encouraged (with small but useful bribes) to upload both photos and videos. This means the dawn-taken brochure shots of empty beaches and idyllic swaying palms can be countered with actual pictures taken by actual guests: real photos and videos provided by real travellers provide valuable insights into the holiday experience travellers can expect.

HolidayCheck also take things further than the simple accommodation ratings, broadening out their reviews to cover resorts and experiences. Seen from a shared European perspective these give you a clear idea what to expect and provide vital insights as you make your travel plans.

As Europe’s largest hotel and resort review site HolidayCheck is far more useful than its big American brother. Sign up for their Newsletter and you’ll get a monthly digest of destination information and new top-rated hotels. In the real world, where you’re following the European seasons and sensibly attainable flights, HolidayCheck is far more likely to provide the holiday information you need.

Oh, and they also have Tripadvisor buttons, so you can easily compare the American version. It doesn’t take long to work out which is more useful.

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