I have been thinking about the power of travel reviews especially as it relates to small, independently-run businesses and when travelling in New Zealand last week, I did what I normally don't read reviews before making a decision where to stay.
I did it just once because I was going to a place I hadn't been before and I hadn't bothered to ask anybody about it one of those last minute things.
I honestly find the whole review exercise tiring because you have to plough through so much rubbish. Usually what I do is ask a friend to recommend something for example, in Berlin, this weekend, I was recommended the Hotel Luise by a local tour operator friend because I wanted to try something different in the German city. Been so many times and always stayed in same old branded properties thought it was time to check out another scene.
On this New Zealand trip, I was headed for Russell in the Bay of Islands. Sometime before 5pm, I stopped at an Internet cafι $3 for 15 minutes access and I googled "Russell Bay of Islands boutique hotels". (Things shut early in this part of the world so you usually have to do everything before 5pm)
Follow the link below to ead the entire story in a new window: www.webintravel.com/blog/the-power-of-travel-reviews-to-hurt-the-small-guys_1421