Yelp Reviews…For the Subway?

I love review sites. Yelp, TripAdvisor, Urban Spoon, you name it I’ve used it to find anything from a good restaurant to a good dry cleaner in my area. I like to be able to get a feel for the business before I decide to become a customer there. I also like to let other people know if they should refrain from becoming a customer at a business I have had a horrible experience with (by the looks of it, we all do). That being said, most businesses that are reviewed on customer rating sites have a range of reviews from great to terrible, but most reviews trend towards these two extremes. In a recent Mashable article, a study of customer reviews of the world’s subway systems shows another side of the ratings story: humor. 

When I recently traveled to New York, I used TripAdvisor reviews to decide which hotel to stay in and I used Yelp and Urban Spoon to find restaurants to try. It never occurred to me to use Yelp to check out the MTA because it is, after all, the only subway option in town. While there are many serious reviewers of the subway system who call for changes in New York City, I did some digging to find some particularly useful ones. And by useful, I mean they are a funny way to pass the time on your next subway commute. 

Yelp user L. William, a NYC native, says “I can’t take a nap without being woken up by flipping break dancers, Mariachi performers, or those men with long dreadlocks who play the African drums. If I wanted entertainment, I’d go to the theater.” At least the D train is cheaper. 

Reviewer Danika C. says “Yes, the bus comes when it wants. Have a schedule? Good for you, but it’s still not going to be on time. But when I think of the Big Apple, MTA is the Core.” I see what you did there, Danika C. Clever. 

Monica T. wants to help us tourists out by suggesting specific subway stations to use. In reference to a stop at West 4th street, “I’d advise a tourist who really wants to know what an average subway station looks like to go to this one.” I’ll be sure to stand in awe of this particularly average subway station next time I’m in the city for a visit thanks to you Monica. 

And the most useful and humorous review award goes to Tom T. who astutely observes, “It’s a good place to catch a train. It is a train station.” 

Online customer reviews can make or break a business. Luckily for the public transportation systems of the world, these funny reviews are just another way to help a morning commute pass by in a flash. 


Travel Savvy

While I was studying abroad at Oxford University over the summer, I planned a weekend trip to London with some other students. It was our first weekend trip, so we did what any traveling college student on a budget would do on their first week abroad… we looked for the cheapest hostel available to ensure that we had enough money to spend on other trips for the rest of the summer. That first week, we committed the biggest mistake that many travelers make: we didn’t read enough reviews.

Now, thanks to various websites (and that less than positive hostel experience), it is easier than ever to make a study of customer reviews a priority for every vacation planning process. Whether you are checking out a condo to rent at the beach, a boutique hotel in a foreign country, or a rental on AirBnB, there are review sites for all of your accommodation needs. For Millennials like me, is the place to go. There are numerous reviews of smaller, more budget friendly boutique hotels that appeal to my generation of travelers who aren’t afraid to try a quirky B&Bs or an artsy independent hotel.

Getaroom is capitalizing on the most common behavior of Gen Y individuals, which is sharing information and opinions online. Peer reviews and the opinions of friends and family influence many day-to-day purchases, and they are becoming greater influences on how we choose where to stay and what we do on vacation. The best part: it’s never been easier to share or discover reviews thanks to review sites and Social Media.

Customer reviews are great resources for guests who are looking for potential places to stay, but they can present a challenge to hotel management. When I am planning a trip, I look for reviews that have been acknowledged by the hotel staff. I see this as a sign of hotel management’s dedication to improving guest experiences and it makes my confidence in the hotel increase. Even if a hotel has a negative review, a response from management shows that they value the opinions of their guests and will try to accommodate them.

Millennials are a generation of Social Media loving, content creating, review reading travelers who love to have the inside scoop, so it will be important for hotels, restaurants, and “local” specialty destinations to see customer review sites as another tool to reach their audiences.