by Elite Travel

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The False Reports, Blatant Lies, and Dirty Secrets on Destination Wedding Review Sites

At best, User-Review sites like TripAdvisor and wedding forums are a fantastic resource for getting a better idea of what to expect at resorts and from wedding vendors – and, as a Destination Wedding specialist with over 18 years of travel industry experience, I know just how valuable real first-hand reviews can be. You don’t really know a property until you’re sunbathing on that beach yourself (Is it windy? Are there sand fleas? Is the kiddie pool located directly under the Honeymoon suite? – You won’t know unless you go!). That’s why it was part of my policy early-on that every Elite Travel agent had to go to the properties we sell – and we listen closely to the reports from our couples who have been to our properties more recently than we have.

Yes, reviews are wonderful things – unless they’re fake. Here’s an industry secret no one wants to tell you: Not only are the positive reviews all too-often rigged – the negative reviews are too.

Competition between resorts, travel agencies, and other travel industry businesses can get nasty – to the point where people are paid to leave reviews that sabotage the reputation of properties, agents and others. Nothing hurts a destination wedding resort like a handful of bad reviews, especially when users don’t realize those reviews could be just as fake as the positive ones.

Some niche Destination Wedding review sites are thinly-veiled travel agent websites. They appear to encourage real reviews, but what they don’t say is that they delete any review that they don’t like. And, if a reviewer or forum member mentions a competing agency, that post will never see the light of day!

I’m not saying all reviews are fake, or that the user review sites aren’t doing everything in their power to prevent false reviews. They’ve got torrents of algorithms and other monitoring methods to weed out fakes (unfortunately weeding out a few real reviews that get caught in the line of fire). But I am saying that user review sites aren’t an alternative to a good, knowledgeable, honest travel agent.

Every couple we send to a property tells us exactly what they think of it – often before they even return from their honeymoon! If they love it, we continue recommending it. But if they tell us that the quality has gone down, that the management wasn’t attentive, or that their room was located directly above the kiddie pool – we address it with the property first, and if they don’t make that couple blissfully happy with a solution, we stop selling that property.

We know how important your destination wedding is to you; too important to trust to strangers online.