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Give albergues/gîtes 5-star reviews during these weird times...

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Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I decided to become a serial 5-star reviewer to offset the pettiness. I have no idea if it will help, but I guess it's my way of saying "thank you" to some of the more delightful places where I've spent the night.
I salute you. Since the pandemic started, my review policy (for example, with Uber Eats) has been to give a five star rating if I'm happy or no rating at all if Im not. It's a time to be supportive of businesses that deserve our praise and not to petulantly lash out at those that don't.

I remember reading a column by François Simon (a professional food critic and author) about how to review restaurants during a recession. I wish I could find it now ... Essentially, I recall that he wrote that it's not right to punch people when they're down.
 
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truenorthpilgrim

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I salute you. Since the pandemic started, my review policy (for example, with Uber Eats) has been to give a five star rating if I'm happy or no rating at all if Im not. It's a time to be supportive of businesses that deserve our praise and not to petulantly lash out at those that don't.

I remember reading a column by François Simon (a professional food critic and author of a book about how to be a critic) about how to review restaurants during a recession. I wish I could find it now ... Essentially, I recall that he wrote that it's not right to punch people when they're down.

Precisely. It seems many 1-2 star reviews are just online temper tantrums. My needs are so simple during a camino that I'm happy to have a shower, bed and meal. I'm ecstatic if I get a fluffy towel handed to me. There was one municipal that had cold showers, but the dinner was made by a kind hospitalero by a warm fire. At less than $10 a night, I can hardly complain.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I agree. Having friends who own a caravan park, other friends who run a motel, and having had an AirBnB for a while, I know how damaging even the mildest criticism can be. My practice now is to either give a 5 star rating, or to send a private message if things are not up to scratch.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017
Planning for 2021
I no longer read the reviews on sites like Trip Advisor etc.

I was in a restaurant once and overheard a couple saying to the waiter when presented with their bill that unless they got a decent discount they were going to leave a very negative review. It was a good place with decent meals and good service and prices.

After which I stopped reading reviews due to the belief that they are so easily manipulated.
In fact just like leaving a five star review where maybe the place only really justified 3 or 4, maybe.
 
John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
This guide is one of the ones that has been around for over 15 years. Updated yearly. Please read the reviews.
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
All reviews are subjective. It's easy to spend way too much time looking at online reviews of lodging, restaurants, or products we intend to purchase, hoping to get the "best" available, yet sometimes we may still find ourselves disappointed.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I feel sorry for anyone who gets a review from this survey. More often than not reviewers are complaining, rarely do we ever spend time saying nice thing, just because some restaurant or albergue was having a "bad hair day" or one employee rubbed someone's sensitivity the wrong way suddenly they are subject to a bad review.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2021 (Sept, Oct)
During our 2019 Camino Frances, I made notes in my iPhone about each place we stayed.

For those reservations we made on Booking.com, I received a message from their website within a day or two asking for feedback. I always tried to respond in a timely way.

Then when we returned to the US when I had much more time, I went to the Gronze website and provided feedback on all the places we stayed. I feel Gronze is an invaluable resource and helps me decide where to stay based on other's comments, so I feel the need to comment on my experiences. Bob
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I made a decision years ago to decline all requests for any online reviews. The only time I did was a year+ ago as it was a personal request from the owners of a lovely B&B I'd stayed at, so I decided to take the time to respond, but it was never used on their website anyway.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
After running a b & b in rural France for 20+ years I could write a dissertation on good/bad reviews. Most clients judged fairly accepting that our's was a simple restored/repurposed farmhouse but once in a while we were judged poorly since we lacked the glitz of the Ritz!!
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
After running a b & b in rural France for 20+ years I could write a dissertation on good/bad reviews. Most clients judged fairly accepting that our's was a simple restored/repurposed farmhouse but once in a while we were judged poorly since we lacked the glitz of the Ritz!!
I often choose to stay at B & B's for the very things your farmhouse represents. They are far more unique and give lasting memories for me over cookie cutter generic hotel chains, although I have had a few exceptions where my hotel memories have been special.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I have started to write reviews on Gronze as I walk. I am very careful when I read a review especially of places that I have stayed at. I remember I posted here once about reviews and got some negative feedback. I had said that just because someone did not like the reception that they received at an albergue that they gave the albergue a negative review. Even though they may have written or many others wrote that the albergue was well maintained, clean and generally had everything that one would look for to spend a night. I love it when people complain that the water pressure wasn't good, or the shower wasn't that hot or it was cold at night. Maybe that hospitalero had just checked in some rude pilgrims or was just having a bad day. Some, and by no means it alot of Pilgrims except a donative or 10 E albergue to give them the comforts of the Ritz. Yes you can point out something that may have really been annoying. We should most certainly point out unhealthy, unsanitary or the willingness of ownership to allow very loud and unruly pilgrims to continue without intervening. But taking an albergue down because someone didn't smile long enough or engage you the way you want doesn't make alot of sense to me. But I think if you read the reviews in Gronze you can really see what I am talking about. I would say, for me at least, that half if not more of the negative comments have no effect on whether or not I am going to lay my head down in that bed tonight. I will continue to write reviews. They are all subjective of course but I will try to be as objective subjective as I can.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
They are all subjective of course but I will try to be as objective subjective as I can.

That’s the best we can do – and that’s what we should remember when reading reviews, that they are “objective-subjective”. Just giving 5-star ratings no matter what will, over time, render all rating-sites totally useless, and so the potential ‘positive effect’ of giving 5-star ratings will vanish.
 

RemysMimi

Hooked on the Camino!!
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2018)
Frances or Portuguese (2020)
I have started to write reviews on Gronze as I walk. I am very careful when I read a review especially of places that I have stayed at. I remember I posted here once about reviews and got some negative feedback. I had said that just because someone did not like the reception that they received at an albergue that they gave the albergue a negative review. Even though they may have written or many others wrote that the albergue was well maintained, clean and generally had everything that one would look for to spend a night. I love it when people complain that the water pressure wasn't good, or the shower wasn't that hot or it was cold at night. Maybe that hospitalero had just checked in some rude pilgrims or was just having a bad day. Some, and by no means it alot of Pilgrims except a donative or 10 E albergue to give them the comforts of the Ritz. Yes you can point out something that may have really been annoying. We should most certainly point out unhealthy, unsanitary or the willingness of ownership to allow very loud and unruly pilgrims to continue without intervening. But taking an albergue down because someone didn't smile long enough or engage you the way you want doesn't make alot of sense to me. But I think if you read the reviews in Gronze you can really see what I am talking about. I would say, for me at least, that half if not more of the negative comments have no effect on whether or not I am going to lay my head down in that bed tonight. I will continue to write reviews. They are all subjective of course but I will try to be as objective subjective as I can.
I totally agree. I only stayed in a couple of albergues, but for the money what do you expect? In most cases, you are fed dinner/breakfast and you have a place to lay your weary body for the night. All for 10 euro or free if you are staying in a donativo and too cheap to leave a few coin.
 
John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
This guide is one of the ones that has been around for over 15 years. Updated yearly. Please read the reviews.
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Jodean

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
I write outstanding reviews for the places that give outstanding service. Occasionally I write bad ones if I think they deserve to have a bad one.
As a tour company owner, a good review is like money in the bank for us. What ever you may think about Trip Advisor, I do believe that 99% of the reviews are true and not manipulated. All of ours are true and the same holds true for all my colleagues.

The OP is asking us to write reviews of the places we liked, not write fake ones.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2021 (Sept, Oct)
I only write negative reviews if I have had a really, really bad experience. One example was an albergue in Atapuerca which I booked a private room on the Booking.com website. I went to check in and the owner said the albergue was completo and she had no record of my reservation. Well, I did. I gave her the reservation number, the date I made the reservation and the cost for a private room with a private bath. I told her that she could contact Booking.com if she needed to check further. She was completely dismissive, saying that Booking.com makes mistakes all the time. Fortunately, we found a room nearby in another albergue.

Another example: my wife and I walked several hours in a drenching rain. We rented a private room in an albergue that was extremely hard to find. When we finally checked in, we were soaked to the bone despite wearing Goretex rain jackets and using gaiters to keep our feet dry. The owner and her daughter both were argumentative, saying that their place was not difficult to find. They did not offer us towels to dry off. Later that afternoon, we wanted to have a beer or glass of wine. We went downstairs and found out that the owner and daughter had left the albergue and we were the only guests. They did not return until it was time to prepare us dinner.

In both cases, since the treatment was so poor, I wrote negative reviews, warning other pilgrims to avoid these places. Bob
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2021 (Sept, Oct)
Here's another. We made reservations at a private albergue in Viloria de Rioja. When I made the reservation, I asked if they served us dinner. Yes, and the cost was very high (25 euros per person). I asked about this and the owner said that meals are specially prepared with special ingredients, so that is why the cost was high. This town is very small so we really didn't have other options. When we arrived, we discovered that the owner was having an engagement party on the main level of the house. We checked into our rooms, but did not have access to the main level with the party going on. We didn't have access to the back patio until 4 pm. Then we learned that the expensive dinner was not specially prepared - we were served the leftovers from the engagement party for 25 euros per person, then she charged us extra for cheap wine! You bet I left a negative review - in multiple websites !
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Here's another. We made reservations at a private albergue in Viloria de Rioja. When I made the reservation, I asked if they served us dinner. Yes, and the cost was very high (25 euros per person). I asked about this and the owner said that meals are specially prepared with special ingredients, so that is why the cost was high. This town is very small so we really didn't have other options. When we arrived, we discovered that the owner was having an engagement party on the main level of the house. We checked into our rooms, but did not have access to the main level with the party going on. We didn't have access to the back patio until 4 pm. Then we learned that the expensive dinner was not specially prepared - we were served the leftovers from the engagement party for 25 euros per person, then she charged us extra for cheap wine! You bet I left a negative review - in multiple websites !
Some people have expressed the view that it's unhelpful to review only places that we're happy with. I guess that's a fair point to make. Regardless of your opinion about that, however, this thread is not the place to denounce specific businesses.
It does sound like you had a negative experience but at what point will you consider the grudge settled? The fact that you're "naming and shaming" this albergue (having already posted multiple negative reviews elsewhere) in a thread that's about being kind to businesses during this crisis is a perfect illustration of the lengths that some negative reviewers will go to for their "pound of flesh."
Perhaps it's time to think about what you can learn from the experience rather than trying to get your own back. If for no reason other than your own health, I recommend that you move on.
 
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RemysMimi

Hooked on the Camino!!
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2018)
Frances or Portuguese (2020)
It's not Pilgrim like to write this.
Donativo doesn't mean free. 🙏
You took this out of context. I said "free if they don't pay" not that they shouldn't pay. I absolutely think that they should pay/donate whatever they would if they were staying in a paying establishment.
 

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