We have all relied on an online review to make a purchase at some point. But how do you know that the review is genuine, and not just part of the free promotion of the company itself? Or an attempt to undermine the quality of the product or service quality by the competitors? How to spot a fake review of day tours from Split?
Customer reviews are highly influential in our purchase decisions, so it does not come as a surprise that there is a big interest in creating fake ones. Online reviews can have a huge impact on a business’s success, especially in the tourism industry. Recent studies have shown that we rate the stranger’s reviews just as highly as we do the advice from our friends and family (theconversation.com).
But how good do you think you are in spotting the real review from a fake one?
Luckily, there are lots of strategies you can use to spot a fake review.
In our business, we pride ourselves on selling the top day tours from Split. If you ever visited Split, you probably know that there are hundreds of tours and tour providers and that it isn’t always easy to distinguish the good from the bad ones. We gave ourselves the task to do the ‘homework’ for you and find the best ones. Among many methods, checking the organizer’s reviews is on our list when we look for potential partners.
Over time, we’ve become pretty good at spotting the little details that help us identify fake from genuine reviews. Once you know what to look for – it gets easier. We would like to share our knowledge with you, so you can have the best experiences on your day tours wherever you decide to travel.
Firstly, it is important to know where fake reviews of day tours from Split, and in general, actually come from. Here are some of the most common sources:
who write fake reviews to promote their company, or negative fake reviews to damage their competitors
Employees/friends/family members of business owners
who write reviews to help promote the business
who had either had a personal disagreement with someone in the company and are not honest in their product review/or are looking for refunds to save some money
who write negative reviews because they are frustrated with being let go from the company
The companies may even ask the customers to write positive reviews offering them rewards and discounts for doing so. These might be hard to spot, but with a few skills – you will likely notice them.
Of course, there are many other categories – but these seem to be the most common ones.
Here is what you can do to detect a fake review:
CHECK THE REVIEWERS PROFILE
When checking the review, you can enter the reviewer’s profile. You will easily see if this is a genuine traveler, especially if they have various reviews for different tours accompanied with photographs. Ask yourself if the profile looks like it comes from a real person, see if there are some photos attached from the tours, check when the profile was open and how many reviews were given by this person.
If you are really passionate about finding genuine reviews, you can check the reviewer’s photo by doing a Google image search. If you find the same photo on multiple sites – it is most likely a fake review.
As an example, check this review for our Krka Waterfalls tour on Tripadvisor.
You will find different reviews for different locations from this traveler that all look genuine, and we can conclude almost with certainty that this review is a genuine one. If you find a reviewer who wrote 30 reviews for hotels and restaurants in the same city, it is unlikely that they stayed in that many hotels in the same city as a genuine traveler – more likely they get paid to write reviews.
In saying this, be careful of the reviewers who have only positive reviews from different places around the world. If you only find positive five-star reviews from too many different locations – you might have discovered the happiest person in the world, but more likely you are dealing with someone paid to write them!
WATCH THE LANGUAGE
The genuine review will usually be written in a relaxed tone, with specifics such as the tour guide’s name, places they visited, and opinions on things experienced on the tour written very specifically. Often, the person will write what they liked and disliked about the tour, and the tone of the text can give you an idea if the review is worth taking into consideration.
Pay attention to the phrases used in a review. If you spot the ‘brochure’ language that resembles the one written in a company’s promo materials, you are probably looking at the fake review. Genuine reviewers will use specific words such as ‘price’, ‘staff’ etc. while fake reviews will have generic words such as ‘vacation’, ‘experience’… Travelers who don’t work in the tourism industry will more likely use everyday language rather than professional language.
Honest reviews might be short or long – so don’t dismiss the short ones with just a few words of praise. Just make sure to pay attention to the language to detect if it sounds sincere.
Let’s look at some of our Rafting tour reviews:
‘Great experience with Tony, I recommend for sure! Just if possible do it after it rained to have a higher water level.‘
The review is short and simple, but it gives a personal tip on what to look for and how to improve your experience. A genuine review for sure!
‘Overall and very enjoyable experience with this professional company. We selected them based on a recommendation from our hotel (no commission) as well as the extra provisions compared to other companies in Split. Be sure to check their website before you book – there was a discount that we missed out on because we went to the shop in town…
– Professional: the whole experience from booking, transfer to the Cetina river, rafting instructions and transfer back to Split
– Experienced: Bruno and Toni were our tour guides and they were obviously knowledgeable and well-versed in all the twists and turns of the course
– Provision of equipment: compared to other companies (we researched others), they provided helmets, life jackets, neoprene shorts and waterproof shoes
– Slightly expensive – we probably would have gone for the extreme rafting tour, but at 75 Euro pp, it was out of our budget. At 45 Euro pp for this tour it was better, but perhaps could have included a snack
– Photos are an optional extra at 50 kuna per person (the tour guides brought a GoPro with them), but the course was definitely calm enough for a well-secured smartphone in a waterproof case to suffice.‘
In this review, it is obvious that the reviewer really wanted to help someone else decide if this tour is for them, and therefore included the pros and cons of the trip. This is great as you know it’s honest. Of course, it is an opinion, and you might find some cons to be pros for you and vice versa.
BEWARE OF THE EXTREMELY GOOD OR BAD REVIEWS OF DAY TOURS FROM SPLIT
Beware of the reviews that are purely bad or good. Most of the guests will have some positive points in a negative review or some things that could be improved in a positive review. Rarely, especially in a whole day trip, everything will be extremely good or extremely bad. So, look for the reviews that give you both – those are more likely to be genuine.
This is one of the reviews on our Facebook page:
‘We went on the trip to Brač and the golden horn, on a catamaran. Fantastic trip, good food (don’t expect a sit down full meal) and great scenic views. Crew were generally very friendly and knowledgeable. Our only issue was the drunk and noisy English and American tourists – we would suggest to the crew that they limit alcoholic drinks for people who are drinking excessively. Apart from that a PERFECT trip and I would recommend it to every tourist who are visiting Split‘
This is what a genuine review will mostly look like – the guests were thrilled with the tour and they strongly recommend it, but they will let you know of some things they had (or think that future travelers might have) an issue with.
READ THE COMPANY’S REPLIES
Usually, when an angry guest or competitor writes a review that is not genuine and meant to help you decide, you will be able to find this out from the company’s reply. Sometimes people are frustrated with circumstances that have nothing to do with the trip or the company’s staff (such as bad weather conditions during a boat trip), and they will write a bad review looking to get some money back, or due to being angry about not getting a refund. Serious companies will write back to the guest explaining the situation and making it clear to you if you are dealing with the review of the product or someone’s personal frustration.
As an example, our Blue Cave tour got a 1-star negative review because the guest was frustrated that they had to catch a ferry back from Hvar as the company left them there on the last stop of the trip. In the company’s reply, you will find out that the guests were over 30 minutes late, that 10 other guests waited for them on the boat that had to leave as it was getting dark and the trip to Split is long. They further explain that 87 other guests from all boats came back on time that day, so it was clear what the meeting time was. The guests were obviously frustrated as they had to catch a ferry, but this had nothing to do with the quality of the tour nor is in any way the fault of the company, so this review can be dismissed.
CHECK THE TIMING OF THE REVIEWS
Look at the timing of the reviews and if you notice a sudden spike in the number of reviews (especially the star ratings), this could be a good sign of a paid campaign through purchased reviews. Or the company owner reaching to friends and family to ‘boost’ their reviews. You will notice many short reviews from people from the same place (who probably don’t have a big review history on their profile), in this case.
This also applies to the reviews from genuine customers who got some incentives from the company to write a review. If you see many short, positive reviews without explanations and details – you have probably discovered the nest of non-genuine reviews! If a company has 100 reviews, and 80 of those were written in the same period of time, those reviews were probably purchased.
If you feel that all this is too much work for you, I have great news! There are tools that can do the job for you!
USE THE ONLINE TOOLS
There are online tools that can help you analyze the reviews. If you have time to play with this, try it – some of those promise 90% accuracy. For example, Fakespot can help you spot and avoid fake reviews. It’s free and they can also check Tripadvisor reviews. Of course, the findings may not be 100% accurate, but they can reduce the risk if you are in doubt. Another great tool is the Review skeptic. They use machine learning to identify the fake hotel reviews – you just need to copy and paste the review you wish to check. Just as with the reviews, don’t take these results for granted. Leave a bit of space for doubt, and trust your own research.
And for the end, one final piece of advice: check the reviews for a day tour from Split you are interested in on multiple platforms!
For example, cross-check the reviews of a certain company/tour on Trip Advisor with their Facebook page, website, etc. You will be able to see the profiles of their customers, the timing and wording of the reviews to give you a better idea if you are dealing with a company that has genuine reviews or not. It is highly unlikely that the company will pay for fake reviews across all the platforms.
If you see reviews with similar wordings, phrases, or reviews that are all 100% positive with not much text across all platforms, dig deeper to see if the reviews are real – not that you have all this knowledge!
Reviews of fellow travelers are a great tool for finding a quality day tour from Split, so with these few tips, we wish you safe purchases of fantastic tours. You can always send a message to a certain reviewer, and if they don’t reply – put the review on a suspicious list!