Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Some Concerns about User-Generated Websites

You’ve done some research on travel review website (like tripadvisor.com and cruisecritic.com), right? They’re great resources for independent travelers who are trying to decide what destinations to visit, where to stay, which cruises to sail, or where to eat.

But, haven’t you noticed how some hotels (or cruises, or restaurants, etc.) can have several great reviews . . . and then one absolutely horrid report? You probably write off the one bad review and go with what the majority wrote, but it still leaves some doubts, doesn’t it?

Then, there are the reviews that are too good to be true: Is that 3-star hotel on Waikiki Beach really the best hotel in the world??

Lots of these reviews can simply be written off to the fact that people like to exaggerate. However, an even more disturbing thought is that the reviews aren’t even written by customers!

Earlier this year, the famous guidebook author, Arthur Frommer, wrote an article for the San Francisco Chronicle:
Why online travel buzz might be bogus. He discusses the emerging PR tactic called “Buzz Marketing.” Basically, companies within the travel industry are paying people to post reviews on user-generated websites (including tripadvisor.com, etc.) – positive reviews about the company, negative reviews about the competitor.

Maybe that’s why Steve Kaufer, the founder of tripadvisor.com,
still uses a travel agent for his own trips.

User-generated websites are great to get the ideas flowing. But, follow that up with a call to your travel agent – someone who can give you an unbiased opinion. We at the Travel Team like to think we’ve got a lot of unique and useful knowledge to offer. Why don’t you check out
our website? Then, give us a call for some vacation advice, based on our own travels. The Travel Team Agents are your Australia and New Zealand Experts.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


If you’re traveling to New Zealand, make sure to hit-up the “thermal wonderland” – Rotorua, 3 hours south of Auckland. Built over a geothermal hot spot, Rotorua is a city constantly erupting with steam, hot water, and mud.

Some of the must-see highlights of Rotorua include:

  • One of the Thermal Parks –Te Puia or Wkakarewarewa Thermal Village
  • Skyline Skyrides – ride a gondola up Mt. Ngongotaha for great views of the area

  • Rainbow and Fairy Springs – New Zealand wildlife park

  • The Agrodome – a park/museum about rural life in New Zealand (Don’t miss the sheep show!)
  • Attend a traditional Maori Hangi (feast)
Rotorua is right on the shores of Lake Rotorua, while several other lakes are in the surrounding areas. Spend a day on the water, whether that’s trout fishing, boating, or relaxing on the shore. Spend another day hiking or mountain biking in the nearby Whakarewarewa forest or traveling up north to the sunny Bay of Plenty.

Learn more about
Rotorua by visiting our website. Then, view some of our New Zealand Packages and Tours that include a stop in Rotorua.