The Value of Peer-Reviewed Travel

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The digital world has simultaneously shrunk and expanded our travel horizons. Reaching out and communicating with people in all corners of the world has never been easier, cheaper or faster. At the same time, our unprecedented access to information means we have a constant stream (more like a raging river) of information that just might carry us away if we wade in too deep. With so much travel information available online, many people in search of the most authentic recommendations are turning to peer review sites.

Peer review sites are exactly what their name says: websites that let people share recommendations or cautions on products and services. It’s the digital version of word of mouth. They offer people the chance to get a genuine recommendation from another person, putting a human face on the often anonymous internet. The most popular travel-related site is TripAdvisor, which boasts over 20 million registered members. In addition to offering reviews of hotels, attractions and airlines, TripAdvisor has a member forum where people can go for advice on their travel plans. Similar discussion forums exist on such popular sites as the Lonely Planet’s Thorntree, Fodor’s, Rick Steves, CruiseCritic etc. These forums have the effect of creating digital communities of travelers, many offering genuinely helpful advice.

When we created ToursByLocals, we believed peer review to be an essential function of how the site worked. People could find a local guide on our site, take a tour, then return to the site to write a review of the guide, thus sharing their experience with other travelers. And it’s working fabulously! The site is now awash with reviews, and we appreciate the time everyone takes to perform this important ToursByLocals community service.

The only downside ToursByLocals has experienced with peer reviews is when prospective customers search for us in forums where no one has reviewed our services yet; when these people can’t find any reviews with a simple search, they conclude we’re not a legitimate business, and turn away. This is unfortunate, and it’s why we really appreciate it when our customers take an extra step and share their tour reviews on sites other than ours. It warms our hearts, actually, to know they’ve had such a great experience that they want to take it into their own hands to promote their guide’s fantastic services.

Should you be one of those people looking to shout from the rooftops how much you loved your guide (or didn’t!) here’s where you can go to do it: ToursByLocals TripAdvisor Page.
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