Writing a travel review helps ensure that future travelers select the right destination and accommodations for them.
Whether you’re planning to write a professional travel review for an offline or online publication, or you’re writing a consumer travel review to submit to one of the popular travel reviews sites, follow these simple steps:
Step 1 – Do your homework
Research your destination ahead of time. Have a general idea of the layout of the property or area you’ll be visiting. Familiarize yourself with the history of your location. Contact the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) at least 3 weeks prior to your visit and ask them to send you a press kit including maps, brochures and a travel guide, which will help with your research.
Step 2 – Take notes
Jot down meaningful experiences or descriptions that you might otherwise forget when you start writing. It might seem a little counter-intuitive to take notes during a relaxing vacation, but these notes will be very valuable when you sit down to start composing the review. Even if you just jot down a few key words, this will stimulate recall of details that are essential to an effective travel review.
What details should you look for at your accommodations?
- Check in: Greeting and welcome. Are your reservations and special requests in order? If the property is large, are you offered a map or a tour?
- Facilities. Are they clean and well maintained? Modern or outdated? Fitness room, pool area, bars, restaurants, common areas, sports facilities.
- Guest Room. Does the room match the photos and description as you expected? What in-room amenities are offered?
- Check out: Was checkout a no-hassle process? Were all your charges recorded accurately?
Step 3 – Arrange a tour
Prior to your visit, arrange a press tour of the property or destination when you arrive. If touring a hotel or other property, ask to see a variety of room types if the rooms are vacant.
Step 4 – Take pictures
Not only do pictures enhance your review and provide rich content, reviewing the photos after the visit can help you recall details when you’re writing your review. If you’re posting your review to a consumer travel reviews site, upload photos and post them with your review.
Step 5 – Don’t delay
Write the review soon after your visit is complete – even if it’s just a draft to get your thoughts down. You can refine it later. Delaying your travel review writing will cause you to leave out details that will make the review more interesting and thorough.
Step 6 – Get it published
Submit your review to the appropriate outlets (newspaper, magazine, or online publication). If you’re submitting your review as a consumer, rather than as a professional travel writer, choose reputable sites that tend toward high quality content. TripAdvisor is very popular among consumers and tends to have content-rich travel reviews. City Search and Yelp are a few others, but with less rich content.
Step 7 – Follow up
Once the review or article is published, let the business or CVB know you’ve published it. This is particularly important if the review is glowing or if you experienced problems during your visit. The property deserves to know if you’ve written a review, particularly a negative one, and may appreciate a conversation with you about the particulars. It can also be used as a tool by the property to improve their processes and business. A neutral and fair review is critical to both of these objectives. Resist the urge to be sarcastic, rude or overly critical.
One final tip: Write a review that will have mass appeal. Cover a wide a variety of travel categories within your review. My area of expertise is in writing spa reviews, but I when I write a travel article with a spa focus, I make sure to cover accommodations, dining, and non-spa activities to appeal to a wider audience.
What are your tips for writing an effective travel review article? Share them here!