Tripadvisor.com is not a web site I use or recommend, but it does no harm.
Yesterday, here in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala I assisted a man in renting a Hotel room way out on Finca Road. I am fluent in Spanish, and he needed help translating to rent the room for 1300 Quetazles per month.
During the day, he kept talking about another Hotel listed as number one on TripAdvisor.com, and I finally had to say,
"That is not a benefit to me, it is a negative."
I am not saying TripAdvisor.com is bad, it is for people who pay more, and are afraid, it is not for getting the best value. Tourism is 98 percent of the time about bragging, trends, fashions, and not about culture. It is about returning home, and having the ability to brag well, without someone saying you are stupid.
He did rent a rather nice Hotel on Finca Road, it has a great view of the lake, and the cleaning lady, and guardiano who manage the place were great. The owner appears to only live there occasionally, the Hotel is OK.
He asked me while I was at the Hotel,
"How much would you pay?"
I again said,
"I would never live here, it is too far out."
It is interesting to me how people believe you agree, if you do not argue with them, as if I would also would want to live there. Tourists want to defend they decision, as if their personal preferences should be the same as mine, or somehow it is of value to me. It is quite amazing to me what percentage of people make really bad decisions in life, somebody needs too, I think life is graded on curve, someone has to lose.
Now, there is nothing wrong with the Hotel on Finca road, if you agree to walking 30 minutes to get to the closest restaurant, or supermarket, I just said,
"I am way too lazy to walk that far."
We walked back to San Pedro, and as we walking it started to rain, and I kept thinking to myself,
"I did not bring my umbrella."
"I forgot my umbrella."
"There are not taxis on this road."
"We are way too out."
There is nothing worst than being stranded on a 30 minute walk, on road with few if any Tuk Tuk Taxis.
Upon arriving to San Pedro after renting the room, and he wanted to buy me a cup of coffee at Las Cristalinas coffee shop. This is the yuppie equivalent of Starbucks, which does have an inordinate amount of pretty girl tourists in one spot; it was the fourth time in my life I have stopped there, I have only paid twice.
It is sometimes a little weird talking about tourists information, they often are waiting for me to agree, or disagree. And, in my mind, as long as they are not doing something horrible dangerous, I do not say much when people talk about buying or spendign money, it always reminds me children talking about toys.
I did tell him he increased his chances greatly of getting robbed out on Finca Road, and he should not walk home at night. This is 0 or 1, on or off, yes or no thing to most people, they cannot weigh odds, ratios, percentages or probabilities.
I think he wanted more of a place to brag about than to be practical, so this is normal life, and the Hotel is not expensive, it is about the same as my Hotel without the Internet. However, for me, I would need to add on 300-500 Q for Tuk Tuk Taxis, at the minimum, it will be fun to see if he likes the place.
I recommended to him three times to rent it for a week, then do the jump for a month, but I think he needs the month to feel safe because his Spanish is a zero.
I have no idea why I would use TripAdvisor.com
I do not believe a recommendation by tourist who go on a two week vacation once or twice per year are worth anything. They just want to substantiate, that they made a good decision to themselves. I went to TripAdvisor for San Pedro la Laguna, and I never even heard of the first one, and know for sure the next few were just gaming the system, not to be trusted. It just meant the next few hotels spoke more English, and were more Gringo, less Guatemala.
I said to him,
"When a person says he lived in a Hotel for a month, then I do listen."
But to say, you lived in a the number one Hotel on TripAdvisor to me, just means you are tourists and paid 3-50 times more than me for about the same, and normal worst location.
Another strange thing about TripAdvisor.com and this man, he kept using TripAdvisor.com as a guage of value, and has now rented three Hotels in San Pedro that are not on TripAdvisor, he is not aware of the incongruency in thinking.