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How To Write A Good UK & Ireland Review
Member Name: helencb
How To Write A Good UK & Ireland Review
Date: 28/01/07, updated on 28/01/07 (176 review reads)
Advantages: I hope I can inspire more contributions to the category
Disadvantages: You may not like my approach
So what exactly CAN you write about in UK/Ireland category. Well there is quite a lot of scope really. The full list is officially "clubs, destinations, hotels, internet cafes, museums, national parks, pubs/bars, restaurants and cafes, shopping, sightseeing, theatre, theme parks, zoos, transport and youth hostels". I must admit there are a few of those I haven't attempted myself, notably clubs as I am past that stage in life...and internet cafes...because there isn't really a lot of scope for review writing there..internet cafes tend to be the means to an end instead of the end in themselves!
I think a lot of the ideas for writing good UK/Ireland reviews applies to many categories overall in fact.
Firstly it is important to begin your review appropriately - it might be ok to write a line or so on why you chose the venue that you did and a background to your family who came with you - but three paragraphs would be pushing it. I think I am one of the few people that welcomes the new "read count" on dooyoo, showing a combined count of member and non member reads. All of a sudden, the reads look very high compared to before - which means that non members are (hopefully) reading, which is our raison d'etre..! Equally it is impossible to write reviews in this category without some reference to one's friends and family, so as long as you keep it in balance.
Secondly, it is important to avoid lists or duplication of other information on the venue's own website. This might apply to price lists for eating houses or hotels, lists of shops in a shopping centre, lists of rides in a theme park or a cut and paste list of opening hours and prices for a museum or other national monument. As the "true" potential customer can quite easily (and has most probably) already looked up most of this information on the internet, then there is no point repeating it. Instead, replace it with your personal experience i.e. your thoughts on value for money, variety of rides, queues, that sort of thing. Keep to paragraphs rather than "dot-points" and lists and you cannot go far wrong.
Many reviews in this category are luxury products and services rather than essentials and most of them will be fairly costly in nature (even a day out to a theme park is a small fortune now). When writing about eateries, hotels, guest houses and the like, I think it is important to recreate the sense of feeling, or emotion. Did it feel indulgent and welcoming? Things like how the food was presented are more important - because this is one of the most important things we care about when eating out, arguably more than just the actual food in a restaurant, as otherwise we would all just eat at home.
I find reviews that capitalise on plenty of adjectives to describe decor/surroundings very well tend to draw the reader in more - it's a bit like describing the food so well that the reader wants to come in and eat it! With hotels, it is beds and bathrooms that are the biggest seducers..so just what did you think when you entered the bedroom..delight, or despair? How appealing and tasteful were the furniture and fittings - tired and jaded or contemporary or warmth?
While it might not be possible for a one off trip, if you want to write about a place you could potentially visit more frequently, then allow yourself the luxury of a few trips before embarking on your review - it will guarantee a much more credible opinion if you know that service is consistently good or bad. Of course - we don't all go back to the same hotels or museums etc, and indeed it does not mean that one off trips are invalid from a review writing point of view - they are still very valuable!
Database restructuring over the years has led to lots of "XXXXXX in General" type categories on Dooyoo. Sometimes, in our eagerness to get our review published and our views and experiences shared, these become "dumping grounds" for barely related opinions. If you are writing about a specific venue, then please be patient and add the category to the database first.! This is usually done very quickly (there is a bit of a hold up at the moment), and it is MUCH better for the public who can see at a glance whether the ABC Hotel in Aberdeen gets high or low star ratings from its previous guests. Very few of us would make a decision to go (or not go) to a particular place based on one review..we wanted a more rounded opinion.
When you are adding categories however, it is quite common for members to add to the International Category of travel rather than the UK/Ireland part...it is easily done, down there at the bottom of the New Product form, but it will mean your review is technically misplaced..and moving reviews is a tricky thing on dooyoo.
However, if you have gone somewhere in the UK/Ireland on holiday for example, or even want to write about aspects of your own area, then the XXXXX in General categories are ideal - as you do not have to write quite so much on what can be done in the area, but are writing more as a taster and outline for potential visitors.
Travel writing features in many weekend papers and many of us like reading articles, and dreaming about our future plans. Travel reviews on websites tend to be longer than the average review, but they do not necessarily have to be, as many of our best travel writers prove every week in the newspapers. Enthusiasm is one thing, and there are some excellent Travel and UK/Ireland writers on Dooyoo who do write lengthy interesting articles, but it is worth keeping in mind how much you think you can hold the reader - and if in doubt, edit..! You don't HAVE to write a little paragraph on EVERY ride in a theme park - especially if you didn't go on them all - no one will think any less of your review - certainly not me! Read a few travel reviews in newspapers and decide what styles work for you - this is creative swiping - just the same as reading other reviews really! You might find that LESS is definitely MORE in travel - after all, every reader will write their own story in their mind when they visit.
I think it is more of a general point, but it is useful to keep your Advantages and Disadvantages and your star rating relevant/appropriate to the Venue in question and to your experience. For example, if a five star hotel is expensive compared to other five star hotels in the same town, then that would clearly be a disadvantage, but if you say it is expensive purely as your budget is normally three star or Motel/Inn, then the five star isn't necessarily expensive in actual fact..equally if you quote rates, then do a sanity check to see if the rates you quote are the Best Available rates - no point saying the hotel is £200 a night rack rate, when the reality is you can get in there any night you like for £80.
I hope I have given a few thoughts for idea generation here. I love travelling around the UK/Ireland and learning more about our rich culture. I work in the hotel industry too and I love reading about the competition as well as new places to consider for a break..so please get writing and give me something to read! So if you have stepped out of doors lately and visited somewhere new, be sure to tell us about it :)
(Any questions about UK/Ireland related reviews, please feel free to PM me - equally if you feel that your suggestion has not come back in time, let me know and I will do what I can to hurry things along for you!)
Summary: Everyone has something to contribute to UK/Ireland (Unless you have never been...!)