As a traveler, you likely go to this site and at least use ratings in your initial search of specific attractions and resorts. But does that Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor equal a better experience?
The answer is more yes than no with some clarifications. First, resorts have really tried actively to get good ratings. A recent stay at a high-end resort in Playa Del Carmen, a top five in the rankings for that area illustrates this dilemma. Strolling the property, “Rate us on Trip Advisor…” was posted in all elevators and walkways. It may be that kind of orchestrated advertorial push works the other way, negative ratings or no ratings at all. “Tell them Joe sent you” would have worked better.
To get the CE designation, the venue will have to get a minimum of four out of five stars for a 12-month period. Elizabeth Monahan, Senior Public Relations Specialist, noted, “The accolade is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Approximately 10 percent of accommodations listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.” When you think about it, Top-10 is a pretty good number in any industry, let alone the travel industry where super-competitive is the norm. And, with 600 million reviews in the pool, that is a worthy accomplishment.
However, there is substance to the program, and as a result, venues have likely become a little bit more responsive to online complaints. According to Monica Birrueta, Social Media and PR Manager for the El Cid Resorts, “every negative review must be heard and responded since these are areas of opportunity for improving our services and facilities. We read and follow up on each and every comment, positive or negative, as we greatly appreciate that our guests take the time to write their thoughts about our establishment.” This was the ElCid policy from the beginning, and TripAdvisor just offered another avenue to demonstrate to the potential guests they listen and try to act on comments. TripAdvisor awarded El Cid El Moro Beach Hotel and its restaurant La Concha, La Marina restaurant located at El Cid Marina Beach Hotel and El Patio restaurant at El Cid Granada & Country Club with the prestigious 2017 Certificate of Excellence.
An area that has benefited from this program is categorizing the resort or venue. Comments tend to link the advertised nature and amenities of the venue to the actual experience. Rather than a venue being the best at everything for every potential guest, they are able to focus on their niche through real customers helping to define their slot.
In the case of El Cid Resorts, they have a Quality Team that evaluates comments as they relate to actual services or amenities. As TripAdvisor grew in outreach, this department expanded to accommodate the follow up on all reviews. So, you as the traveler are more likely to get an experience that was accurately described before your visit.
As Birrueta notes about El Cid Resorts receiving the Certificate of Excellence, “there is a positive impact on business as we are ranked on first places on TripAdvisor. In posting our different awards on our site, our future guests can feel comfortable and secure knowing our guests trust us.”
The TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is not a total guarantee of a great experience that matches your expectations. However, like Mister Rogers, you will likely be in the right travel neighborhood.