In the next few days, we’ll be re-introducing ratings & reviews for destinations — towns & cities. And it’s been a challenge to try to do it better and more appropriately. The 21st century is different — it’s about social media, experiential travel, digging deeper and being more aware. It’s about caring and being environmentally-aware. Travellers take home far more than just a t-shirt.
We’d really appreciate all comments and suggestions before we finalise everything.
So what are the Rating Criteria we’re looking at?
How safe? Public safety — that’s foremost on any list. Not many people are willingly to head off to risk their life and possessions. Did you feel safe most of the time? Crime stats alone can be misleading if most crime only occurs in hotspots tourists are unlikely — or foolish — to visit.
How much to do? How much is there to see and do? Big cities obviously offer much more but some small towns punch way above their stature in their offerings, and the quality of those offerings.
How caring? Is it a “feel-good” destination? Does is draw you back or make you want to own a piece of it? Were you impressed by the sense of inclusivity and community-minded citizens.
How authentic? Does it offer a unique, unusual or appropriate experiences that reflect local history & culture? Does it celebrate its roots and place in the universe, with a clear vision for its future?
How aesthetically pleasing?: Did it feed your soul? This is the difference between surviving and living. Vibrant creativity or great urban design and public spaces contribute to this, but so can natural features and environments.
The atmosphere: Cities and towns that are unsafe, dirty or unpleasant to visit, regardless of the quality of their attractions, will score badly. Occasionally some cities or towns get extra points for being unusually pleasant, vibrant, charming and tourist friendly.
Getting around: Are you forced to use your own car and is the drive an acceptable experience? (Big cities are always daunting.) Or is there excellent public transport? Or even better, can you forget wheels and walk (or cycle) everywhere, soaking up all there is to soak up? Small towns need not be at a disadvantage.
The bottom line: was it value for money?
So where is accommodation, food & drink, shopping…? They are all parts of the above.
What counts ultimately is the thought given to the review. Is it an original and insightful view? Other readers will give your review a thumbs-up or thumbs-down based on how helpful and believable yours has been. Over-the-top reviews are rarely credible. No place is perfect!
We also ask reviewers:
- To describe their highlights
- To describe their lowlights
- If they locals or visitors
- Was it a solo, partnered, family or business trip
- The year of the last visit
- Do they want to visit again