A. On the internet today you can find a consumer review of almost every property that is available.
Some sites will offer an average rating of all the people that submit reviews, while others let you make your own mind up based on the comments.
As in previous columns, it has always been a concern of properties that phony reviews are placed by competitors. Also, no chance is given to address complaints that may be justified from a property that does, for the greater part, do a tremendous job in satisfying their clients.
Travel agents, who can’t possibly visit every property in every sun destination, use feedback from existing clients in coming to conclusions about their own recommendations.
A few weeks ago, a report was issued which measured the responses of 20,000 Canadians who booked via Canadian online travel agencies that use the services of travel technology provider SoftVoyage.
The vast majority of Canadian travel agencies who offer online bookings utilize the SoftVoyage platform.
Because the survey was confined only to people who had actually taken trips from Canada, it is felt that the chance of manipulating the results is minimal.
The results are indeed interesting. The survey was taken in a number of categories so travellers can relate the properties and destinations to their lifestyle.
What is fascinating is what we see occur on a regular basis. A brand property, for the most part, will maintain its standards from one destination to another. In this survey that reality stood out strongly.
The top two for best food were Dreams Puerto Vallarta and the Valentin Imperial on Mexico’s Mayan Riviera.
Even though Dreams resorts are not inexpensive, the Dreams Riviera Cancun was one of the top two choices for value along with Iberostar Peraiso Grande also on the Mayan Riviera.
For beaches, top billing went to Mayan Riviera, Punta Cana, and Cuba’s Santa Clara region specifically in relation to the Catalonia Maroma, Iberostar, and Royal Hideaway respectively.
Other categories were family and couples only vacations.
You can view a complete list of the reviewed properties on www.monarc.ca .
While these top reviews may measure the average ratings as gathered by the survey, I can assure you that the beaches of Negril in Jamaica, or Varadero, Cuba take a back seat to no one. Nor does the food quality and service of resort chains like Karisma, Sandals, or RIU.
I have stayed at the El Cid in Mazatlan and found the environment and the service to be excellent.
Forward your travel questions to [email protected]. Ron Pradinuk is President of Journeys Travel & Leisure SuperCentre and can be heard Sundays at noon on CJOB.
Previous columns and tips and his travel blog can be found on www.journeystravelgear.com