The Guilt of an Honest Review


Recently we took a road trip around parts of the North Island here in New Zealand, because like many of you, international travel is not an option right now. In a number of our domestic cities we have our favourite bed and breakfast accommodations we return to each time, but of course there are times we need to find a new property.


With all of the accommodation choices these days we really are spoiled. Both my husband and I get busy with our searches when we are preparing for a trip, and between us, we always find something that we feel suits us well. But, not all of the choices we make meet our expectations. ​Usually we are looking for something that is close to public transport (if we are flying that is), within walking distance of a beach, good cafes and shopping. We love walking when we're on holiday as it usually compensates for the extra calories we tend to consume eating foods we don't regularly eat at home. For this very reason, often we will set out on foot for the day rather than taking the bus, then maybe we'll take that option on the return journey. We've had only a few disappointing properties over the years, and one hotel that was just absolutely awful; there was no other way to describe it. But mostly we do pretty well with our choices. When it comes to review time though, it can be tricky. Having learned the 'positive sandwich' method many years ago, I always open my feedback with what we did enjoy followed by what we felt needed attention. The problem I have is when we have personal interaction with the host and then feel the need to raise what we feel are issues with the property. This was the case earlier this year and I always find it very awkward. Why? I don't want to hurt their feelings. I'm very well aware that we all have different standards, and that mostly, the accommodation property hosts are doing their best; sometimes though, it just doesn't cut it. With this particular property, it was described as luxury accommodation, and although the location was fantastic with amazing sea views, we certainly didn't class it as luxury. Okay, so the price wasn't that of luxury accommodation at $200 per night, but we did expect more. The house really did need a refresh inside and out, it had maintenance that needed attending to, and a good spring clean wouldn't have gone a miss either. We really didn't feel it was deserving of a five star review as others had given it (mind you, many of those were from a few years ago) and we wanted to be honest. I'd thought about not reviewing it at all, but voicing my honest opinion in a positive way is a personal development challenge I'm working on, so this was important for me. But also, I don't think we'd be doing the property host any favours by either not providing an honest review. Oh my goodness I felt guilty though. I felt so bad. And that in itself I found very interesting. When it's a big hotel chain or an accommodation property where I'm not having direct contact with the host, I have no problem giving negative feedback. But when it's the person I've actually met and communicated with, I find it really hard. Anyway, I submitted my review, knowing that I had been open and honest about how we both felt. Knowing I had communicated honestly did help me to feel more authentic and as I worked through the feelings of guilt, I was able to let them go. This was a business transaction, something we had paid our hard earned money for, and we were entitled to give that feedback. So, tell me, how do you feel when you need to communicate something honest that may not go down well? Until next time,