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Writing hotel reviews isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. While it’s easy to write a few words about what you do and don’t like about a place, professional reviews require you to go a lot deeper, while keeping the prose engaging and fresh. Whether you’re new to hotel reviewing or just looking to refine your writing, consider these eight tips for writing a hotel review that will sparkle. 

1. Read reviews and talk to guests.

Writing a hotel review is a service to potential visitors, and your experience staying at a property is one of many. It’s a great idea to read online consumer reviews about the hotel you’re writing about as well as talk to guests while you’re there. Other people may notice things that you haven’t, and taking others’ experiences and opinions into consideration will help you pen a well-rounded piece.

2. Watch your language.

If your hotel review sounds like a PR speech, your readers are going to have a hard time trusting you. Avoid using flowery prose or terminology that sounds like it came straight from a brochure. Instead, speak to your readers the way you would to a friend. On the same token, try more casual terms (think “room service” instead of “in-room dining”). 

3. Answer the question: Why should I stay here?

If you’ve gone through the trouble to write a hotel review and a website or publication has gone through the trouble to publish it, chances are you think it’s worth staying in. Your readers will want to know why. Is there something standout about the rooms? Is the location fantastic? Is the free breakfast buffet an attraction unto itself? Let your readers know! 

4. Don’t leave out the facilities.

Hotels are more than just blocks of rooms, and it’s important to highlight the facilities. While you might not be much of a gym rat, some of your readers will be, so at least have a look to see if the gym is more than a couple of old kettlebells and a broken elliptical in the basement. While you might be a vacationer, many people use reviews to find properties for events and meetings: find out about that wedding chapel and meeting rooms. And don’t forget to try the food! Meal options can really make or break some guests’ hotel experiences. 

5. Create a scene.

Part of being a good reviewer is helping your readers picture themselves in the hotel you’re reviewing. Use your five senses, describing and evoking the scents, sounds, and sights of the hotel. Are the windows kept open, allowing a breeze to come in? Are most guests wearing suits and huddled around laptops? Is the smell of coffee permeating the air? Is there music piped in, or maybe someone playing a piano? Show us, your readers, the whole picture. 

6. Tell us something we don’t know.

While it’s pretty easy to garner a basic idea about a hotel by simply spending a few minutes on its website, the real gems usually come from people who have already stayed in the property. Go beyond the facts and tell your readers something special about the hotel. Maybe it’s housed in a converted farmhouse or perhaps there’s a trusty hotel pet that greets guests in the lobby. Use anecdotes to engage your readers. 

7. Tell us about the area around the hotel.

Don’t forget to tell readers about the area around the hotel. Basic location info is good (for example, if the property is near the airport, guests will want to know). Additionally, remember to also show your readers what to expect of the neighborhood. Is it quiet or lively? Walkable? Safe? 

8. Don’t be afraid of your voice.

Finally, don’t be afraid to use your voice. While you’ll want to follow the basic conventions of your publication, it’s great to let your own unique voice shine through. It will breathe life into your piece and make it more fun to read.