When you become a Top Travel Reviewer on Trip Advisor and you also happen to be a travel professional, it matters. Sure there are a lot guys and gals out there strutting their proverbial ink, but here is where it gets really interesting.

Good writers turn reviews into dollars, not only for themselves, but also for the properties being reviewed.

The truth of the matter is that words count and people take them seriously. I only need to open my inbox to prove that point. The glowing letters from hotels, cruise lines, restaurants and resorts. Of course, there is a slim minority of the-less-vaunted that want me “two feet under”.

But then again, nothing in life is perfect. Neither are my reviews. It comes with the territory to be unbiased.

For those in the hospitality and travel industries, the power of Trip Advisor and the rising clout of Yelp cannot be scoffed at, particularly in this day and age of social media. For instance, my “most-read” review was on a the Holiday Inn Phuket that I wrote back in 2012!

You’d think by now that this piece would have been long-buried and hidden by other reviews, but someone at Holiday Inn is being very clever, because they are turning my words into PR gold dust. I am not talking about a few readers. I’m talking about thousands!

And the cost to Holiday Inn? Free.

The same applies to Kazoomies, a new local restaurant in Fremantle, Western Australia. I was one of their first customers. My review on Yelp became part of their PR strategy. Today they are the #1 restaurant in the city, not because of me, but because they used a part of me. They adopted the kind of smart, modern marketing techniques that I believe all companies should take on board, whether they are restaurants, hotels or cruise lines.

That same review also scored “Review of the Day” and was posted on the Yelp homepage where it was read worldwide, garnering this respect:

“Your Review of the Day not only solidifies your importance to the Yelp community, but confirms your skills as an awesome writer. Congratulations on your win!”

In the game of PR, numbers breed numbers.

But for my part, there is a silver lining to this story. If only you realised how close Kazoomies came to closing their doors because of low customer numbers!


Large companies pay thousands of dollars a year to generate good PR and place editorial. Yet some bloggers and reviewers have a bigger audience than the mainstream publications. They have amazing channels of distribution, avid followers, and amusingly enough, they cost next-to-nothing to get through the door.

Can you really count the cost of a free meal, or a couple of room nights, when the result is potentially liquid gold?

Put another way, can you afford not to use them?

Your return on investment should be many times the actual outlay which is prudent financial management.

As modern business wakes up to the potency of targeted reviewers, the “power of the pen” is transforming marketing strategies across the board and I know this first hand.

In the last 60 days, The Walking Critic has been approached by one international cruise line, three speciality cruise lines, two tourism boards, two hotels and one airline. Despite their obvious differences, all these divergent brands have one thing in common: a need.

These clients need expertise and not just a “mouth piece” that creates copy.  Luckily for them, the cost of using an expert reviewer pales in significance to the result. More importantly they can still influence, guide and steer the result, within their own branding strategies, even if they can’t control the end review.

So let me end with some pearly words of wisdom for prospective clients:

  • Be upfront with your marketing messages and convey them to a reviewer.
  • Don’t be passive.
  • Discuss your mission statement in detail. Most reviewers are not clairvoyants so don’t give them room to “second-guess” your direction.
  • Invite your reviewer to be part of the process, not sideline to it.

A competent reviewer will know the difference between “corporate propaganda” and useful information. In his craft, he has to know how to blend the two and make his review enticing and interesting to readers. A competent reader will also spot the difference too.

I will continue to contribute to Trip Advisor as The Walking Critic knowing that I am one of the very few people that is a professional reviewer, a competent blogger, an industry insider and a travel expert that contributes millions of dollars in sales to tourism.

If you are interested in working with The Walking Critic  click here to email me now. I will respond promptly.

TRIP ADVISOR the walking critic top 1%


  1. Whoah this place looks amazing and I love the bright colours throughout they give it a truly funky vibe !!

    Last time I stayed in Bangkok was at the Siam@Siam which was great but I think this hotel may give it a run for their money !!

  2. Kevin,
    Your review was delightful and since I will be in Singapore in a short while I’m going to check it out albeit I may skip the pool. In fact I think you’ve turned me off to pools for a very long time LOL. Except for the extraordinary crowds it sounds like an awesome place in your review was excellent.

    • Thanks Amanda. It really was an amazing place. Here’s hoping I can check out a few more of the W Hotels in the future!

  3. Hi Kevin,
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your review of the W Bangkok. That massage sounds amazing and so relatively cheap and luxurious compared to the massages you get in the local shopping centre’s in Perth for about the same cost per minute !! And no where near your experience I bet !

    Sounds like writing this review was a sheer pleasure for you, so glad although you were working that you got to enjoy yourself too ! It absolutely shouldn’t be all work and no play.

    After reading your review I would have no hesitation in recommending the W Bangkok to friends and family.

    Cheers Kym

  4. Hi Kevin,
    It was good to have you out from all of the team,at least you got to experience another chapter in your life and come out with and meet most of the amazing girls and guys up here who love their work with such passion and energy,and of course the majestic humpback whales,the next day we had several whale sharks return to the reef also which is great seeing as it is so late in the season,but that is your next adventure is it not mate!!

    • Can’t wait. I feel addicted to it! And the best thing is that I got to experience the remoteness, the peace and quiet of Exmouth too. I will absolutely return again. I promise!

  5. It is the most amazing tastey place of pasta that I tried for quite long time…
    Don’t miss the concept, atmosphere and above all the unique taste and flavours…

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