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The art of writing effective, credible reviews

By Brian McGuinn

One of the most exciting parts of planning RV trips is deciding where to go, but this can also be one of the most difficult decisions as well.  There are countless RV parks to choose from, so how do you know which one is meant for you?

Aside from using a trip planner, you can search for RV park reviews to learn about a large amount of parks out there. Brushing up on the common opinions, funny anecdotes, and available amenities that others have penned about at a specific location can help you narrow down where you’ll be happiest parking your mobile home.

When done right, reviews can be an extremely beneficial way for the RV community to connect with and educate each other. If you haven’t left a review yourself after staying at a campground, you should consider leaving your own testimonials.

Why leave reviews?

When reviews need to be written honestly and ethically, meaning that no party paid for someone to write a good review to boost the ratings of a business or a negative review to tear down a competitor.

When they are written honestly, written accounts and testimonials can help fellow travelers discover where to find the best deals, the most ideal amenities, the best shade coverage, etc. Likewise, recounting poor experiences can save other RVers from having to relive your disappointments.

There is a right and wrong way to leave a review, so when drafting your testimonial, here are some tips to keep in mind to make sure you document your review in a credible, effective way:

Include specific details about the RV park

Let’s face it; most of us in the modern world take reviews with a grain of salt since we’ve wised up to the fact that many reviews are sponsored testimonials in disguise.

In order for your review to convince readers that you actually stayed at the RV park and aren’t being paid to say it was the time of your life, give them something more than a vague thumbs up or down. Did the Wi-Fi work? How was the scenery? Was it close to local attractions? Were the restrooms clean? Was the on-site maintenance staff accommodating to your needs? You get the idea.

Stay tactful when highlighting the negative

Unfortunately, most RV enthusiasts learn the hard lesson that not all RV parks are created equal. The amenities may not work, the bathrooms could look like a disaster, or the individual sites are placed way too close to other campers.

Whatever the case, it’s natural to feel upset and frustrated when you feel that you’re investing your money into something that doesn’t come close to living up to your expectations.

However, you still want your review to remain objective and useful. If you make it personal or write in an overly-emotional way (writing in all caps, making far-fetched hyperboles or using blatant forms of cynicism), some readers might feel that you are an unstable and unreliable source.

You can say what you need to say while still appearing calm and collected. Expressing your gripes in a constructive manner, rather than using it as an outlet to vent your intense feelings, will go much farther in helping travelers make better choices when looking for RV parks to stay at.

A good way to do this is to make a list of pros and cons. This will show that your judgement isn’t too overwhelmed by your subpar experience in order to unbiasedly give advice.

Establish your credibility in the RV world

The more you can demonstrate that you have significant experience in the RV community, the more reliable your testimonial will be.  After all, how can you tell other campers that a particular campground wasn’t what it should be if you haven’t been involved long enough to know what to look for in an ideal RV park.

That’s not to say that newbies’ opinions don’t hold merit, but it will go a long way if you can clearly express that you’ve been around the block enough times to understand what makes a location substandard.

You can do this by comparing the park to somewhere else, or you can simply come out and say you’ve been RVing for “X” amount of years.

Be concise

There is no magic word count number to aim for when drafting a review, but it’s important to find a balance between writing enough and writing too much.

If you get carried away and draft an essay, most RVers will skip right over your review and onto a more time-effective one. On the other hand, if you don’t say enough, your review might not seem legitimate, and readers could miss some important facts that could aid in their decision making process.

The trick is to put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Imagine you’ve never been to the location-in-question before, and you’re seeking out information. Can details be omitted to trim it down while still clearly establishing why the RV park is worthwhile or not? Do you need to say more in order to do accomplish this?

Check your grammar and spelling

Lastly, you’ll be taken much more seriously if your don’t publish a written opinion that’s flooded with grammar or spelling errors, so take a minute to read over your post before hitting the “submit” button.

To sum it up, taking a little bit of time to write up a review helps RVers make satisfying decisions so that their adventures are full of good times instead of let downs. Just remember to keep it classy and constructive. Happy trails!

About Guest Blogger

Do you have a story to share? Let's RV welcomes contributions from other RVers about their travel experiences or other issues of interest to RV owners. To submit a story, email editor@letsrv.com.

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