I’m a very enthusiastic reviewer on the travel review website, Tripadvisor.
You can see my profile here.
To date, I have written more than 1400 reviews- and more than 1.3 million people have read my reviews (according to the site’s own stats).
I’ve lived in 11 different countries (see my article here) and visited many others, so I have had a lot of lucky opportunities to visit interesting places.
So, what have I learned and why do I think it is relevant to you and that it helps us think about how we spread our influence?
Here is a list:
- Firstly, of course, Tripadvisor influenced me! When I was looking for new and exciting places it gave me all sorts of ideas. I’ve heard people say that sometimes the best places aren’t on Tripadvisor- firstly that hasn’t been my experience and secondly I’ve written the first review for lots of places, so new places are popping up on Tripadvisor all the time! Also Tripadvisor was an influence on me in other ways- as I really enjoyed writing reviews and seeing people had read them, it motivated me to get up and find new places- for example in my new home city of Sheffield, Tripadvisor helped me to explore all over the city and go to areas I might otherwise never have explored.
- Tripadvisor turned me into a better writer. It was a pleasure to write about places that I had visited, especially because it helped me to remember all the good things I had enjoyed (and I think it has cemented a lot of memories in my mind in a different way). My friend Robbie Swale has a brilliant book out right now all about how you can achieve great things by doing a little over a long period of time- this is a small example of that for me! While writing the reviews was, (in general, unless I hated a place, and I didn’t hate many), a lot of fun, it still required a certain amount of effort and commitment on my part- 1400 of anything is a lot!
- Tripadvisor helped me to indulge one of my passions- travel writing! When I was younger I wanted to be a travel writer- I even won a competition for a magazine article I wrote. While that isn’t the career path I’ve chosen, it was fun to be able to write about my travels in this format.
- Tripadvisor helped me think about my audience more. I had to think about what readers would want to know about the places I had visited. Sometimes there are little tips about a place that you wouldn’t understand unless you had been there. Learning to think about the audience I was writing for over the years has helped me be a better entrepreneur and has helped me to generally build my influence on the world.
- Tripadvisor helped me to help people- of course one of the best things is that Tripadvisor has helped me to help other people. I’ve been helped by the reviews of others and helped in my turn. It is a community of people who mostly don’t know each other putting a collective hivemind of information out into the world.
- Tripadvisor helped me to reward good service- there were so, so many times that I’ve met people who went beyond the call of duty in what they did. From accommodation owners who went the extra mile to be welcoming, to chefs and bartenders who cared so much about their craft- the site gave me the opportunity to praise them all. Some people were just starting off their own businesses and a positive review and a bit of a confidence boost might have made a real difference to them. I remember early on when I wrote a restaurant review and the owner told me that he had read it out to all the staff. They had provided me and my wife with a memorable evening- being able to thank them in this way was wonderful. Of course the other way around, sometimes I met completely disagreeable characters and my reviews were able to help warn people about them too!
- Tripadvisor gave me a new way to get my views out into the world- Like anyone, I travel through the world with particular views. I have particular views on how I want to be treated by a business, what good service looks like etc. I am really passionate, for example about meeting people who are fully invested in what they do, whether they are a coffee roaster or a lion tamer (I haven’t actually met a lion tamer on my travels, but you get the picture!). I think people such as this should be celebrated and the site gave me the opportunity to do just that and to share my view with the world.
- Tripadvisor gave me a new way to think about influence more generally- it has been fascinating to put my thoughts out into the world, for so many years and it has given me a lot of pleasure.
I hope this article has given you food for thought. How can you influence the world (and practice your skills while doing it) in unexpected ways?