Bottom Line Reviews

I hate writing reviews.  Here’s what happens to me, over and over as a blogger:  When I travel, I take lots of pictures with the intent of writing reviews.  But then I return home and I lose interest.  I’ve been there or done that.  Whatever there or that is, is no longer interesting to me.  So, I go on to write other things, and most of my reviews forever remain unwritten.

On the other hand, reviews can be helpful for those who haven’t yet gone there or done that.  Personally, when I’m considering going to a hotel, for example, I like reading opinions about it from authors I trust.  But I don’t enjoy reading reviews.  I find them to be dreadfully boring most of the time.  So I tend to scan reviews for a “bottom line” summary.  I usually just want to know whether or not the author liked the place.  And sometimes I’ll scan the photos too.

Given that I hate writing reviews and I also hate reading them (other than the bottom line summary), I realized that there’s a simple solution.  I’ll write mini-reviews where the text is basically what you might find in a “bottom line” section of a complete  review.  And I’ll post a bunch of photos.  Boom.  Done. This way, I can easily crank out reviews before I get overly bored, and readers will quickly get to the answers they want about whether or not I liked the place, thing, or activity.  Then, if readers are intrigued enough to look at pictures, they can simply scroll down.

I started this new process by writing up three separate Bottom Line Reviews for hotels that I stayed at recently in Florida and Colombia.  As we publish more Bottom Line Reviews they’ll automatically appear below.  Please click through and enjoy…

The Notary Hotel Philadelphia, Autograph Collection (Marriott). Bottom Line Review. - The Notary Hotel, located in Philadelphia, PA, is a Marriott category 5 hotel... for the moment.  On March 4th this hotel will bump up to category 6.  Nick and I stayed here for the latest FM to Go for 2 nights.  I checked in early and took the only already clean room (two Queen beds) and Nick later checked into his King bed room.  We booked a AAA "Hot Rate" of $145 per night. The… (Click to continue reading)
The Artisan D.C. Hotel Bogotá, Autograph Collection (Marriott). Bottom line review. - The Artisan D.C. Hotel Bogotá is an Autograph Collection hotel which, in turn, is one of Marriott's many brands.  I recently used points to book two rooms (one for me and one for my mom) for five nights at this Bogotá hotel. The Artisan D.C. Hotel Bogotá Bottom Line Review My mom and I really enjoyed staying at this hotel.  The staff were fantastic.  The rooms were very nice.  Elite recognition was very good.  Breakfast… (Click to continue reading)
The Pillars Hotel Fort Lauderdale (bookable via Hyatt SLH). Bottom line review. - The Pillars Hotel, located in Fort Lauderdale Florida, is a SLH (Small Luxury Hotels of the World) property which is bookable through Hyatt with points or cash.  When booking an SLH property through Hyatt, your room rate includes the following: Complimentary wifi Daily complimentary continental breakfast Room Upgrade (one category at check-in, if available) Early check-in (noon, based upon availability at check-in) Late check-out (2:00PM, based upon availability at check-in) Pillars Hotel Fort Lauderdale Bottom… (Click to continue reading)
Chesterfield Hotel Palm Beach (bookable via Hyatt SLH). Bottom line review. - The Chesterfield Hotel Palm Beach, located in Palm Beach Florida, is a SLH (Small Luxury Hotels of the World) property which is bookable through Hyatt with points or cash.  When booking an SLH property through Hyatt, your room rate includes the following: Complimentary wifi Daily complimentary continental breakfast Room Upgrade (one category at check-in, if available) Early check-in (noon, based upon availability at check-in) Late check-out (2:00PM, based upon availability at check-in) Chesterfield Hotel Palm… (Click to continue reading)

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Regarding comments: Comments posted at the bottom of Frequent Miler pages and posts are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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Dee
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Dee

I like this format. I don’t like reading rambling, long reviews. This is perfect. Thanks!

CaveDweller
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CaveDweller

Dinner looks Great . I usually just look @ the bottom of the post if interested read the rest .
But always love photos !!!
CHEERs

Mark Ostermann
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Mark Ostermann

I hate writing reviews with a passion. Don’t tell Shawn I said that

Bob
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Bob

It would be great if the published snippets would include “thumbs up or down” right in the beginning, so there is no need to click through to see if you like it or not

MAlMel
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MAlMel

I agree with Bob.

Neil
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Neil

Agreed don’t like rambling reviews and don’t find one-off issues helpful. If you can basically tell me two things 1) was the bed comfortable; and 2) property-feel (everything else boiled down into your subjective assessment – nice lobby? staff interactions pleasant?, feeling of safety in room, lobby and surrounding areas? annoying unexpected fees? property convenient or remote? etc) I’m happy.

frugalman
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frugalman

Greg, I can understand what you meant, but I guess it is partially because the hotels look so-so to you. If you either love or hate it, you will have the passion to write down.

BTW, looking at your “bottom line” review, I smell a taste of your spreadsheet. I like it and feel it is a kind of digitization of content.

If there is a place to improve, I like the recent trend in online article that they put a brief summary or abstract at the top of the article, so you can read it first before you decide if you want to dive in. So why don’t you put an “Overall” section at the start which covers all the most important aspects? To expand my idea, in your typical articles, you do have the “final thought” summary section. When the time is limited, I often skip the major body of the article but just read the final summary part (nowadays, people become busier and busier). I think maybe it is worth bring that final section to the very top instead. Yes, you do need to realize the readers haven’t read the main body yet, so you have to speak to an empty head, but it is doable.

Alternatively, I also like the formatting of Pros and Cons bullets, where you quickly catch the most important things. Your “spreadsheet” covers all aspects. That’s great. But it also forces reader to read the whole review (it is shorter than most travel reviews, but it is still not that short). So, alternative to the “Overall” section, consider put a “pros and cons” section at the top.

Larry
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Larry

This tends to be how I read reviews too. Except ….

One thing I do look for is how they treat status in their loyalty program. Lounge, upgrade, breakfast, amenities. Or, if I have a lower tier status than the reviewer, I want to know what might be unusual about his or her stay. Also, I like to know how the blogger booked. These matters seem relevant to points and miles enthusiasts. There is another blog that I think is kind of famous for his very comprehensive reviews, and while I sometimes do find myself skimming, those are pieces of info I always look for.

Dan
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Dan

Good! I do read Lucky’s reviews which are detailed, informative and with lots of photos, but lately the first thing I do is scroll down to the bottom line. Your idea works for me.

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

I couldn’t agree more! As soon as a trip is over I lose interest, even when I planned to write a review for a blog I post on. What helped me was writing BEFORE the trip when I’m in planning mode and still excited about it. I write out all the basic stuff that can be gleaned before travel, then add and edit on the plane back (when I’m still “in the mood).
Love your site – keep up the good work!

bladerunner
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bladerunner

thanks for doing this man!!

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Remember I’m sure there’s hotels close by that are cheaper to stay with the same view . Do Greg’s hotel for 2 nites+ Dinner then others . I’ll fly in the morning @ a airport hotel @ 1/2 the price and then the P lounge for BK $$$..
CHEERs

AlexL
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AlexL

I like the format of the review, enough information for a quick overview. However, I also like Nick’s review. I guess it is because of his way of storytelling.

rich
Guest
rich

I’m that way with photos. I use to take tons of photos and then never did much with them. A number of years ago I would upload them to SmugMug (paid service but at least it doesn’t disappear) and people could easily view them there. I’ve gotten to the point where I take fewer and fewer photos, and if they are on a phone, I rarely do anything with them. At least in the old days you’d have to get them developed. And then with a digital camera you could pop the card into the computer and save them. Now with phones they just stay on the phone most of the time and eventually disappear.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

I’m no tech got a video card $28 good for 30 hrs of Amazon movies and photos go to cloud etc.
Cheap works great the Batt. 5* is better 5x recharge the pH $22..
CHEERs

Rdover1
Guest
Rdover1

Once again, you lead the way. I wonder how long before other sites adopt this format.
I think it is important in your pros and cons categories you summarize (as you do) all the points related stuff, as this is a points related blog.

Josh
Guest
Josh

Greg these are perfect!! Thank you

N M
Guest
N M

Great idea, I love the format. Looking forward to more!