I am a true child of my craft. I like my recommendations through third party endorsements from a source I know and respect. I take advice from trusted journalists and recognizable publications. I never go to restaurants that advertise. I am a late adaptor to online intelligence from persons unknown. Anyone can post pretty pictures and who knows who is writing those online reviews. And if there is a lot of online acclaim, I get even more suspicious – could it all be coming from the same URL?
Curiously, wikipedia seems to work for me. Listening to Don Tapscott’s new show on CBC there was some interesting commentary on how mass collaboration does produce reliable, credible information sharing. But generally, when I read reports online I take them with a grain of salt. For a recent visit to Morocco, I first polled personal recommendations. When that failed to turn up anything, I did resort with some misgiving to the internet.
So it was with trepidation that I made my reservations at Riad Kniza in Marrakech based on recommendations from tripadvisor.com. Nothing could have prepared me for my arrival and what lay behind a plain wooden door off a narrow grey derb in the old souk. I entered a sanctuary. On arrival I was taken to a quiet alcove off a lovely inner courtyard for tea to wait while I was registered. The Riad itself is a jewel box of colour. The staff were warm and welcoming and the rooms were gracious and large, with enough of the feel of the old house to suit me, and all the desired modern amenities. The food was ambrosia and the views from the roof terrace the most romantic in the world. Small wonder the Riad has just been chosen best hotel in North Africa by tripadvisor.com. And I guess it means I am going to have to rethink my prejudices about the online community.