Reviewing reviewers and their platforms

Reviewing reviewers and their platforms

When TripAdvisor found access to the bigger public somewhere back in the early 2000’s, I was only mildly interested in what they had to offer. As a traveller and strong appreciator of advice on what to do, activities, accommodation and where to eat and drink, I couldn’t imagine that co-travellers and holiday-makers could advise me better than my gurus who had composed my meanwhile polyglot-ish collection of Lonely Planet’s, Rough Guide’s and Petit Futé’s.

Some 10 years ago I eventually caved and planned to join the crowds who contributed to the travelling community with their reviews and tips. Focusing on water sports –mainly (wind) surfing- , gastronomy and culture, I quite rapidly became a fervent donator of unbiased advise on surf spots, places of interest, hotels, restaurants and bars.

With that intention, I equally spend a lot of time reading reviews of others. Obviously to learn more about a certain place but also to see how serious or unserious my anonymous fellas were. More so when I became the subject of reviews having my own restaurant and bar on a fabulous Thai island.

Suddenly, the game had changed: I was baffled with one star reviews from people we never served that had funny online pseudonyms and suspiciously enough only one review under their reviewers profile. One lovely afternoon, coming back from my daily wave riding session, I bumped into a colleague who owned a water sports rental outfit. He was the first one to rent out long boards, SUP’s, kayaks and organised fun sea and beach activities. He pointed out that he had received several negative reviews in recent days from “clients” he had never even met. We looked at each other and started laughing, although it was at our own naivety. We quickly found out that the new surf club on the adjacent beach had many 5 star reviews and hey, small but fatal error: The owner’s best mate had the same profile on FaceBook as the unhappy ghost client of my friend.

This made me wonder, a lot. My honest soul had never thought of abusing the advisory platform to torpedo other businesses nor deceive other travellers. Correction, platformS in the meantime. As Agoda,, FaceBook, Google and many other internet giants had in the meantime thankfully embraced the online reviewing community for their own benefit. And market demand being a beautiful intangible and self-directing animal, many witty entrepreneurs now provided fantastic tools for one’s business to boost one’s market presence and perception.

Chatting with a good friend that made his fame by making the best mojito’s on the island, I learned a lot. He explained how simple and cheap it was to be on top of the list on sites like TripAdvisor. For a few Euros per day, you let a digital robot click you to the highest rank..... Now I had to take my pink glasses of and gear up my game. Which platform was dealing with these misleading reviews seriously? Could I still believe those words of praise about a surf spot or cool bar? I certainly became more cautious taking advise from co-travellers and as with all things that progress, the platforms progressed as well under pressure of both the businesses and individuals. Tripadvisor & Co. had to get rid of their credibility issue if they wanted to keep their head above water.

Reality checks were put in place, machine reviews were disabled, suspicious flows of likes intercepted and, most importantly, the majority of the establishments under review also woke up. Venues that take their clients and guests seriously, make time to write a decent reply to a review, be it good or bad; It displays a minimum token of appreciation and gratitude to their most valued asset: Their clients.

Anno 2019, residing on the paradisiacal island of Phuket I keep reviewing seriously and unbiased and I strongly appreciate the expression of thanks of my +130.000 readers. Numbers speak for themselves and as such, never base your judgment on occasional reviewers. The Lonely Planet authors remain gurus after all.

-Alexander Blaauw

We are looking for a Service Manager

We are looking for a Service Manager

Surf House Phuket is currently looking for a Service Manager to join our Patong Beach team.

Job Description
The Service Manager is responsible for a seamless service on all levels at all times. Main job is to ensures an excellent customer service and guest experience.

The Service Manager handles between 10 to 15 Thai employees. Training and controlling staff on service SOP’s is a big part of the job.

Front-of-house experience is key, as the Service Manager is the prime contact and end-responsible for the guests’ experience.

The Service Manager leads by example and uplifts staff during busy moments with the help of the Duty Managers in a fast-paced environment. Ultimately, the Service Manager is entirely responsible for the crew’s impeccable service delivery and smooth handling of all guest complaints.

Duties & responsibilities

- Ensures guests have a smooth and pleasant stay that meets their personal needs
- Supervises, trains and advices service crew to serve food and alcoholic beverages to guests
- Serves as a role model
- Up-sells and cross-sells actively and trains + encourages service crew to do same.
- Communicates with guests and other employees and ensures staff is working together as a team to guarantee optimum service
- Maintains cleanliness of work areas throughout the day and ensure staff uniforms and personal appearance are clean and professional
- Assists higher management in hiring, training, scheduling, evaluating, counseling, disciplining, motivating and coaching employees
- Knows how to sell surf services
- Supports team to reach common goals and comply with quality assurance expectations and standards
- Briefs and informs team on any relevant issues/changes/decisions by management
- Keeps up good service oriented team spirit
- Any other service related tasks given by management

    Main requirements

    - Thai national, male or female
    - Minimum 4 years hospitality service experience leading teams of 10+ persons
    - Excellent English skills (verbal, writing and reading)
    - Outstanding communication and leadership skills
    - Motivating and coaching talents
    - Computer literacy (MS Office, restaurant management software, POS)
    - Credentials in F&B service training
    - Degree in hospitality management or a related study is a plus

      We offer

      - An attractive salary package Space for personal input and development
      - A rewarding bonus scheme
      - Social security
      - Free usage of sports facilities incl. for family members
      - Work garments
      - A fast-paced, challenging yet hip and cool working environment

          Apply now by sending your CV with a recent photo to:



          We are looking for a Guest Experience Ambassador

          We are looking for a Guest Experience Ambassador

          Are you looking for a cool and non-standard job in the hospitality industry in one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world? Then Surf House Phuket, Thailand might just be the right place for you.

          Surf House Phuket is currently looking for an enthusiastic Guest Experience Ambassador.

          This is a highly active role for a person who speaks English and at least one more major language (Russian, Chinese, French, Hindi or Thai).

          Duties & responsibilities
          - Meets and greets guests warmly with a genuine smile and eye contact explaining the
          procedures, ease, safety and pricing of the FlowRider, escorts them to the ticket shop or tables in the dining area
          - Gives out flyers and sells the activity in and outside of the venue
          - Entertains the visitors by surfing on a FlowRider
          - Informs guest of current promotions and ensure a smooth handover to the service staff
          - Manages the in- and outgoing flow of guests, provides accurate information about surfing, dining and shopping when appropriate
          - Assists on preparations, meets and greets customers during busy events and special theme nights
          - Tends to special guest needs and requests
          - Maintains a neat, organized front-of-house environment
          - Backs-up service staff as needed

          Main requirements
          – Good communication skills
          – Prior experience in hospitality or with tourists will be an advantage
          – Well-groomed and outgoing character
          – Hard-working, responsible and trustworthy
          – Good personality and positive attitude
          – Service minded

          We offer
          – Staff outfit
          – Staff meals
          – An attractive salary package
          – Social security
          – Free usage of sports facilities incl. for family members
          – A fast-paced, challenging yet hip and cool working environment

          Apply now by sending your CV with a recent photo to: