What Makes a Good Review

What Makes a Good Review?

Remember when we had to rely on word-of-mouth to learn about how good something was?
The internet has paved the way for anyone to give their $0.02 about something (like Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google and Facebook). Because of that, it’s getting hard to weed out the good reviews from the bad ones. Here’s what to look for to decide if you should REALLY be taking a particular reviewer’s advice…

What a Review Actually Is

According to Dictionary.com, a review is…

What Makes a Good Review

Reviews are a great way to let people know about something; to give insight on a topic to a group of people that want to know about your experience.

With that said, reviews are intended to be informative, rather than persuasive.

Why do we read reviews? In our opinion, it really comes down to value. We don’t want to spend our hard-earned money on something that isn’t worthwhile, right? So… who better to ask than someone who has been there, done that and learned from their experience? After all, we need the facts before we can start forking over any cabbage!

The thing is, a crappy review can actually turn us away from making a great purchase without realizing it.

Watch Out for the Bad ones…

Here are a few 1-star reviews for a haunt that were given on Facebook:

Now, before we jump into, “Jeez, who would want to go there” mode, take a look at what the reviews are actually talking about. Not much, right?

What about the actors? Did they at least make a good effort? What about the props/special effects? Scene detail? It goes without saying that not everyone scares very easily, but did they at least try to entertain you somehow?

What’s the background behind the “customer service” issue? Did this person approach the staff with an attitude, hellbent on getting their money back and having their feet kissed? Or were they peacefully looking for help with a problem? Granted, it doesn’t excuse the staff from acting professionally, but we can definitely see how a staff member might have very little tolerance for BS if a customer walks up snapping their fingers and struttin’ like a runway model.

We won’t even get into the last example… smh.

The point is, there are a LOT of unanswered questions with these 3 “reviews.” Did we mention that we skipped over about ten times as many 5-star reviews for this haunt just to dig up some bad examples for this article? On a side note, this haunt was the highest-rated attraction (by us) in its State last year.

Hold the Phone!

Social media reviews are pretty darn easy to write… maybe TOO easy. The fact that anyone can pull out their phone and submit a review for the world to see in about 20 seconds is absolutely incredible. That also means a lot of personal feelings can be put into what is said, whether they’re good or bad.

For haunted houses, those good feelings are great! They WANT you to tell the world about all of the awesome details. But when those feelings are “bad,” we’re sure they’d just prefer you keep your feelings to yourself.

However, there’s still not much to keep us from getting online and saying what we think, right? Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but we ask that you consider a few things before you submit your next review…

1. If you’ve had a bad time at a haunt, at least do your readers (not to mention the haunt) some justice by waiting until the next day to voice your opinion. By then, you will have had some time to think and be more informative about what happened.

2. Be fair. Whether you had a good time or not, your readers are looking for an accurate description of what THEY can expect to experience. Haunted houses are theatrical and strongly based on actors and mechanical props, so they can be different from night to night and, sometimes, even hour by hour. People get sick, the actors can have bad days too, customers can vandalize the scenes, props and effects can break or malfunction, the list goes on and on. If something happened that really wasn’t normal, it’s likely that not very many people will have that happen to them too, so is it really worth mentioning? If so, let your readers know instead of just saying, “It sucked!!”

3. Don’t forget to mention a particular actor or actress that really impressed you. Most of them read the reviews that are put on their haunts’ Facebook pages and seeing their character being mentioned can be very rewarding to them! It can also give other customers someone to look forward to seeing when they visit.

4. Score appropriately. About 9 out of 10 reviews are either 5-star or 1-star. This goes back to some of the other things that we talked about above, but if something happened to you that wasn’t normal, how much did it really affect the entire show? If everything else was great, then they probably don’t deserve a 1-star review. Scores can often tell people a lot more about your experience than just your words can.


Write a lot of reviews? Tell us what you write about in the comments below…

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Taylor Bishop

Thanks for an interesting read on what a good review should have. I'm glad that you mentioned to still be fair, especially since the readers are wanting to know what they can expect from the experience. Honestly, I think this is a good thing to keep in mind, especially since something can have a different impact to others than it did to you. Perhaps it could be good to make sure that your article is more factual than opinionated, and to maybe practice your writing skills so that you can accurately explain your experience. http://cityofthedeadhaunt.com/reviews-awards/



I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I'll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I will learn a lot of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!


Bane Haunted House

Fabulous article! We've learned to embrace all of our reviews both good and bad however it's always so unfortunate when you see a 1 star review with little to no feedback. How are we as haunted house owners supposed to better our customer experiences when the bad reviews leave us nothing to work with.
The most unfortunate of all reviews are the ones from competing haunts. It baffles me that haunted house owners and their employees actually have the audacity to give bad reviews to competing companies. Sad and unfortunate.
This was a great article and we will definitely be sharing it!


Team Body Bag

Great article!

Another thing that bothers us regarding social media reviews, is when someone leaves a poor review because of the wait time. Every popular attraction has long wait times on busy nights. I think it's very unfair for the attraction to take a hit to their star rating when a bad review is based solely on a lengthy wait time.

There is one aspect of haunt reviews we feel get's left out sometimes, and that is the patron flow and grouping. For us, nothing can ruin a good haunt more than running into other groups, conga lines, or having to go through with large groups. This is one of the biggest challenges haunt owners are faced with each season. Because this is such a vital component to a good tour, we feel all professional haunt reviews should include this aspect of the writer's visit

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