Patlynn and Others, This is not a short little blurb, if you want the scoop, read the entire thing.
I guess I have not read enough of the reviews to see the phony postings by the property owners ~ not to say that there aren’t. I know of properties that must have phony reviews on their web sites and they definitely have photos of West Bay which is on the other side of a mountain ridge + miles away ~ not close to being within walking distance. There are people presenting themselves as dive tourists and they are not. There are phony reviews by disgruntled guests who have loss security deposits.
I first became a member of Trip Advisor 3 years ago because guests left verified, unpaid bills along with damage to the house. They were out for revenge because I kept a portion of the security deposit to cover the bills and repairs. The resort manager asked me to reply. Recently I had another such reply regarding another forfeited security deposit because the guests had 8 people in a two bedroom villa after they were told that they could only have their family of 5 staying there and I had to replace a soccer ball they admitted to borrowing and losing. In the first instance, Trip Advisor seemed to be open to a ‘manager’s response ~ maybe because it was about a resort. On the second occasion they were not because it was a vacation rental by owner. I tried to get them to pull the post by providing evidence that it was packed with lies and hearsay ~ they would not because it is a forum posting. I suggested that they consider setting rules regarding forum posts about a vacation rental by owner when a loss of a security deposit is involved ~ never got a reply.
In any event, I have been a member for a long time and have made numerous posts but my profile shows none. I tried to post a review of a vacation rental by owner in Blue Ridge Georgia recently and it would not take it because it was about such. Yet, when you do a search on that location you see a reference to it I made in a forum post about Roatan in response to Terridee.
Another suggestion I made to Trip Advisor was that they get their geography straight or at least give equal consideration. It has to do with not presenting the Bay Islands and the islands off the coast of Belize as being in the Caribbean which they clearly are via map outlining the Caribbean Sea. Yet, islands that are not in the Caribbean are presented as such, like Bermuda and the Bahamas that are in the Atlantic ~ well the Bahamas are bordered by the Atlantic on one side and the Sea of Abaco on the other. They say they base their categories on geography and government. When I suggested that in so doing they should place USVI in the US, the BVI in Britain, etc. they became defensive.
Regarding Roatan and the Bay Islands, we have no major hotel chain on the island. The tourists’ accommodations were funded by ‘Gringos’ who, like me, wanted to live here, and by islanders who picked up on idea. We are the ones who try to preserve it. The road to West Bay was put in and paved with private funds. And I could go on and on but this enough, I hope.