Poll

Would having a place to rate/read ACA members ratings of business's as described be useful to you?

Yes, this would be very useful !
9 (50%)
I might find it occasionally useful
4 (22.2%)
This would be of no interest to me
5 (27.8%)

Total Members Voted: 18

Author Topic: Poll: Additional ACA Web Feature?  (Read 712 times)

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Offline zzzz

Poll: Additional ACA Web Feature?
« on: June 04, 2014, 01:57:53 pm »
For those of you who have toured using the ACA maps, you know that in each town there is a listing of services (camp grounds, hotels, restaurants, bike shops, etc.). Sometimes you find the places listed to be what you expected, sometimes they are less or more in terms of quality or cost. And because of space limitations, in larger towns there is a limit to how many places can be listed.

I'm looking to poll ACA members as to whether it would be useful to have a space in the "Resources" menu of the ACA web site where you could rate or reference other members opinion about places of business along ACA routes cross referenced to the route map number (ie: TransAm / Map 43 / Restaurants). This would be a in-house "Trip-Advisor" but specific to cyclist's needs.

It could be as simple as 1-4 $ signs for cost and 1 - 4 rating for quality although space for additional info would be helpful.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Poll: Additional ACA Web Feature?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2014, 06:12:00 pm »
I'm a bit skeptical of this idea.  It sounds good on paper, but by the time you collect data (over a year or two), put it into the AC update and publish cycle, and distribute it, there's a fair chance the information would be obsolete.

To firm up my objection, consider a motel.  It's cheap, say $50 ($, perhaps, in some rating system).  In three years, it's increased its rates to $70 ($$).  Unless they buy new mattresses, repaint and recarpet the rooms, and now it's $99 ($$$).  Similarly for an eatery; hamburger, fries, and a coke was $5 two years ago, now it's $7.50.  $ just turned into $$; unless you want to buy the seafood platter, which is now $25 ($$$).  How do you propose to rate that restaurant?

Look at the updates to the maps.  We hoped to get water and food at one grocery in Kentucky that was on the addenda -- too new to be on the map.  It had closed by the time we got there.  And now you're asking for more time and money to be applied to collect, collate, and publish price and subjective quality data on those ephemeral businesses?  I don't see this as being a wise use of available Adventure Cycling resources.

Offline chippedtooth

Re: Poll: Additional ACA Web Feature?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2014, 09:03:49 pm »
That is exactly the same on any review site though.

Even on trip-advisor.
If a place is great when it first opens, it gets 5/5 reviews. Then it goes really bad and starts getting 1/5 reviews, anyone who looks at the site will see it getting 3 or 5 out of 5 on average.

People will look at the most recent reviews and note any changes/read what people are saying, that is just common sense.

In terms of rating based on price, it would surely be 'Value For Money' rather than just rating the cost. There is no issue in this.
Ok, if a company charges $5 a year ago and $8 now, that is a change in value for money, but that will be reflected in the most recent reviews.

I don't think the OP is suggesting that they collect reviews over a period of time and then just use those ones for ever, but to have a dynamic rating system, like trip advisor, where people can read new reviews etc.
Thanks for the tips! :)

Offline zzzz

Re: Poll: Additional ACA Web Feature?
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2014, 09:49:49 pm »
Upfront, I want to point out that the poll does not appear on Taptalk. So if that's your main egress to the forum and you'd like to vote, you'll need to access the forum through the ACA web site.

Chippedtooth basically made the points I was going to make. I'm not suggesting that ACA publish anything. This would have to be built one entry at a time from members. You go to a place, you like it, hate it, or something in-between and ACA provides you a place on their web site to park your opinion. What I'm suggesting is hardly more sophisticated than a Excel spread sheet. I give a restaurant 3 stars, you give it 2, it shows as 2 1/2 stars. As for what kind of $ amount you fill in, I think you make these judgement every time you go out to eat. I make it a point not to loose weight on these trips so I eat as much as I possibly can for dinner, so my bill w/ 2 entrees and 2 desserts, and 2 drinks if they have a bar, may be $50. But I know a fair representation is that it's a mid-priced place and I would rate it as such.

I've gotten recommendations informally on this site regularly, you have a posting that shows your going thru Wisdom Mo. and somebody writes in about the really good restaurant there, or you're on the WE ride and somebody writes in suggesting you skip the motel in Baker and go off route to the Border Inn. I always appreciate these tips. And as for stuff closing up, I ran into that twice last year on my trip, this would be a great place to post that a place is no longer open. You could do it in real time as your standing in front of the locked doors if you have a smart phone and internet access there.

I know ACA isn't a organization thats rolling in cash from big money donors and I'm sure their IT guy's aren't drumming there finger's on their desks waiting for something to do. We will see if the poll indicates a real desire for this among the membership.

pm

Offline chippedtooth

Re: Poll: Additional ACA Web Feature?
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2014, 10:26:40 pm »
I never explained why I thought this was a good idea!

Basically, I am planning a tour for next year on the TransAm route.
I am sure the maps tell me where loads of camping parks are, but it says it tells you where any are within 5 miles of the route, how do I know which of these is best? I've read somewhere people complaining about camping site owners being rude to them, drunk when they arrived, that isn't the sort of place I want to end up and if there was a review saying so (and not one i had to go digging through a forum to find) then that is only a good thing. :)

Less important for restaurants I suppose as it is unlikely i'd check the website every day when looking for somewhere to eat, but defo a good idea for campsites and actually, if a restaurant/diner gets rave-reviews on here, maybe I would go out of my way to make sure i went there over another place.

All in all, the downsides are minimal and the potential benefits are great.
Thanks for the tips! :)

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Poll: Additional ACA Web Feature?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2014, 01:25:50 pm »
That is exactly the same on any review site though.

Even on trip-advisor.
If a place is great when it first opens, it gets 5/5 reviews. Then it goes really bad and starts getting 1/5 reviews, anyone who looks at the site will see it getting 3 or 5 out of 5 on average.

People will look at the most recent reviews and note any changes/read what people are saying, that is just common sense.

I guess I left out perhaps the most important point: the number of people traveling an AC route is pretty small compared to the review sites you may be used to in larger towns and cities.  I'll make up a number here: 1% of people who go to a restaurant, motel, or campground will review it.  In a big city, the new bar may get 5 reviews a night.  On the TransAm, there may be 5 reviews per year for a given 30-50 mile stretch (about one day's ride).  On some of the other routes, it's probably less than that.

Sure, I can see the potential benefit to a future bike tourist if you had a fully populated, active review system tracking your route.  Perhaps if you were to set someting like that up, AC would link to it.  If it were populated, active, and accurate, they might be persuaded to take it over.  But as I wrote previously, I don't think it would be a wise use of AC's resources to start something like this.

Offline Cyclesafe

Re: Poll: Additional ACA Web Feature?
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2014, 10:46:42 am »
Part of the experience of cycle touring is utilizing what resources exist within a reasonable (cycleable) distance.  Usually it's a positive experience, but not always.  I don't think a Trip Advisor system will really make any difference to the tourer because:

- The resource may have gone out of business
- The resource may be closed
- There is often only one resource within a reasonable distance
- The reviewer may have left an inaccurate / vindictive review
- The reason for the reviewer's beef may have been resolved
- New issues may have cropped up that have to be dealt with anyway

So along with questionable utility, the system would be laborious to set up and manage.     
Hoping to do the North Star with ACA in 2014.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Poll: Additional ACA Web Feature?
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2014, 12:47:06 pm »
I'd like some sort of indication of cost/quality. The problem I've seen over the years is that e.g. eating places start out very good and get all kinds of business and then, perhaps because they are not making the profit they hoped for, start penny pinching and the service/quality starts to slide and in a year an excellent place can go to hell. Not much you can do about it. It's in the nature of running a small business. I suspect that much of this is due to well meaning business owners just wearing themselves out, so try not to be too demanding and be grateful for their efforts. And don't be above leaving a decent tip!