The travel world is “blessed” with quite a few review sites. In recent years, millions of reviews have been added to sites like Yelp, Tripadvisor, Fodors and more.
Of course, this means that it can be hard to find the best place for an honest review, or a site with enough reviews to help you make the right choice.
Enter UpTake – this service takes reviews from all those sources, and displays them on their own easy to use site.
They cover it all – hotels, restaurants, activities and even shops, spas and beaches. In total, UpTake claims to provide access to over 20 Million reviews.
The site itself is a breeze to use, and since everyone has a different preference for how they search, you can access reviews and recommendations in several ways. The easiest is of course to just enter your keywords. Thankfully, the site lets you find stuff with plain English queries. You can also browse by state, activity and even by theme (romantic, budget friendly, girls getaway, pet friendly, family friendly and “just get away”).
Search results are presented in a very easy to use format. The information shows you a brief summary of recent reviews, any available ratings, a map of the location, the most recent price of the location and even a list of other things to do in the area.
Once you get a list of places based on your search, you can narrow the results down by changing the price, type of amenities and theme. The results update “live” based on these requirements, making it really easy to pinpoint exactly what you are looking for.
For example, check out their page for the Westin Michigan Avenue in Chicago. As you can see, you get a great amount of information, with everything from the number of rooms to the year the hotel was built, as well as links to most review sites.
Hotels can be booked directly on the site, and UpTake even takes the hassle out of finding the cheapest rate by providing prices from multiple booking sites.
The “themes” section on UpTake is equally impressive – once again, you can search by keyword (“Pet friendly things in Seattle“) or by clicking on the themes buttons on the main page.
What I really like about the themed search results is that they gather information from appropriate sites. For example; pet friendly destinations uses reviews from DogFriendly.com.
Finally, the UpTake Vacations section allows you to do one-stop-shopping for planning your vacation. You’ll find hotel recommendations, but also links to attractions and other activities. Of course, all these destinations link to the specific UpTake review page.
All in all I’m quite impressed with the site – it offers a massive amount of information, but the tools make it really easy to find things, and unlike some other review sites, you only really get the information you need, without making the results overly complicated or hard to read.
The site is technically still in “Beta”, but I did not come across anything that did not work correctly. That said, there are one or two things I would have liked to see added – with so much information, it is hard to keep track of the things you looked at. Unfortunately, UpTake does not provide a way to easily save your results. In an ideal world, you’d be able to add search results to a “virtual suitcase”, making it easier to plan your trip and do some true comparison shopping.