The flow of tourists in and out of Santa Barbara hotels, motels and inns is the oxygen that keeps the city’s heart beating. It helps pay the salaries of our police officers, firemen, street sweepers, animal control and harbor patrol officers. It keeps restaurants hopping and merchandise moving. It’s also why some residents find the sight of homeless people on our streets so upsetting. Maybe the view of barefooted, un-showered, inebriated souls on our public benches will send tourists packing, never to return, they wonder.
But how much of that fear is phobia? What proportion of Santa Barbara tourists truly are offended by the homeless? It would take a major research project to answer that question for sure. But by sampling the guest reviews of some of our downtown hotels on the internet’s most popular travel website, Tripadvisor.com, the homeless blog got an unscientific sense of tourists’ umbrage toward our homeless folks.
Hoteliers worldwide rely on guests’ reviews posted to Tripadvisor to measure their performance. They know that potential future guests read these reviews too before deciding where to book a reservation. In the world of hotel management, Tripadvisor is huge. Good reviews bring in business, bad reviews bring vacancies.
So, out of curiosity, the writers who work on this blog read all the reviews for ten Santa Barbara hotels, reviews dating back to 2006: The Santa Barbara Inn, The Blue Sands Motel, Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, The Inn at East Beach, The Castillo Inn at The Beach, The Eagle Inn, Canary Hotel, Inn at Spanish Garden, Holiday Inn Express and Motel 6 Beach. To read more, see homelessinsb.org.