South Yorkshire man, hailed for his Trip tips

Chris Hobson, TripAdvisor's top UK contributor in 2013.
Chris Hobson, TripAdvisor's top UK contributor in 2013.

A globe-trotting South Yorkshire food-lover certainly gets a five-star review – after eating out nearly 300 times in a year.

Chris Hobson has been named Tripadvisor’s top UK contributor for 2013 after notching up 512 reviews in 12 months.

The Barnsley man also wrote the most restaurant reviews on the travel website, with 295 dining experiences rated.

Chris, a national account manager for a finance company, said: “I embrace Tripadvisor. I think I’ve got a bit obsessed with it.

“I eat out a lot. A big part of my job is entertaining customers.

“I have customers from Aberdeen to Plymouth and if I go and see one I take them out for lunch or dinner.”

In a typical week, Chris, aged 46, will eat out twice for pleasure, have one overnight stay in a hotel while away for work, and will wine and dine clients three times.

He and his wife, Jacky, 51, spend eight to 10 weeks a year on holiday which gives him the opportunity to write reviews of restaurants, hotels and attractions all over the world.

Chris, who has been reviewing for about 18 months, said: “I just try to be frank and fair in my reviews.

“I would say 90 per cent of my reviews are very good or excellent.

“That’s probably a credit to Tripadvisor, because I rarely go somewhere without looking at it on Tripadvisor first.

“I’m a Yorkshireman, so I don’t pull any punches, but I understand it’s someone’s livelihood.”

Chris spent three weeks in South Africa over Christmas – and wrote 75 reviews while he was there.

His most recent review was of The Showroom in Sheffield – which got a top rating and was named ‘a great place to watch a good film’.

Barbara Messing, for Tripadvisor, said: “We wanted to recognise some of the shining stars from our global travel community.

“It is our community’s insightful reviews and opinions that have made Tripadvisor the world’s largest site for planning a trip.”

Chris’ best & Worst

* Best: Thai Garden Café, Wath-upon-Dearne.

Chris said: “I had three weeks in Thailand last Christmas and I’ve spent six months there in my life, so I know my Thai food. I haven’t had better Thai food in the UK. It’s totally authentic. It’s not a swanky place, it’s a café, but it’s unbelievable.”

* Worst: An Indian restaurant which will remain anonymous.

Chris said: “The service was terrible, the food was terrible.

“We virtually left all the food and the bill took forever to come.

“We wouldn’t give them a tip so they weren’t very happy. Then I got threats when I put the review on.”