Introducing ‘Dhonisaurus’: Minivan’s new independent travel review and ratings site

Minivan News is proud to introduce our new subsidiary travel site, offering the first independent, comprehensive, reader reviews and ratings for the Maldives tourism industry.

A ‘dhoni’ is a traditional Maldivian vessel with a distinctly curved prow, while a thesaurus helps you choose exactly the right word for the occasion. Stick the words together: Dhonisaurus. The dinosaur is just a bonus.

The Maldives is world famous for its beaches and clear blue waters.

But what really makes one resort different from another? It’s surprisingly hard to tell from a glossy tourism brochure, or an article written by a well-pampered travel journalist.

Opinion sites such as TripAdvisor powerfully influence the decision of tourists to visit a destination, but these large, international travel review sites do not have the luxury of detail as they must be able to objectively measure a rented château in Paris alongside a backpacker hostel in Yemen.

Moreover, rather than staying a few nights, the average visitor to the Maldives spends US$10,000-12,000 and stays on a single island for several weeks, so we figure they could use a bit more detail before making the big decision.

We pick up where TripAdvisor leaves off, asking visitors to rate resorts for Rooms, Service, Beach, Activities, Dining, Bar Experience, House Reef, Environmental Responsibility, Value and ‘Look and Feel’. We average these scores and all submitted reviews to automatically generate an overall rating out of 100. This way the more ratings submitted the more accurate the reviews become.

The ratings on Dhonisaurus reflect readers’ opinions, not our own, and the site pays its way through banner advertising rather than being sponsored by a consortium of resorts and tour operators, or by taking a cut from bookings. We have a vested interest in giving useful, impartial information, as this makes readers come back, review their experience and help make us even more accurate and credible.

Because we take an average from 10 categories, our ratings may seem harsher than those of other Maldives review websites, but the advantage of doing things this way is that you can get an honest, overall picture of what a resort is really like behind the brochures and press junkets. It’s also the first time resorts in the Maldives have been reviewed and contrasted for qualities such as their environmental responsibility.

The in-house reviews on Dhonisaurus are written by Maldives experts, including guidebook author Adrian Neville, who has reviewed almost every resort in the country over 20 years writing about the Maldives.

Adrian and the Dhonisaurus team will also be answering questions posted by travellers in the new site’s Advice Forum, on topics as diverse as diving, expat living and marine biology.

As Dhonisaurus grows we intend to add local guest houses on inhabited islands, include useful tools and forum posts for independent travellers in the Maldives, develop a separate rating system for safari boats, and hold award ceremonies for the winners of each category.

We’re very excited about the launch of Dhonisaurus as it greatly expands Minivan News’ presence in the travel sector and the advertising opportunities we can offer, and gives us an additional revenue stream to reinvest in growing independent journalism in the Maldives.

For a limited time only we are offering discounted introductory rates on for businesses keen to capture a high-conversion audience right in the act of planning their trip to the Maldives.

We want Dhonisaurus to be comprehensive. If a resort is not listed or has just opened (or closed!), contact us and we will ensure it is amended. Listed resorts must be open and receiving guests.


12 thoughts on “Introducing ‘Dhonisaurus’: Minivan’s new independent travel review and ratings site”

  1. oooh.... a yellow circle.
    Why do the government use yellow chairs, yellow paint etc..blaa blaaa. Is this really important. I do not think developed people do these kind of undeveloped stuffs.

  2. Yellow & Blue chairs. Yellow & Blue Walls. Yellow & Blue Buildings. Yellow Logos. etc balaa balaaa. Is this what you people called development.....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????????

  3. I don't think people are going to drop tripadvisor for this. More importantly, a small company will also find it difficult to not be swayed by influence (i.e manipulated ratings & reviews, bribery etc).

  4. Really a Good idea, but i think UI need to be improved, specially don't like that wodden BG Image.

    And the other thing is no SEO rules followed. Why should someone advertise on a brand new site like this ?

    But i know you guys can do much better, Good luck..

  5. Great idea, and an awesome concept. But like Bassam said, the UI needs a lot of work. It took me about 10 minutes to figure out what was what. The elements are laid out too plainly, making it difficult to focus on a single element.

    And yep, zero Search Engine Optimisation. Wonder why a news site like Minivan didnt think of that. Plus you could also have chosen better locations for the ad slots.

    I like the content though. Its great. But this can get a lot better. Cheers...

  6. Great logo, yellow and blue together, now only if the colours in this country could unite..the colour coded people that is.


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