How do you pick a B&B or a hostel? With places like VRBO, HostelWorld, Booking.com and AirBnB competing for your Reservation dollars – finding the best place to spend your holiday bucks is getting more and more complicated.
My solution – 6 basic rules!
These rules may seem simple, obvious even – but I’ve traveled around the world on them – in places were I don’t speak the language, don’t have a tour guide, don’t know a soul. And have had great success in picking places to stay that worked out perfectly – my one oops – I forgot my rule #2. Serves me right I think. So read and remember.
Rule #1 – Location. No matter how good the B&B is – if it isn’t where you want to be, it’s useless. I loved the Agit in Seoul, South Korea – but if you need to stay in Prescott, Ontario – the Agit is not going to do it.
Rule #2 – Reviews matter. Seriously. It is really important to check the reviews – you’ll get some bad ones – it happens, but if there are lots of reviews, and they are mostly positive, it’s a good sign. Actually – it’s a great sign. I’ve never been disappointed in a place with great reviews – nope, it’s the ones with NO reviews that tend to scare me away.
Rule #3 – Know what is important to you. If the review says – great place to party – and you don’t party – stay away. It will be noisy – and you’ll be disappointed. On the other hand – if you are looking to met people, a place that is quiet and calm is probably not going to work out.
Rule #4 – Check prices. B&Bs, hostels, and hotels will list on lots of different web sites – booking.com, expedia.com, tripadvisor.com, hostelworld.com – the list goes on and on. So if you find one that seems right – take a minute to check other sites. The websites would rather you didn’t do that – and they try to rush you (5 people looking at this B&B right now) – but take your time. I’ve avoided some really bad decisions by just being a little slow.
Rule #5 – Know your price range. I travel ‘cheap’, I travel ‘upscale’ – and it’s really critical to remember what you can and cannot afford. I’ve never been happy with a choice when I forget to be sure it’s a price I’m comfortable paying. Forget this – and you too will be sorry!
Rule #6 – Correspond directly with your host. Ask a simple question (Do they have cats, is the bed King-sized, how do I get to you from the airport) – getting an answer will tell you two very important things – a) They can figure out how to communicate in English – even if it means getting help from their grand-kids, and b) They are real. Never underestimate the importance of real. When you get where you are going – you are going to want to figure out where to eat, how to get from here to there, how to get fresh towels. If there’s a host – and they respond by email, odds are they will respond to you face to face even better.
So them’s the rules – simple right?. But they work for me – and I’ll bet they will work for you!
Oooh! These definitely work! I have happily used similar techniques in the past to great effect. I will add that a lack of reviews is worrying – but I also sincerely worry if an establishment has too many ‘we loved it. Thanks’ reviews. Like, if the guests aren’t being very forthcoming with their comments, or if they aren’t being very specific, I start to have concerns. Especially on more social sites like Airbnb… I find this often points either to a ‘if you can’t say anything nice…’ attitude on the part of the commentator, OR, more worryingly, some subtle tweaking by the host…
Oh great points. As an owner/rentor of 2 VRBO units – I can tell you that the hardest thing in the world is getting people who loved your place to reivew it. People are so fast to complain – and so slow to compliment. Any ideas that would make it easier to get good reviews from people who ‘loved’ your place would be greatly appreciated!
Great rules Leslie with some very helpful tips. And I can attest that your suggestions really work! All the best, Terri