When they’re booking a place for their holidays people often make assumptions about what that place will be like not so much from the description (which few seem to read) but rather from the place that they’re booking it through.
For instance, we’re in that hazy middle ground between B&B and hotel which means that we’re listed on a wider range of sites than a place that fell exclusively into either category would be. As a rule those coming to us from the hotel listings tend to expect a level of services that we simply can’t meet at busy times when we’ve found that some expect a level of staffing more appropriate to a 50 bedroom place than our own humble 10 room place. So, for example, we’ve found that some people can’t understand that we’ve only one internet terminal when “hotels” always have three or four. Well, 50 bedroom hotels might well have three or four but since we’ve only 1/5th of that number of rooms we obviously have to scale other things down too. On the other hand, those coming to us via a B&B listing sometimes have the expectation of encountering a cute country cottage which we aren’t and don’t claim to be either.
However, perhaps the most peculiar expectation we encountered came from one couple who were looking for a “country retreat”. It took us a while to work out what they were looking for but apparently it came from an Australian listing that we have which is one of many created by asking us one set of questions and producing a listing that answers an entirely different set of questions. In this case one of their questions was “is there a nudist colony nearby” to which the answer is “yes”. However, on their site our answer means that we’re listed as being a “nudist retreat” which we’re definitely not. It seems that “country retreat” is one of those ways of referring to nudist retreats, hence the confusion from that particular couple!
Thanks to the way that listing sites group properties by “resort” (usually the nearest large town) it’s quite important to check just where your holiday property actually is. For instance, we’re generally listed as being attached to Perpignan yet we’re actually 25km outside it. That’s not a problem if you’re coming in a car as it’s only 20 minutes drive but clearly more of an issue if you’re relying on public transport to get around. There’s not really a lot that holiday properties can do about that on the whole as if listings sites simply listed only the properties within a town then it would be next to impossible to find accommodation outside a town. After all, would you know the name of all the little villages within 10 miles or so of your home town? Even if you did, would you have the patience to look up each one in turn in search of accommodation?
To avoid making assumptions that don’t fit with the reality it’s best to have a good read of the description of your holiday accommodation. Most owners spend a fair bit of time to get their description as accurate as they can as it’s obviously much better to have people coming who want to stay in the type of place you have. Despite that it sometimes seems that potential guests don’t even read the first line and go purely on price then complain that, for example, a place billed as being in the country isn’t in the city (yes, we’ve had that).Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.