In the last months I have come to learn how it feels to be a censor.
The Managers go out in the wild to visit the houses and apartments and come back home with some pictures and impressions.
Then they write the Verification text to publish it for the world to see.
We do this because we think that:
The Owner’s description is not objective. It tells you the nice aspects and hides the bad ones. It’s, understandably, “brochure text” and it normally sounds like: “this beautiful and recently renovated apartment will be your home away from home”. There is never any reference to the broken door or smelly bathroom. So, the informative value is usually quite low and it’s no wonder that they are not read by most guests. It’s often just bla bla bla: noise in the page.
The Guests’ Reviews are very subjective.
The same house can be “clean” or “filthy” for different persons.
The reviews need to be interpreted by the users and this can be very time consuming and frustrating.
I want to reserve an apartment for 3 nights, not analyze texts written by people I don’t know.
Plus they can be fake.
P.S.: We don’t have them yet but planned them for this year.
So, there’s a gap and we try to fill it with the Manager’s Verifications.
But we need to learn how to really write them.
When we travel we try to stay in apartments/houses and avoid hotels.
Often we even test them, meaning that we analyze the apartments and write a review about the experience, so at the end of the stay the Owner gets a lot of interesting feedback.
What I like most about testing is that the changes we suggest are almost always free or very cheap to implement, but they bring a lot of value.
Here’s four examples:
1) The missing Kitchen Cloth
Once I cleaned a coffee cup in the sink and then looked for a cloth to dry my hands.
It was not there, so I used the kitchen paper. I was a bit sorry, as it was a waste of paper.
In the whole morning I think I dried my hands about five times.
So I went in the bathroom and took the small towel…and I realized this is something I do very often in apartments.
I think 40% of apartments I test do not have a kitchen cloth.
40% of tourist apartments do not have an item which is instead present in 100% of kitchen in the whole world.
I mean, have you ever seen a real kitchen without a kitchen cloth?
When you reserve an accommodation online you are alone.
Sure, you can (sometimes) talk to the Owner directly and often there’s a Customer Support number.
The trouble is: the Owner will try to sell you his/her accommodation and won’t probably be very objective while the Customer Support doesn’t know much about the specific accommodation you are interested in.
We try to fill this gap by Meeting the Owners, Visiting the accommodations and sometimes even Testing them (yes, we sleep there).
I’ve been doing this for more than 10 years in Eastern Europe and Guests really appreciate the feedback on that.