I’m in Vietnam right now.
I flew into Hanoi and I am slowly making south to, 17 days later, reach Saigon and go back to Bangkok.
Other than sightseeing I am doing two things:
1) Discovering the joys of online reservation even when travelling solo and basically backpacking.
2) Creating VietnamCheapAccommodation.com website, for fun and test.
3) Discovering with horror that ratings I find online are not as reliable as I hoped.
The Joys of Online Reservations
Back in the old days the cool thing to do for me was getting out of the bus in a place I had never been before and start looking for a place to stay.
Not that I had an option. My budget was always below 10 euro a night and you could be sure that this kind of money was not interesting for the big online reservation systems. How can you make a commission on 10 euro after all?
Well, this seems to have changed, as I am hopping from a 8 Euro to a 12 Euro a night hotel without any hassle.
And I always get a nice hotel with wifi (an equivalent hotel would cost around at least 100 euro in Paris).
I simply reserve online the day before, catch the bus or train and when I get there my room is ready, waiting for me.
No searching under the hot sun, no “can I see the room?” and the room is just too ugly, no “sorry, full”.
I kind of DON’T miss that at all.
And what more, since I can leave a rating I get respect.
After all I can seriously damage their business with a bad review.
Adormo is great for niches and this is a niche: just the cheap places.
But I think I can bring some extra value here: I leave my own personal rating and I take my pictures, so I give a new perspective to the hotel.
In other websites you always see the “official” pictures, here you can see the real ones.
Plus, read my comments, I think they are interesting, aren’t they?
I’ll make some money with ads, get some visibility and that’s enough for now, even if I actually have some more ideas.
The Ratings war
What’s up with ratings? I just lost trust in them. Why?
1) One hotel manager in Hanoi told me he is able to post fake ratings almost everywhere, simply by changing IP.
I mean, even in the biggest websites, the ones you would think have spent millions to avoid fraud. Nope, as easy as sending an email.
2) I keep reading all these “Fantastic” reviews in so many hotels in Vietnam that it’s just too good to be true.
It’s like the communist dream where all is perfect. Every hotel seems to be full of excited guests who can’t stop from writing how good the hotel is.
Possible, hotels here do have a great value but after a few “best breakfast ever”, “best hotel in Asia”, I will come back to Vietnam because of this hotel”, you start to be suspicious. You have to.
Now, some websites let anyone leave a rating and, fine, they can be tricked.
But some others require the guest to stay there first.
You can’t leave a rating unless you reserved via the website and paid.
allright…so…it must be impossible to cheat, right?
Nope, very easy actually.
Imagine I am the hotel manager. I sit at my computer, I go to the reservations website, make a reservation, pay one night 10 euro.
The website will send me the 10 euro – commission (1? 2?3? Euro). After the check-out date (nobody checked-in or out of course) I can leave my rating and tell the world how incredibly beautiful my hotel is. Cost? Maybe a couple of euro. Not expensive.
People will start realizing this pretty soon and we better be ready. One fake rating out of ten good ones and your credibility is gone.
So, how will we avoid this in Adormo? I have a good idea, but I will not say it, sorry.
We better keep our anti-spam secret.