November 17, 2014
Reviews For Hostels
I am one of those sort of guys that just gets on with life and after almost 2 years of travelling this tiny planet and after some ribbing from a few friends I thought it time I wrote this my first ever post. The reason for me to take the effort in banging one finger (I have more, but can only use the one digit to type) on this key pad is the fact that I am dumbfounded by the system of ‘Reviews’. While some are full of valuable information the majority seem to fall into 2 camps. On the one hand you have the supposedly well-travelled backpacker, who has reviewed a number of locations based on what they know they can expect from a hostel (I must confess to only just starting to review places I have visited) while on the other hand you have what looks to be the first timer “backpacker” who reviews without weighing up what hostel life is really about, we all know the type, someone who travels with a suitcase and is simply on a two week holiday.
I suppose I should explain that last bit in more detail, I have been fortunate (and sometimes less fortunate) to have stayed in many a hostel all over this planet, some were little more than mud huts, while others were not ‘hostels’ at all but simply ‘guest houses’, that’s OK with me but unless you have been to a number of places how can you review a place without having something to judge it against? What is one person’s palace is another’s ‘S_IT’ hole. It would seem to me these supposedly backpackers are making statements based on their own perception of what a hostel should be and not viewing their surroundings for what they truly are.
To give an example I was sitting in a beach hut not so long ago when a guy books in the same hostel (dragging his oversized suit case), the first thing his says to us lying around in our hammocks, is he is shocked at the fact there was no air con and that there was so few toilets, WOW what was he expecting the rate was less than 3 USD per night, when another guy next to me pointed this out to the newbie his comments were to confuse me even further, he then start babbling on that he would take great pleasure in reviewing the hostel in the worst terms he could find. That single comment got me thinking about ‘Reviews’ for hostels.
Since that day I have taken far more note of the people writing the review rather just the content, what I have noticed is the same strange facts, when the review is poor the writer seems almost to flip flop in their statements, in one hand their take great delight in running the venue down and yet finish with the cost of the bed for the night was good. I wonder if these same people would go to a McDonalds and whinge that the meal was not as they had expected as they thought fast food was on the same par as an al a carte restaurant. Surely the first thing to do before starting a review is to compare apples with apples, that is to say take the price you pay and compare it against the alternatives you have around you (or what your budget will allow) and then write your review. It is no use going to a major city and expecting to pay the same as you will in the outback, nor is it realistic to expect a private room with AC, your own pool and sauna for the price of a beer or two.
I wonder should it not be down to the review companies to point this obvious issue out to those that have no real knowledge of what a hostel is! Or should there be a ‘Star System’ for hostels on the same line as hotels? Where a star is awarded for things such as 24 reception and a common area, for AC and fresh bedding etc.?
Reviews The good, the Bad and the ignorant
For most of us backpackers, the ideal hostel is a venue which provides a secure place where we get the chance to meet other likeminded people, at an affordable price based more on the fast food industry and not a Michelin Star Restaurant.
Unless of course you know better?
Written by: Ronny Baker