As you review ads online, how do you know what you are getting when you book? As a vacation rental owner, one of the biggest frustrations in getting across to potential guests is the quality of my condo is not just appearances….it's sites that have rating systems that allow a 2 star unit to be lumped in with 5 star units. Let me explain:
The economy vacation renter who is just looking for a place to sleep and is happy with an old unit in an old building with noise issue because it has a kitchen compared with a Super 8 motel can and will put 5 star ratings for their "experience" on a rating site. That only means that particular vacation renter's expectationt was met.
But this "experience" rating does not reflect the QUALITY, UPKEEP or STATUS of the unit or the complex. I discussed this issue with several rating services and they don't seem to get it. Their response is that people can tell by photos and price. These booking sites are losing the opportunity to make themselves the online AAA of vacation rentals.
So here are some pointers as you book:
1. How old is the condo and how old is the furniture?
2. What is the price range of the units in the building?
3. Does the owner provide additional photos and a video walkthrough of the condo
3. Ask the owner to rate the condo on the following scale when you email them and ask them why they rate their condo in this category:
5 Star Platinum/Premium/Exceptional (Westin/Hyatt Level (stainless steel appliances, granite counters, jetted master bath, garage)
4 Star Gold/Deluxe/Luxury (some high end touches but without some amenities) sometime has hot tub or pool
3 Star Silver/Moderate Usually built 1970's to 1980' with noise issues
2 Star Bronze/Economy This is a very old unit that is a place to sleep and needs updates.
The "crowd" that stays at a 2 or 3 star condo tends to be blue to gray collar and folks who will pack people into a condo, college kids. Noise issues are a big problem in these complexes. Packs of kids running down halls. Places that may allow pets (usually not allowed unless you are an owner in a 4-5 star unit) and a sad dog barking it's head off because the guest left them for the day because these are the folks too cheap to get their dog into a doggy camp for the weekend.
The crowd that stays at a 4-5 star condo is more white collar, retirees, couples on a getaway looking for romance… so you tend to have more quiet.