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How to avoid deceiving online hotel photos

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This has, and probably will happen too many of us. You decide on your perfect travel destination, book your flights and then proceed to book the best hotel within your price range. I don’t know about you, but this is one of the most exciting parts of taking a trip, all the planning, bookings etc. Maybe in my previous life I was a travel agent?

Anyways, so you find the perfect hotel online, book it and upon arrival are properly disgusted by what you find. You can’t get out of it because you already paid and technically they’ve only bent the truth and not out rightly lied to you…  I have on occasion simply said hell no! turned around and walked out, but that usually means you are losing money.

So over the years I’ve developed a system of getting as much accurate information about a hotel, accommodation or even Airbnb booking to ensure that I receive what I booked and paid for. Recently our friends at Google made this even easier. Please don’t forget that all hotels will always use their premium rooms on their website. Usually the larger rooms, with the better amenities and greatest views. So unless you are paying for those extras don’t expect them. Always read the fine print.

How to properly stalk a hotel

I always use the Booking.com app or website to find accommodation. Unless of course I am doing Airbnb.  I’ve used them for so long that I now trust and feel extremely comfortable with the respective companies. I’ve also had some complaints in the past and these have always been dealt with satisfactorily. But always remember to check the hotels own website, before booking via third party sites, you might find a better deal there.

Step 1: So once I’ve found my accommodation I commence my stalking. I Google the establishment and on screen Google gives you the option to “see photos”. Click on that and on the new page select “view all photos” and on the next screen “all sources” > “from visitors”. You now have access to hundreds of unedited photos posted by visitors. This should give you a very accurate reflection of the state of the accommodation.

Google and select see photos which usually appears on the right
Select photos, all sources and from visitors

Step 2: Back on the Google search page click on “see outside”. And voila thanks to Google street view you have an accurate depiction of the outside as well as surrounding areas of your hotel. Very few hotels will ever place pictures of their surroundings on their website unless it benefits them. In this case we can see that this hotel is actually situated next to a very busy highway (dual carriageway).

Google search and select see outside, usually displayed on the right of your screen

Step 3: Read the reviews on Booking.com. This is an easy and fast way of getting an accuratish (my new word 🙂 ) overview of a place.

I hope this was informative and helps deciding on your next booking. I’ve heard some horrific stories with booking bad places, please don’t make the same mistake.

Nick from Namibia

@5410Africa

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