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Difference between revisions of "Wikitravel talk:Accommodation listings"

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(Lima)
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=== [[Lima]] ===
 
=== [[Lima]] ===
#'''Miraflores Suites''', Av. 28 de Julio 425, Miraflores. Charming two self catering apartment for tourists. Minimum 1 week of rental. Two bedrooms for 4 people: [http://charmingapt.hot.to/]
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#'''Miraflores Suites''', Av. 28 de Julio 425, Miraflores. Charming two self catering apartment for tourists. Minimum 1 week of rental. Two bedrooms for 4 people: http://charmingapt.allday.at/. Also one bedroom for 2 people: http://mirafloresapt.allday.at/. mjreinafarje@yahoo.com
Also one bedroom for 2-3 people: [http://mirafloresapt.hot.to/] and [http://enchantingapt.hot.to]
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mirafloresapt@yahoo.com
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=== [[Bucharest]] ===
 
=== [[Bucharest]] ===

Revision as of 21:07, 14 February 2013

Contents

We need to fill in "Sleep" sections

It's been observed in a couple of discussions that the ==Sleep== sections of our articles tend to get filled in last, or not at all. Some have speculated that this is because many of our contributors are writing about places where they live, so they don't know the hotels. Or perhaps consumate travelers manage to hook up crash pads in enough places to make hotel expenses unecessary.

If that's the case then the problem will be intractible until a lot of us decide to give it a couple of minutes of discipline. I'd like to invite Wikitravelers who are feeling industrious today to add 2 (or more) places to sleep to some article somewhere.

Ideally of course you might have personal experience with the place, but really I think it's fine to provide listings for places you've read about at multiple sources. The listings will get corrected later if it turns out the place is falsely advertised. -- Mark 06:11, 18 Apr 2004 (EDT)

Well. Even for the places where I do stay in hotels, it's usually just a "going there for sleeping" deal... I usually don't even take the breakfast even if it's included in the room. So I can't help ya with that, really. -- Nils 11:09, 25 Apr 2004 (EDT)
I honestly think that it's a good idea to do hotel listings from online research, especially if there are only a couple of places to stay in a given destination, as with Minot, or Carbondale. I think it makes sense to list places found online because of the possibility that a printed copy of the Wikitravel page might be the only information the traveller has at the moment, and it's better to have the info than not.
Obviously personal experience is better, but I see no harm whatever in compiling opinions from reviews found online. It isn't a copyright issue because of fair use, nor is it in any way a disservice to the traveller so long as it's clear that the review is from compiled sources. Places that turn out to have problems will get removed, or re-edited.
This is a very important part of providing a travel guide, and an area where we are in general not doing too well at the moment, so I'm trying to find a way to fix it. -- Mark 04:15, 26 Apr 2004 (EDT)
I completely agree, except I strongly opine against copying anything from anywhere. If you don't have a first-hand opinion on a spot, re-write what you read on the Internet in your own words. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, just add the basic data (address, phone, prices), and leave a description up to the next person. --Evan 14:33, 26 Apr 2004 (EDT)
Of course. I thought the need to rewrite went without saying, but perhaps I should have been more explicit. Perhaps an example is called for:
  • Hotel du Soleil, 44 Ramblas del sol. (+55) 55 555 55 55. This hotel recieves mostly good reviews with a few people noting that the water pressure could be a bit stronger in the shared showers. The rooms facing the sea are said to have wonderful views, but for #29 which is behind the neighboring building's television arial. 30/50 Euro. No web address known.
I think that it's totally cool to make it clear that the listing is compiled from a review. I think it's completely bogus to copy a review (most are in the first person anyhow, and would have to be reworded for Wikitravel no matter). -- Mark 16:53, 26 Apr 2004 (EDT)

Note the spelling is "accommodation". I don't know how to change the actual name of the page? --Nzpcmad 16:17, 27 Apr 2004 (EDT)

Shotgun Approach To Sleep

Filling in sections like sleep is a hassle, takes time to research, and is also very helpful. We need more sleep entries. Lots more sleep entries. In the Bay Area where I live, few cities are even begun, and fewer have sleep entries.

So I have an idea: I could go through a selection of Well Known Motel and Hotel chains, find all the ones in my region (San Francisco Bay Area) and then add them to any cities in my area needing extra Sleep entries (creating the city article as needed). This would get a boatload of cities started, and each of them would have sleep entries. And it would be fast and efficient to do.

The bad news of this that I have no basis for judging any of them, and non-chain hotels and motels get the shaft, and that sucks.

So is it worth doing? Or a bad idea? -- Colin 02:59, 28 May 2004 (EDT)

It's a fantastic idea! I've long been an advocate of using on-line research to fill in the sleep listings to the extent possible. In my opinion, as discussed here It's absolutely valid to summarise (but not copy) reviews found on the web and elsewhere. eg:
  • Seaside Hotel, 123 charming lane. +01 555 555 5555. This cheapie gets mostly positive reviews for cleanlyness etc., although it's fair to point out that more than one review found online mentions that although the place is about 4 blocks from the sea there are a lot of buildings in between, and thus no view. starting at 39 Eur. singles
Key ideas to consider for a summary approach:
    • Clearly express that you are writing from a collection of reviews, not first-hand experience.
    • Use more than one source.
    • DO NOT COPY people's words; ideas however, are fair game.
Taking this approach it's possible to list places which aren't chains as well! -- Mark 03:47, 28 May 2004 (EDT)
Maybe I need to clarify, maybe not. My suggestion is to go to a Major Chain's website, and crib a bunch of places in the Bay Area for that one chain. Then go to Major Chain #2's website, rinse and repeat. But your idea is nice in that it also picks up on the non-chains too. Hmm. Maybe one pass through the big chains, then once pass through search sites to pick up some extras and then multi-source the reviews? -- Colin 03:53, 28 May 2004 (EDT)
Yes, exactly. The chains are easy, and from there we find small places that people seem to like to write about. While you're doing chain hotels in the U.S. I would recommend checking out [this chain of midrange boutique hotels.] -- Mark 04:04, 28 May 2004 (EDT)
Okay, I'll start on it. Thanks for the hotel pointer, I'll be sure to include them. I'd like to generate a range of hotels.... I'm thinking Motel6 (cheapest), Best Western (medium), Marriot (more expensive). Anyone have any I need to add to the list, or better lists? -- Colin 04:08, 28 May 2004 (EDT)
I'd be careful with the price ranking. While it's true that in some smaller places like maybe Minot that Marriot, if they have a presence will be the top of the line, in other places like San Francisco or Chicago Mariott will probably have entries in the low mid range as well as low-splurge range, so it's worth checking out. Another cheapie chain is Day's Inn. for mid-range and splurge hotels there´s Hilton, and of course there's also a chain for the very top of the line. -- Mark 04:26, 28 May 2004 (EDT)
Here are some more, cheapie: Best Inns, midrange: Holiday Inn and splurge: Hotel Intercontinental. -- Mark 04:37, 28 May 2004 (EDT)
Note that Marriott divides their properties into "JW Marriott" (5-star) and just plain old "Marriott" (3/4-star). Jpatokal 21:17, 17 May 2005 (EDT)
This discussion's a tad out of date now, but I'd like to agree. It's good to put in sleep places, even from the 'net. I'm having the opposite problem, I've been trying to write about a few places in Morocco but can't remember the name or address of the hotel we stayed at. Thanks -- Lionfish Early 05 April 2005 (GMT)

Automatic sleep listing generation.

I've begun writing a script to scrape addresses out of the official websites of chain hotels and generate wikimarkup for each item. Currently, I've carefully restricted it to only scape facts from the websites like phone numbers, url, and address. Just scraping Motel 6 and Best Western for CA ID NV ND OR UT and WA states, I have 787 entries. Some questions:

  • In the US, there are "Toll free" numbers which can only be dialed from within the US and Canada. Sometimes these numbers are further restricted to either the US or Canada, or even to a single State or Province. My current handling of this is to only include Toll free numbers which are available from all of the US and Canada. We don't currently have a standard for formatting a Toll free region-restricted phone number. How about something like this:
    • Best Western Anaheim Sportstown, 1700 E Katella Avenue, (714) 634-1920, Toll free: (800) 634-1920, Fax: (714) 634-0366, [1].
  • Since I include only facts generated from the corporate website, am I copyvio'ing?
  • Some cities have huge numbers of hotels. San Diego has 10 Best Westerns and 4 Motel 6s. (It has a lot of area, so they aren't really redundant). How much is too much?. Pick a random sampling?

-- Colin 20:13, 14 May 2005 (EDT)

I would limit them by proximity, for instance if it's out in the 'burbs somewhere don't list it. Maybe try to find a sort of average point between our See and Do and Eat listings and go by that. -- Mark 03:09, 15 May 2005 (EDT)
As a heavy business traveler I think listings of hotels in the 'burbs are useful — not all travellers are tourists and our destinations may not match those on the tourist itinerary. For example, there's no reason to stay at Hotel Ciputra in West Jakarta, unless you happen to commute daily to your customer's office smack in the middle of the benighted slums of Daan Mogot... and as Colin points out, large cities with lots of hotels also have tend to have lots of districts, so the load is spread out.
And oh yes, the script is a great idea, and kudos to Colin for creating it! Jpatokal 21:17, 17 May 2005 (EDT)

Streamline Links, easy for use

Instead of placing a link as its own entry, why not hyperlink the title? Also, why can we not link the address to a mapping service?


Basically, turn this:

  • Hotel Eldorado, Rue des Dames 18, 17th (metro: Place de Clichy), +33 1 45 22 35 21, [2]. The Eldorado, a former maison de rendez-vous, was once home to the kept women of the 19th century bourgeois. Now a very cute no star hotel, its charm more than makes up for what it lacks in amenities (who needs a TV in Paris anyway?). The staff is super friendly, the decor is garage sale chic, and there’s a lovely courtyard that fills with neighbourhood hipsters on warm evenings. It also has a very good location & you can easily avoid the noise of Pigalle or Montmartre's high prices, but they’re within stumble distance if you decide to explore. For early risers breakfast (€5, until 10 am) is served in the attached restaurant/bar. Some English spoken, especially for those who pet the cat sprawled across the reception desk. 23/39 Eur. - €49/79. (singles/doubles)


Into this (where the map actually brings up the location):

  • Hotel Eldorado, Rue des Dames 18, 17th (metro: Place de Clichy), +33 1 45 22 35 21. The Eldorado, a former maison de rendez-vous, was once home to the kept women of the 19th century bourgeois. Now a very cute no star hotel, its charm more than makes up for what it lacks in amenities (who needs a TV in Paris anyway?). The staff is super friendly, the decor is garage sale chic, and there’s a lovely courtyard that fills with neighbourhood hipsters on warm evenings. It also has a very good location & you can easily avoid the noise of Pigalle or Montmartre's high prices, but they’re within stumble distance if you decide to explore. For early risers breakfast (€5, until 10 am) is served in the attached restaurant/bar. Some English spoken, especially for those who pet the cat sprawled across the reception desk. 23/39 Eur. - €49/79. (singles/doubles)


This would make it much easier for users to goto the website and look up the location.

There was a long discussion and debate about this very thing over the course of 6 months last year. The listing format we are using now is a compromise result of that debate. Here's a summary of the opposition to what we were calling "Front-linked listings":
  • They are ugly. The linked text is lighter than the main text of the page, so although the listing title is supposed to be bold, in a front-linked listing it gets swallowed up into the text of the page.
  • They cause the link to come first in the wikitext. This makes it really hard to see what you are trying to edit when you are editing the section.
  • We want to de-emphasise links. We're supposed to have all the information you need right here on the page. The link is just a tiny little extra. We came really close to eliminating the links altogether, and probably will if this becomes an issue again.
I hope that clarifies the issue somewhat, thanks for asking though. -- Mark 09:08, 10 Aug 2005 (EDT)
PS. Please do sign your comments. Thanks! -- Mark 09:08, 10 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Also, since not every accommodation has a web site, you'll get an ugly mix of bold blue (link) and bold b lack titles (no link) in list. -- Colin 12:13, 10 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Revolution:I just learned that there is this rule that you can't link the name. My feeling is that we should change it so that you can. I don't the linked numbers look good. They look to html like in my opinion. Concerning the issue of having b lack and blue letters: I really don't think it's a big deal, I think it would look better that way. Rentastrawberry 18:12, 24 Oct 2005 (EDT)
I'd support changing the way we do links as to me the "[1]" format is ugly. However, from my understanding this is dead horse that has been beaten and re-beaten (and then beaten a bit more) so it sounds like unless the folks who originally decided to use "[1]" have changed their mind it might be best to leave things as they are. -- Wrh2 18:52, 24 Oct 2005 (EDT)
The "[1]" was supposed to be turned into something prettier though -- I'm hoping Mark's new skin will address this. Jpatokal 21:51, 24 Oct 2005 (EDT)
Do you guys not see the little offsite link image next to the number? Just for what it's worth I think that front-linked listings are far uglier than the bracket links, as noted above. -- Mark 01:19, 25 Oct 2005 (EDT)
The arrow is cute, but it'd be nice to turn the "[1]" into something sensible like "web"... Jpatokal 02:27, 25 Oct 2005 (EDT)
Best would be to turn it into nothing. Just keep the arrow. --Ravikiran 04:14, 25 Oct 2005 (EDT)

Hotel Directories

Swept in from the Pub:

Would it be okay if I went through hotel directories (Choice Hotels, Ramada, etc.) and added in every single one? (Not any time soon though, I'm working on Wikipedia). --Rschen7754 00:31, 19 Oct 2005 (EDT)

Broadly, the answer is yes. See this --Ravikiran 01:02, 19 Oct 2005 (EDT)
See also User:Cjensen/project/hotelmaker and bug me if you want me to work harder on it. -- Colin 02:10, 19 Oct 2005 (EDT)

"Sleep" link-spamming

Swept in from the Pub:

As a veteran Wikipedian, but new to Wikitravel, I'm uncertain what to do about apparent link-spamming. In editing the Grand Rapids article, I couldn't help noticing that all of the "Sleep" listings are for a single hotel chain which operates under several brands. As a native, I know that there are oodles more hotels here, so this list is certainly biased. (The editor who added them has added listings for the same chain to a bunch of other city articles as well.) But I've never stayed at any local hotels, so I'm not in a position to correct this bias without doing a massive, uncritical info-dump from a directory. If this were Wikipedia, I'd delete something like this as link-spam, but in this context they are arguably appropriate... just very misleading about the local lodging scene. TVerBeek 13:23, 2 Jan 2006 (EST)

We don't object to hotel operators listing their hotels here. As always, they should expect their entries to be edited if they are filled with marketese. The real solution here is for folks to add other hotels too. But in the meantime, the hotel listings that have been contributed are better than nothing. The problem has been one of motivation -- most people are less interested in listing places to stay than any other item we ask for. -- Colin 13:35, 2 Jan 2006 (EST)
I don't think it's "link spamming". I think of "link spam" as inappropriate and unwelcome links. Hotel listings in the "Sleep" section are neither. We've had a couple of hotel-chain additions, and they're almost always half-decent hotels that are fine choices (if outside the budget or not to the tastes of many travelers). If we're worried about a lack of balance or choice in the "Sleep" section, welllllll... I think we all know the solution to that problem. Hint: the initials are "P.F.". --Evan 14:24, 2 Jan 2006 (EST)

I disagree with the current way of adding all hotels in a city, I believe it is not needed because anyone who is able to travel would be able to find a Best Western or a Motel 6, the sleep section should be used only for hotels that are unique or important to the city. William M 18:30, 12 August 2006 (EDT)

Star Rating

What do people think of having star ratings. Star ratings are in most printed travel guides. I have made image for a four stars. I have used it on Las Vegas -Texas Web Scout 00:21, 19 March 2006 (EST)

Apartment rentals

Some guidelines that have been suggested for what types of vacation rentals are OK:

  1. Must have a 'real world' office -- ie a phone number and/or address
  2. Must allow rentals less than 1 week
  3. Must offer lodging that cannot be rented directly from the owner
  4. Must be a location where travelers frequently rent cabins/apartments

Comments?

For reference here are some examples of the types of vacation rental listings we currently have (just stop me if folks don't think this is a useful exercise...) Maj 16:21, 5 August 2006 (EDT)

Aspen

  1. Vacation Rentals in Aspen, [3]. Condos and homes offered direct by owner.
  2. Five Star Destinations, 453 East Hopkins Ave, Phone: 970-925 6638, [4]. Luxurious vacation rentals in Aspen.
  3. Country Village Rentals, 1-888-621-2877, [5] [6]. Search for and view Aspen rental homes online.

Riga

  1. apartments for rent in Riga
  2. Riga Old Town apartments,
  3. Riga Accommodation, Apartments in Riga and general info

Lima

  1. Miraflores Suites, Av. 28 de Julio 425, Miraflores. Charming two self catering apartment for tourists. Minimum 1 week of rental. Two bedrooms for 4 people: http://charmingapt.allday.at/. Also one bedroom for 2 people: http://mirafloresapt.allday.at/. mjreinafarje@yahoo.com

Bucharest

  1. BUCHARESTACCOMMODATION.COM fortable apartments starting from 30E/day, in Downtown Bucharest, 3*** hotel standard, with queen size bed, CATV, local calls & Internet connection. We organize Bucharest sightseeing and tours all over the country from 50E/2pers. For details & photos visit us: http://www.bucharestaccommodation.com, phone: 0040.723.214491

Comments

Has any consensus or an actual guideline come out of this discussion? I suppose this issue kind of overlaps with Wikitravel talk:External links/vacation rentals and it's about time we establish some sort of policy on listing rentals. -- Ricardo (Rmx) 14:33, 6 December 2006 (EST)
I don't think so. Frankly, I'd like to get rid of them all -- they're crowding up pages with lots of information that I never use. --Evan 15:17, 6 December 2006 (EST)
I'm not keen on this king of listing either. I think we might allow rented apartments and other similar properties to be listed only if its practical and immediately usable info for travellers using the print version of the guide (i.e. no secondary links) and:
  1. the property itself has an exact address that may allow the traveler to decide where exactly to stay - which is where I think that most rental agents won't fit (and there is Dmoz for them anyway)
  2. the rental has a definite price or price range so that it can be classified under the budget/mid-range/splurge scheme.
But honestly, I too would rather see them out of the guides altogether. Would anybody else like to comment on this? Otherwise I think we should set up the guideline soon. Ricardo (Rmx) 15:06, 15 December 2006 (EST)
I'm with Evan. The chance that they might be useful to someone is low. What is much higher is the chance that they'll make the guide harder to use (or less pleasant to use) for most people. -- Jonboy 15:34, 15 December 2006 (EST)

I'd like to chime in here and say that rental agencies are useful for many destinations, but the agency really must conform to Maj's suggested requirements. As far as I'm concerned if they don't have an office where I can go pick up the keys, they are too removed and hands-off for me to trust. When a place has an office, problems can sometimes be fixed instead of just having to throw your money away. Can we all agree to these minimum guidelines, or do some people feel that this is insufficiently selective?

If anyone needs an example for why such agencies are necessary to list, let me give an example. In Mammoth Lakes many skiiers buy condos and use them part time. The rest of the time they rent them out through an agency. Because of the tremendous quantity of condos available through these agencies, no normal hotel even attempts to compete with them. So if you want a kitchen and a couple of rooms, you have no choice but to use an agency. On the bright side, these agencies operate a lot like an extended-stay hotel in that you can head into the office and get new linens and stuff, and the office is available to handle problems. So in many ways they are like a hotel with rooms scattered across a small town. -- Colin 19:54, 28 December 2006 (EST)

Proposal

So I really like the idea that a listing must be for (a) specific location(s) not a service. So a place like you're describing with an office, address, and specific set of rentals, etc, would count, but an online search engine offering "hundreds of luxury accomodations!1!!!1!" would not. If you think of how a normal listing looks, it makes sense. You can't say much about the places offered by a service, you can only say that they have lots... If you look at the examples above, the last two would be OK, since we can say they have this kind of bed and that price, but the top ones wouldn't. I know this isn't perfect, but I think it would cut though a lot of the cruft while still acknowledging that apartments and vacation rentals are important for travellers and the main accomodations in some places. Thoughts? Maj 13:52, 29 December 2006 (EST)

I added a modified version of your text into the article. I wrote it so that it must have a phone and an address where you pick up the keys. Does that work as a sufficient barrier to ensure it's a specific location? -- Colin 14:02, 29 December 2006 (EST)
I went ahead and edited Barcelona as an example [7]. I removed all the listings that were services instead of establishments. I think that anything that's not a single business, with discrete, describable, units and a physical office, is just another external link. I think this goes a little further than just having an office where you get the keys-- take a look at the diff to see what I mean. Maj 18:48, 5 January 2007 (EST)
I agree. Can we make this policy so we can start cleaning out the articles that look trashy because of all the rental agencies? Would it also make sense to ask that anybody who wants to claim that a location is one where people commonly rent apartments discuss it on the talk page? That would allow easier reverts of drive-by spamming. -- Jonboy 11:28, 15 January 2007 (EST)
I just want to say that I think this is a really difficult problem and I'm glad we're reaching some consensus on it. I can definitely live with this proposal. --evanp 13:17, 15 January 2007 (EST)
I think an important point to make is that this is just clarifying that rental service/agency web sites are not "accommodation listings" but fall under the same Wikitravel:External links policy as any other non-primary link. If there are no objections, then I will update the Accommodations page and start clearing out some of the cruft. This will be good to nail down, though, again, it doesn't really change anything. Maj 23:32, 15 January 2007 (EST)

If there are no objections, I'm going to go ahead and change the policy as suggested above? --Jonboy 21:54, 20 February 2007 (EST)

What do you mean? The proposal has already been added. Is there some alteration you'd like? -- Colin 04:33, 23 February 2007 (EST)
The "Apartment Listings" section says we allow listings of services. I'd like to change that to Maj's "location, not a service" statement. --Jonboy 12:19, 23 February 2007 (EST)
For example, this appears to be OK under the current policy as written, but violates the "specific location" provision. I'm not going to revert it, because I don't have a specific policy I can cite to back myself up.

Renting direct from owner

I am just wondering what the purpose of number 3 (Must offer lodging that cannot be rented directly from the owner) is. And also, how would one ever be able to control this? Mariusm98 10:29, 11 June 2009 (EDT)

I fully agree, this rule does not make any sense and should be removed. 212.97.53.22 05:28, 13 August 2009 (EDT)

If you have a policy change in mind, best to open a new thread below, I think. The current policy prohibits many consolidators and agents. --inas 06:41, 13 August 2009 (EDT)
Note that Wikitravel is not an apartment listing site - it is a travel site. If there is a policy change to be made be sure that it is in the interest of travelers and not advertising a business. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:08, 13 August 2009 (EDT)

Avalanche of hotel listings

...a different but related point - is there a policy on how to sift through an avalanche of hotel listings? At the moment, things are pretty calm, but as WT's popularity and fame grows, there is a distinct possibility that hotel and guest house owners will become more voracious in adding their own businesses on the 'Sleep' section. For most places, this won't be a major problem. However, for some tourist towns the section could conceivably be overwhelmed with several hundred listings, and as many of the lodgings will clustered together, dividing the article into smaller districts will not be a viable solution. This is not a pressing point at the moment, though as I envisage that it will become so in the future, it is perhaps good to least begin giving the matter some thought... WindHorse 00:37, 16 January 2007 (EST)
I agree... especially with destinations like India where touting is rife, once some of them catch on more to this guide it will definitely get flooded. I'm personally against even saying that hotel owners can add their own listings (I know it would be hard to police, especially if they add the listing from a travelers perspective, but then at least the obvious touters can be deleted fairly). But as of now, saying that it's allowed opens the door for trouble later... once there are 50 hotels listed for one city, who's to say which are to stay and which are to go? The appeal of this guide now is that it has a traveler's point of view, but business owners adding their own listings works against creating a quality guide with trustable information, it only dilutes it. Footprints guides contain advertising, but I would never, personally, refer to one of those, I would always go to one of the author's listings... if I wanted brochure style travel then I would just head to tourists offices, etc on arrival in a city instead of lugging around heavy guidebooks. | Cacahuate 03:39, 16 January 2007 (EST)

Hope you don't mind I started a new section for this. This has come up again and again over the last 3+ years, but so far the community has been able to deal very well with both touts and well-meaning users who add A-Z lists of every hotel in their town. I think the simple reason is there are more of us than there are of them. There's no reason why a hotel owner shouldn't add their hotel to a guide, they just need to realize that any one of the thousands of other people who come to the site every day may edit and/or remove their listing. There shouldn't been more than 7-9 hotels (I think the MoS is specific about this) on any guide page, and selecting those 7-9 will always be the product of community consensus. I think things have worked well enough so far... Maj 14:30, 16 January 2007 (EST)

Thanks for the reply. Actually, it wasn't just the touts I was thinking about, but also the legitimate lists of hotels in a small tourist town where there may literally be hundreds of guest houses. However, I hadn't realized that 7-9 limit on listings also applied to accommodation as it doesn't say so on Wikitravel:Accommodation listings article. Do you think this information should be added there to clarify the matter? Also, does the 7-9 limit apply to all accommodation or each sub-section (i.e. a list of 7-9 within each of the 'Budget', 'Mid range' and 'Splurge' categories)? Thanks for your help. WindHorse 23:55, 16 January 2007 (EST)
I'll try to dig up the reference (you're right that it should probably be reiterated here), but I recall that it's 7-9 for each section, if a city needs it. HTH Maj 00:00, 17 January 2007 (EST)
7±2 is 5-9. If this guideline exists, it's news to me. I kinda disagree with it if it does exist. -- Colin 00:07, 17 January 2007 (EST)
It's 5-9 per listing section, per district (cf. Talk:Jakarta, where somebody tried to copy the entire phonebook). So a normal page can contain up to 27 listings across Budget, Mid-range and Splurge, which should be plenty, and huge cities can have that many in each district. Jpatokal 03:28, 17 January 2007 (EST)
Thank you. You are a mine of information. From the Talk:Jakarta article, I was able to locate the relevant info on the Wikitravel:Goals and non-goals page. Now I'm just wondering whether this guideline should also be reiterated in the Wikitravel:Accommodation listings page as few people (or am I the only one?) would think to look for it among the Goals-non-goals. WindHorse 03:45, 17 January 2007 (EST)
Totally agree with the "no telephone book" policy. I just think nine will be insufficient for some uses, and it isn't an actual policy. That said, I'm all for removing unannotated entries (those entries without any human descriptions) when we exceed nine. -- Colin 04:23, 17 January 2007 (EST)
I think nine could work for most places, and if we run into trouble then find a solution then... and perhaps having that in the policy will make it easier to deal with touting, since most would unlikely write a review good enough to displace one of the current nine and be removed anyway... though Maj, I do think there's a reason for hotel owners not to add their own listings, I think it potentially dilutes the guide and removes the traveler's perspective, but just my opinion, and maybe it won't become as big an issue as I'm anticipating... Cacahuate 05:47, 17 January 2007 (EST)
I also think that it is probably wise to make 7+2 a policy. From past experience, I know that it can be very difficult to persuade persistent contributors to accept a guideline unless it is backed by an established policy. Also, I believe that a list of 27 hotels should be more than suffice for average sized cities, while major cities will have their quota multiplied by 27 for each district that is split off, giving them a huge potential for accommodation listings. Having said all that, there will always be exceptions, and we should be flexible, but as Cacahuate stated these can be dealt with as and if they arise. WindHorse 09:08, 17 January 2007 (EST)
Me too(tm) to all of the above. However, I'd like to generalize the 7+2 more to apply not to just sleep listings, but pretty much any kind of listing, including restaurants in each price class, nightclubs, what have you. If there are more, then the ones with the worst reviews should get pushed out. Actual see/do attractions, too, should be 'subcategorized' (museums, religious sites, etc) if there are over 7~9 on one page. Jpatokal 12:40, 17 January 2007 (EST)
I think that's a definite goal. I wonder if it would be reasonable to set a rule of thumb for number of hotels (or restaurants, or bars, or total sites to see) based on population of the city, though. Say, a city of less than 100,000 people should be fine with about 5-10 hotels total; a city of 100K to 1M might require about 25-75; and a city over 1M people might require 75-150. Of course, there would be exceptions, as the number of hotels in a city is more likely to be proportional to total tourist traffic than to local population. But setting some rough guidelines based on population might make designing our destination guides a little easier. --evanp 13:48, 17 January 2007 (EST)
Overall I think this is a tricky question, and one that we've fudged for a long time. We simply don't have that many destination guides that have too many listings (Chennai is probably the main example I can think of). My hope has always been that we satisfy the problem two ways: by breaking large cities up into districts, and by applying some consensus discretion to the hotels (or restaurants or bars or whatever) listed. --evanp 13:48, 17 January 2007 (EST)
The number of articles where the lists of accommodation and restaurants is turning into an avalanche is growing. For some cities, breaking the article into districts is a viable solution, but for others it is not. Take, for example, a major tourist city like Florence. Many of the hotels and restaurants are clustered together, and so splitting off districts is of no use. Personally, I think it would be better to reach a decision on this sooner rather than later. Once we are buried, it will be extremely difficult to dig ourselves out (Take a look at Bangalore#Eat). What say others? WindHorse 12:00, 3 July 2007 (EDT)
Agra is another example. I've cleaned up some things there — touting, redundancy, MoS — but don't know the city well enough to tackle the Eat and Sleep sections. They definitely need massive pruning. Pashley 12:43, 3 July 2007 (EDT)
Agra, Florence and Bangalore all have impressive-looking lists, but on closer inspection most of 'em are crap -- "listings" with no address or just a name and address are useless and should be culled with a heavy hand. Many Florence listings are also borderline or over-the-top touty.
That said, the problem you raise is going to eventually crop up no matter how high we put the bar for listings. I think that every subsection should at the end of the day conform to the 7+/-2 rule (that is, no more than 9 Budget restaurants or 9 Splurge hotels), and if there are too many listings that are OK in appearance and content, we just need to start coldly deleting those places that suck or aren't as good. Some kind of "Click for more!" thingy for optionally showing the rest would be nice, but I don't see the wikimagic necessary happening anytime soon. Jpatokal 12:46, 3 July 2007 (EDT)
Just caught on to this topic. I confess I was guilty of just plastering up listings here as a newbie. Those articles look rather silly to me now. I was led to believe the future might bring some sort of wiki-rating system as a further guide. I think if you limit the number of listings to (say) 9, you will get to the point where there will have to be a decision as to what is "better" enough to replace incumbent listings. Please don't make it a "votes for replacement scenario". And, if not that, who will decide? As it stands now, deletion of listings is supposed to require an explanation. Can that explanation be as simple as "I decided these places are not worthy?."? If so, then it'll lead to merchant edit wars. OldPine 14:07, 3 July 2007 (EDT)
As Old Pine states, it won't be easy to regulate a limit, but I cannot see any other way to prevent the articles from being overwhelmed by listings. Therefore, I propose setting up a policy along the lines of Jpatokal's suggestion: that every subsection conform to the 7+/-2 rule (that is, no more than 9 Budget restaurants or 9 Splurge hotels). Contributors that want to add a new listing that is above that number will need to remove a already listed place and state their reasons for doing so. It is not a perfect solution, and it could lead to numerous disputes/discussions regarding which hotel/restaurant is the more deserving. However, a spot for nine listings on each sub-section adds up to a space for 27 hotels/restaurants for each district. That is quite a generous number, and so hopefully disputes will not be too frequent as a result of implementing this or similar policy. WindHorse 00:53, 4 July 2007 (EDT)
I like the proposal that each sub-heading be constrained to 9 listings. One potential pitfall is that the "mid-range" category often covers most of the options available, while there will be 1-2 budget and 1-2 splurge options that are way below/above the pack in terms of price. Also, will this policy kill sub-divisions within the "budget," "mid-range," and "splurge" categories? I added further subdivisions beyond the price categories on Baku#Eat—because there were a lot of restaurants and I thought it would be helpful to group them by cuisine. Baku's a good example of why this policy is a difficult one—the city does not have enough hotels (I think) to justify creating a bunch of district articles, but it is a great restaurant city and has a lot of options that I think should be covered by our guide. --Peter Talk 17:52, 6 July 2007 (EDT)
I'm not sure I like where this is going. It seems fine to create a guideline that having a bunch of hotel listings is a red flag indicating some pruning or re-organization of the list may be in order, but I don't think we should be setting hard limits on listings, otherwise we're setting ourselves up for some fairly ugly edit wars. I don't have a great solution for this issue, although I'm not sure how serious of a problem it really is - are there more than a dozen or so articles right now where too many listings are a problem and there isn't an obvious solution? San Leandro is an article with too many listings that I've been keeping my eye on, and it seems clear that the eventual solution to that one will be to apply the "not a yellow pages" guideline and go through and prune the list to remove some of the chains and the other phone-book style listings. In other cases using the article talk page seems the obvious solution, but simply stopping further edits once we hit some magic number seems like a bad policy to put in place. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:12, 6 July 2007 (EDT)
I don't think having a "hard" limit on listings is a good idea. For a popular destination where hotels frequently fill up during the busy season, it's going to be common for the nine "best" hotels in a given price range to fill up, which leaves the Wikitraveler with no recourse except the actual yellow pages. In such places there's probably going to be a corresponding surplus of hotels to match, and it makes sense for us to include more of them. For example, Orlando probably should have substantially more hotel listings than Peoria. - Todd VerBeek 18:26, 6 July 2007 (EDT)
Agree -- strongly -- with Ryan and Todd. The TTCF principle simply requires these lists to be longer than is aesthetically pleasing, at least in articles for the very popular destinations. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 18:41, 6 July 2007 (EDT)
I took a cut at putting what I think is the consensus here into the actual article text. Please take a look and revise there and/or comment here. Pashley 03:47, 7 July 2007 (EDT)
A very good attempt. Thanks, Pashley. I really appreciate your having taken some action. OldPine 08:27, 7 July 2007 (EDT)
Yes, seconded. As with all Wikitravel policies, it will no doubt get polished and tempered and we will end up with a result different from the original, but you have provided a really good start. Thanks. Its appreciated WindHorse 08:36, 7 July 2007 (EDT)
I agree with many of the conclusions of this discussion. As Todd has correctly stated, limiting a list of hotels in places like Orlando would be doing the traveler a disservice, especially at peak season when the 9 listed budget hotels are full. Likewise, I support Ryan's view that it would be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to maintain a constant list of nine places, and that doing so would very possibly incite constant edit wars among travelers who are unable to agree which of two almost identical B&Bs or motels should complete a list of nine. Also, as Peter said, it is very likely that there will be heavy pressure on Budget and Mid range lists, while Splurge remains empty or contains just one or two listings. However, in the part of the world I am most familiar with - Asia - there are literally hundreds of small eateries crammed into a few down town blocks, which translates into thousands of such places in a major city. Of course, the majority of these won't make it to Wikitravel (especially in in places like Japan or Taiwan where the residents are not so fluent in English), but there is the potential that over time many will, especially in India. Having a huge amount of eateries listed, even if that amounts to several hundred, is an option if each is accompanied with a useful critique. However, psychologists have proven that although people desire greater choice, in reality they are happier when presented with a few well chosen items. Lonely Planet and Rough Guide have a good understanding of this, and one of their strengths is that that they offer the reader a limited number of tested and tried options (see end for citation). Obviously, the weakness of this system is that it tends to create traveler tastes rather than respond to them. Anyway, I am not trying to shift the discussion towards any particular conclusion. I also have strong reservations about imposing a hard limit on listings, though knowing the situation in Asia, I also have concerns that articles for cities from Tokyo to Bangalore are going to lose their vitality and be dragged down by enormously long lists. I don't have the answer, though perhaps Ryan's suggestion (which Pashley has already added to the policy) is the most practical: 'to apply the "not a yellow pages" guideline and go through and prune the list to remove some of the chains and the other phone-book style listings'. Anyway, just throwing some thoughts into the pot... WindHorse 04:16, 7 July 2007 (EDT) Citation: "There’s so much information out there that people want somebody to discriminate for them," said Michael Spring, publisher of Frommer’s Travel Guides, a division of John Wiley & Sons Inc. "We’re not doing anyone a favor to list 100 places. You want someone to say this is better than that." The philosophy extends to the guidebooks’ Web sites. Lonely Planet Publications Inc. has a lively online forum for discussions about everything travel, but when it comes to reviews, the publisher wants readers to respond only to items written by professional writers. "That’s who we are, and people look to us for that impartial review," said Brice Gosnell, Lonely Planet’s publisher for the Americas.
I still think the best gauge of whether a particular place merits its own destination article is "can you sleep there". To my mind that would mean that if a destination has too many sleep listings then it's propably time to consider making district articles for that destination with the correct number of sleep listings for each district article. -- Mark 06:52, 7 July 2007 (EDT)
Yeah, that a good idea where possible, but in sea-side resorts, for example, most of the hotels and restaurants are all clustered in one district along the seafront. Historical cities also often have most of their restaurants and accommodation options located together in an area close to the attractions. In those cases, splitting an article into districts is not a viable solution. However, it might work for a large commercial city. WindHorse 07:42, 7 July 2007 (EDT)

The "resort-city" problem

Well, thanks for trying, Sandy, but to be frank, this still doesn't address my main concern: the substantial body of very appealing, non-huge-city travel destinations -- one might call them "resort cities," although they need be neither resorts nor cities -- where the large number of viable lodging options per capita, and the relative homogeneity of those options, militate against short lists. We really need some language that accommodates the listings for such places, and I don't think we've fully reached a consensus on what that language should be, so rather than trial-and-error our way through edits to the project page itself, more discussion, please? -- Bill-on-the-Hill 12:49, 7 July 2007 (EDT)

I'm the only one who has edited that section of the project page so far. I think of it as a work-in-progress and would rather plunge forward with edits there than continue this already very long discussion. I think it is important to have at least approximately correct text there to guide new editors, even if we are still working out details here. I just did some edits including a section on what I called "tourist towns". Do they address your concern? Pashley 21:47, 7 July 2007 (EDT)
There is a reverse problem, if we extend this sort of policy to other types of listings. Large cities way off the beaten track with little tourist infrastructure often lack enough hotels to justify districts, but have a lot of restaurants and nightclubs throughout the city that are worth exploring. Evan's comment suggesting we target a certain number of listings for cities of a certain size reminded me of Russia's near infinite supply of cities over 100,000 that match this description. --Peter Talk 22:09, 7 July 2007 (EDT)
I took a stab at making some updates to indicate that long lists are bad, but lots of listings are not necessarily bad. I think that sentiment applies to more than just hotels, so this section may not necessarily be appropriate for just the accommodation listing page. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:32, 7 July 2007 (EDT)
Hey, Ryan, thanks for your efforts. I'm sure there will be more polishing, but I think we are definitely getting there. WindHorse 22:53, 7 July 2007 (EDT)

Picking winners

I can't agree with the general guideline of 3-6 listings per section, or with a limit of 9; I think I prefer general exhortations to clearly distinguish listings from each other by categorizing and describing them. There are some advantages to lengthy listings sections. My Lonesome Shmanet guide to Turkey "picked winners" in Istanbul, and this directed a flood of tourists to these few "winning" establishments. The ever clever Turkish owners of these listings realized what happened, plastered their guidebook endorsements over the windows, cut costs on everything, and raised prices through the roof. My hope is that Wikitravel will eventually grow so big and sophisticated that it will displace most commercial guides and, if so, we should expect similar problems if we are trying to pick winners. I prefer to have long, but well organized listings that tell me what is different about a given hotel, so I can make up my own mind about which is a "winner." --Peter Talk 22:11, 7 July 2007 (EDT)

Yes, I agree. Rewarding a few hotels among the many tends to create traveler tastes rather than respond to them, and this is no more apparent than in India, where the hoteliers have taken the situation a step further than those in Turkey. In Varanasi, for example, it is not uncommon to have several hotels and restaurants called something like 'Ghat View' or 'Om Restaurant'. This is because a well known guide book listed places with these names, and so other guest houses changed their names accordingly to cash in on the free advertisement. However, the alternative in a city like Varanasi would be to have a list that conceivable runs into hundreds for both guest houses and eateries. Anyway, in general, it seems that the consensus is flowing towards keeping all listings, and using the "non-telephone directory policy” (ie. to remove listings that are not accompanied with a 'useful/helpful' comment) as a means of pruning, and not to add any numerical restrictions at all. Is that the way others interpret it? I'm just trying to clarify here, and not making a point as such. WindHorse 22:49, 7 July 2007 (EDT)
I don't think it's a good idea to set a hard-limit, but I also think it is a bad idea to create a policy that leaves no flexibility if we end up with a city article containing a hundred listings. The discussion thus far seems to be that valid approaches to handling long lists are:
  • Sub-dividing the lists into categories (Budget, Mid-range, Splurge, or whatever).
  • Splitting city articles into districts when appropriate.
  • Pruning phone book entries when lists get long.
  • When necessary, using the talk page as a way of deciding how to approach the problem.
In your Varanasi example I could see a talk page discussion leading to the replacement of fifty indistinguishable guest house listings with a paragraph that states something to the effect of "if you go to the area around X there are fifty guest houses of similar quality with rooms available for Y rupees per night". The "discuss it on the talk page" solution should hopefully be a rare case, and when used it will probably be specific to each destination - for a different city the best solution might be to just list all 50 guest houses. In any case I think it's important that whatever policy is put in place provides a useful guideline for the common case but doesn't limit our options for corner-cases. I think we're getting there, albeit at wiki-speed. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:25, 7 July 2007 (EDT)
Yeah, I support the idea of directing travelers to an area where there are many guest houses, though, of course, there will be no phone numbers for people who wish to reserve in advance. Still, if the guest houses are clustered together, traipsing around to find an empty room should not be a problem. As for long restaurant lists, I wonder if in addition to making divisions according to price range, there could also be provision for further sub-divisions according to cuisine. This would be easier on the eye and add a convenience for people to locate a specific kind of restaurant. The current destination of the month article uses this method: Swansea#Eat, though, of course, this is only applicable for articles that have long lists. WindHorse 00:33, 8 July 2007 (EDT)
I like the current policy revisions a lot. I have made one change to emphasize that the price divisions should always be used to match the Wikitravel:Manual of Style, and that other categories should be subdivisions of the main price categories. --Peter Talk 01:10, 8 July 2007 (EDT)
I agree. The flow is beginning to slowly take a positive form. Thanks, Ryan, for compiling the essential points so succinctly. Regarding sub-divisions of the main price range categories, I hadn't even realized that we had a policy. Anyway, Peter's additions makes it much clearer. Thanks. WindHorse 01:38, 8 July 2007 (EDT)
I don't think there is a policy, and I'm not really happy about allowing any sort of arbitrary subdivision. First level should definitely be price, that much we can all agree on, but the second level should be type of lodging, eg. camping vs youth hostel or apartment rental vs hotel. I can see the argument for splitting by location instead, but in most larger cities that's already taken care of by listings. "Season" or "style" seem a little odd and, I dare say, useless. Jpatokal 02:26, 8 July 2007 (EDT)
Well there is a policy in making, which by merely clicking on the 'diff' rather than looking at the whole page, I mistakenly thought to be part of an established former policy. Actually, I'm loosing the thread and need to read the whole discussion again and see the amendments in context. My apologies for confusing the issue. Anyway, what are your suggestions? Remove all the sub-divisions below price ranking divisions except for type of lodging? I can support that for accommodation. However, I still believe that allowing the price categories to be further broken into cuisine sub-divisions for restaurants is helpful when there are long lists. WindHorse 02:49, 8 July 2007 (EDT)

Confusing examples

I list the existing style guide below. This confused me when I first started here, and I see it confusing others. Based on CJensen's hotelmaker, I decided that parens and double quotes for italics are not used around email and fax numbers, but some users end up concluding they are to be entered that way. The Project page gives an example which shows no listing of fax or email, so it does not clarify how the "other contact" info is to be formatted.


Accommodation listings should be of the form below:

  • Name of Place, Address (extra directions if necessary), phone number (email, fax, other contact if possible), [8]. Days and times open. One to three sentences about the service, atmosphere, view, rooms, what have you. $lowprice-$highprice (extra price info).

Here's the wiki markup:

*'''Name of Place''', Address (''extra directions if necessary''), phone number (''email, fax, other contact if possible''), [http://www.hotel.example.com/]. Days and times open. One to three sentences about the service, atmosphere, view, rooms, what have you. $lowprice-$highprice (''extra price info'').


At the very least, the example listing which follows the above should give all possible information for the listing. Possibly the markup example could be changed to clarify as well. Possibly the tel:, fax:, email: labels should be added. The formats for these are all over the map right now. I hope I'm not being too anal about this, but it seems important in view of the possibility of changing it all to tag listings, for consistent styling, and to avoid users re-editing each other in an endless loop. Note that other listing help for restaurants, bars, activities have the same ambiguity and missing example detail.. OldPine 07:43, 13 September 2006 (EDT)

Y'know what? Nevermind. The listings are in such a state of flux that I just give up. We apparently are switching from AM to am, etc. and there are obviously much bigger fish being fried than my minor concerns. I'm not MoSing anything until the new tag thing is settled and clear. OldPine 16:35, 13 September 2006 (EDT)
I've left a message for Colin asking that we harmonize the accommodation listings format. Right now, his hotelmaker doesn't follow the format on this MoS page. If there's a good reason for it, we should change the guideline. --Evan 16:43, 13 September 2006 (EDT)
All the star articles are wrong -- even the ones I never edited. To me this means that formatting just isn't going to happen right, so I don't think we should worry about fixing that old-and-busted way of doing things. The only way we can get the formatting right is if you implement the new hotness <sleep> tag.
If you could just fix the URL formatting, I'd say we should immediately switch over to using sleep tags and worry about the details of the HTML formatting later. -- Colin 03:25, 17 September 2006 (EDT)

Budget/mid range/ splurge?

Swept in from the Pub:

This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under 10¢
Mid-range 10¢-$100
Splurge Hock a kidney


Just noticed someone shifting a hotel listing around on the Preston article based purely on what quality it is. I know that hotels are arranged price wise, but what are the borders for budget/mid/splurge? I can't find it in Wikitravel:Accomodation_listings! -- Tim 09:23, 2 August 2006 (EDT)

They're what an article writer says they are, and correctly so. A dollar figure that gets you something "mid-range" in city A, representative of "middle America," may get you something incredibly lavish in a third-world city, and may get you a bunk with a broken lightbulb in Moscow. The important thing is that the articles on the respective cities define what Budget, Mid-range and Splurge mean for that city. The existing templates, etc., do a poor job of conveying this; let me take a crack at it. As for the Preston article, edit wars happen everywhere ... -- Bill-on-the-Hill 09:34, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
BTW, I suggested Template:Eatpricerange a while ago to make the limits clearer. If adopted, obviously the same idea can and should be extended to places to sleep. Jpatokal 09:38, 2 August 2006 (EDT)

Definition of highprice/lowprice

I think the "highprice-lowprice" system is confusing to the point of meaningless (high price of what, the presidential suite?), and we should just standardize on giving the rack rate for a double room. Everything else changes quickly, but rack rates don't, and are useful for comparisons. Jpatokal 09:55, 3 December 2006 (EST)

They are useful comparisons, but budget travelers want to know what the cheapest option is, and someone willing to splurge may want to know what a/c and cable tv will cost. I kinda prefer to write more info like: Rs 75 for a single with shared squat toilets, Rs 500 for a plush double with cable tv and attached bath - than Rooms Rs 75-500... though I guess both are sometimes appropriate... | Cacahuate 03:57, 16 January 2007 (EST)

recommended order within Sleep section?

What order is recommended to use in listings in Sleep section within single budget? Are there any general considerations except Alphabetic-Is-Better-Than-Nothing? --DenisYurkin 20:15, 6 January 2007 (EST)

I tend to think Alphabetical since it (a) prevents touts from putting their hotel at the top of the list, (b) it's a simple criteria that requires little thought and (c) a bot could we written to keep them in order. Does anyone have any reasons for going a different way with this? -- Colin 21:15, 6 January 2007 (EST)
Well, when I'm adding 3 or 4 myself I put them in the order that I think they should be visited (as LP does), or sometimes in order of price (usually with smaller locations if I'm not using budget/midrange/splurge subheadings. In the Splurge category I would put the obviously most splurge-worthy at the top. But yes, obviously there will be differences of opinion, so maybe alphabetical is the best way... | Cacahuate 03:48, 16 January 2007 (EST)

Hotel Classification

swept in from the pub

When tourists choose hotel for their holiday, the first thing they are looking for is the location of the hotel. If a hotel is slightly more expensive than other hotels, but have a good location, the tourist will choose to stay in the hotel. My suggestion: beside the price, use the hotel's location/district/sub-district/zip code for classification of hotels.

  • Zip codes and sub-districts would likely be meaningless to most travellers. For large cities, the hotels are already listed by district. Within a district or a small city, maps can give location information, and comments like "very central", "next to the train station" or "near the beach" are useful in hotel listings, but I do not see the point of using location as a classification scheme. Pashley 10:13, 19 September 2006 (EDT)

individual apartment vs pure agency

We have an interesting precedent in Budapest and Budapest/Pest:

I removed the agency itself, basing on Wikitravel:Accommodation listings#Apartment listings. How is it better to proceed with the individual apartment? --DenisYurkin 14:08, 19 February 2007 (EST)

*BUMP* :-) --DenisYurkin 04:08, 23 February 2007 (EST)

approaching user insisting on extlinks

I just encountered edits by user who insists on adding links to his booking engine for accommodation in Hungary cities, see Special:Contributions/Szaboz. What's the best way to explain it's not encouraged here at Wikitravel? --DenisYurkin 04:43, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

See also: Special:Contributions/213.253.196.50. --DenisYurkin 05:15, 1 April 2007 (EDT)
How about specifically Wikitravel:External links#What not to link to and generally Wikitravel:External links? WindHorse 06:42, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

Too many cabins

The Pigeon Forge article has way too many cabin listings. Since I've never been to the town, let alone rent a cabin there, I haven't been able to come up with a good way to reduce the number of listings. Every cabin rental company has a physical office and allows rentals of less than one week. There are currently almost 30 entries, and I'm sure there's more to come. I would personally like to reduce this number to zero. On the PF website there are 60 cabin rental companies, and I would just prefer to direct people there instead of having all of these, but I know that's against WT's goals to direct users to other websites/guides. Help! -- Fastestdogever 11:47, 30 April 2007 (EDT)

From what I can gather from their websites, a lot of these listings are not for one cabin / condo place but for web services that allow you to search through different, individual, cabin rental options. For example [9] vs [10]. I'd say the first one is a web service and the second one is an accommodation. It's a little tricky to distinguish, but the big hint is if their website talks about how to search their large number of listings? (probably a web service).
Since the list needs to be whittled down one way or another, I'll take a stab at it.
Oh, and as for the link to other websites/guides-- we can link to Open Directory, which has a subcategory for Real Estate. Maj 08:04, 1 May 2007 (EDT)

Standardizing on rack rates for hotels

I've suggested this before, but I'm going to suggest it again: for hotels, we should standardize on listing the rack rate. It's easy to find (eg. punch in your favorite city into http://wotif.com and it'll show you the rack rate for all hotels it knows about) and it's the only constant in a world of ever-changing prices, allowing fairly good comparison of hotel quality. Eg. if hotel A has a rack of $400 and hotel B is rack $200, but if the reader finds hotel A discounted to $200 this week only, then he knows A's a steal this week. If we list these both as "$200" then this info is lost, and the info stops being accurate as soon as A's promo ends. Jpatokal 03:51, 31 May 2007 (EDT)

I don't think it's a terrible idea, but I just don't think it applies widely enough to matter... maybe for Splurge, and a few mid-range places, but there's so many variables. What about so many mid-range/budget place across Asia? And in places where bargaining is a must? I often list prices that I know things can be bargained down to, in India for instance... so that if I say a room costs Rs200 and someone is quoted Rs400 that either the price has gone up or they need to negotiate it down. And if there are many options, I'd rather give more info than just a standard one price on a double bed. If they've got singles for $10, and doubles from $15-45 (say most are $30, but there's some cheapies for $15, and some for $45 with a nice lake view), I'd rather have all that info than just writing $30 for a standard double. Maybe I'm missing what you're saying, but I don't see how we can standardize something that is so, not standard :) – cacahuate talk 15:44, 31 May 2007 (EDT)
But bargaining works only when supply is higher than demand: if you show up in Haridwar during the Kumbh Mela, good luck getting a hotel even at the rack rate! I think it'd be more useful to list the rack rates for hotels, and then note if there's a general low season when discounts/bargaining is possible. And yes, if the hotel has wildly different accommodation types, then those should all be listed (eg. many hostels have both dorms and private rooms). Jpatokal 22:38, 31 May 2007 (EDT)

more details than 1-3 sentences per establishment

I have a case to challenge "1-3 sentences per establishment" requirement for hotels: see the reduction of listings in Ia, as performed by OldPine.

I understand the original idea that listings should be short and concise: to help with the choice, not to overwhelm with details; to keep the page balanced without bias to any specific establishment; etc. However, I am one of those (few?) who pay much attention to choosing accommodation. For Ia in particular, many couples head there for their honeymoon trip, and that makes their choice twice as sensitive.

I can provide reasoning for why I feel every piece of information is useful, that's why I ask for help with "where to stick it". I don't like the idea with Extra good here, as most of info removed is quite objective and fair, not just emotional personal experiences. Technically I can move such details to something like "Santorini for a honeymoon", but this information is also useful for regular travellers.

How would wikitravellers recommend to proceed with this? --DenisYurkin 16:43, 13 July 2007 (EDT)

I'd think we could stray over 3 lines if necessary. But some of the information in your listing isn't useful to people trying to decide whether to stay there - that the hotel expanded between 2001 and 2005, for example, wouldn't really factor into my decision as a traveler, nor do we need to list all five phone numbers of the hotel. How many of those numbers is the traveler going to call? It may seem like OldPine removed a lot, but his edit preserved the elements that I think are necessary to a traveler. Sometimes, it's possible to say more with fewer words. Gorilla Jones 17:36, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
I have some theory on accommodation info in general :-) In my experience, there are 3 stages of dealing with a hotel, with different information required at each stage. First is to choose a right hotel; second is to book it and plan your visit in advance; third is aimed at helping with your stay upon arrival.
For 1st stage you need recommendations and overall feedback; for 2nd you need room types information (which is always hard to get from hotel staff, only from reviews and fellow travellers), details on business hours and full account of facilities and services (some of which are not listed on a web site, others in reality does not match description, yet others you can hardly think of before arriving). For the 3rd stage you are looking for how to make most of your stay--including swimming pools, sports, books, internet access; asking for non-obvious options and help.
My second point is that travelers are different, as are their trips. Some are concerned about internet and DVDs for evening time, others care about traveling with children, yet others travel with their pets or mountain bikes. People go for business trips; romantic weekends; honeymoons or their gap year. Trying to help every imaginable traveler can not fit into 1-3 sentences. Focusing only on "general traveler" asks that specific types to look for information for their specific needs elsewhere on Web--and thus diverts their help on improving the "general-purpose" content at Wikitravel.
Third, unlike traditional travel guides we have enough space to accommodate every detail one can imagine, once we know how to deal with them. The simplest solution for this is to create a dedicated page for a hotel once we have too much info to fit into listings format--similar to large airports or airlines; and see how it works. Actually, this is the way to deal with accommodation details that I vote for.
As for specific questions from Gorilla Jones:
  • the hotel expanded between 2001 and 2005 gives an idea of how popular it is, whether advertisements or reputation was the reason. Of course, I would appreciate a better way of stating this idea--in addition to saying how much it has expanded, which I already understand.
  • nor do we need to list all five phone numbers of the hotel. How many of those numbers is the traveler going to call? Once a traveler got serious reasons to choose Fanari, he can reasonably spend some time to get in touch with it--and several phone numbers will help in that, not get in the way.
Thanks for giving inspiration for writing such a detailed reasoning :-) --DenisYurkin 17:13, 15 July 2007 (EDT)
I think the long-term plan is that listings will be linked to Extra, where people can enter full-length reviews of hotels. Jpatokal 00:15, 14 July 2007 (EDT)
Jpatokal, how would you recommend to publish non-personal objective stuff like the one I had for Fanari before Extra's format will allow full-length reviews of hotels? I do believe that even if I am the only one ready to invest efforts into full-lengths, it's worth doing rather than waiting (hopefully I will succeed explaining my point here).
BTW, why does the strategy gives future for full-lengths at Extra, not at Wikitravel itself? --DenisYurkin 15:57, 15 July 2007 (EDT)
Full-length reviews are personal. The idea is that Wikitravel has the basics ("bar, pool, renovated in 2004") and Extra has the reviews ("Bob the bartender mixes great martinis, but when we were there the neighboring family's kid peed in the pool, and the paisley bedspreads are so 1970s").
Your full-length review, too, is personal. "Bar not seen working, at least in a daytime." "notebook upon request (not tried so far;"... Jpatokal 22:16, 15 July 2007 (EDT)
I bet I can make the text totally impersonal--will it make their length acceptable?
Aren't level of detail and degree of personalism totally independent to each other in a review? --DenisYurkin 16:30, 16 July 2007 (EDT)
So, I basically object to really long descriptions on two grounds. One, the longer the description, the more your point of view creeps in and the harder it is to make it neutral. Denis, I'm sure you can make a 100% neutral long description if you try, but can most Wikitravellers? And two, I don't think having very long descriptions is a good thing even if they are neutral. The added value is poor if you're not staying there, and it looks funny if one place out of ten has a loooooooong listing and the rest don't.
Again, my ideal is that the description is enough to make you think "gee, that sounds interesting", and then you can go read full-length reviews on Extra (in the future) or TripAdvisor etc (right now). But I'd like to hear a few other views. Jpatokal 23:19, 16 July 2007 (EDT)
I also think shorter is better... I hate to say a listing can only be a certain length, I'd rather it be based on how relavent the info is... but it would be a special case that would really need a lengthy description. The point isn't to describe every detail about a place, but to touch on the key points that make a place unique, etc. Most people wouldn't really care that they "have 5 chaise lounges", that they give out "free notebooks on request, but that you haven't personally experienced that yet", that they have a wedding album of guests who've been married there behind the front desk, or that the staff is dressed in white. It also helps to keep sentences short and concise... use as few words as possible to convey your point: "Ask for 10% internet discount; no cases of receiving greater discount known so far." could be "Price=$5, ask for 10% internet discount". The things that OldPine left are the things that people might really want to know before going, that will tell them if it's a place they want to stay or not. Self-catering kitchen is good to know... bar, pool, etc is good to know. A short blurb about it being priced as 5 star but not to expect 5 star is good to know. – cacahuate talk 01:31, 17 July 2007 (EDT)
I agree that for "what to choose" we should have a concise description. However, I find it similar to districts in a huge city (or even cities in a country): we have a short summary of districts on a huge city page (or a summary of key cities in a country) to be able to choose what to consider for your trip. However, once you made your mind, you dive into details on it to work out in every aspect of your stay--ideally, staying within wikitravel. And this structure looks natural for us, it works and it helps travelers. How individual hotels are different in this perspective? Why can't we have a separate page within Wikitravel for objective and impersonal details of hotel once we know too much details on it to fit a short description, and refer to that pages from listings? --DenisYurkin 14:42, 22 July 2007 (EDT)
BUMP --DenisYurkin 02:19, 8 August 2007 (EDT)
Because it isn't really necessary to spell out every little detail about a hotel to travelers... tell them what they need to know to decide if it's the right place for them... and it's a rare case that you can't touch upon the important details in 1-3 sentences. Do any of the major guidebook printers devote entire pages to hotel descriptions? No... and I don't think it's an issue of space... but more that it just isn't necessary. Why is a hotel different than a city district? Size for one. Are there multiple museums, parks, restaurants, shopping and nightlife options all contained within one hotel? Not usually. What could you possibly need to describe about a hotel that people really need to know before they get there? Maybe you should write up an example in your sandbox so we can see what you're talking about exactly... I can almost promise you though that I'll be able to hack it down to 3 lines or less without losing any relavent info... that's a friendly challege  ;) – cacahuate talk 00:59, 9 August 2007 (EDT)
cacahuate, I have some draft of what I meant: User:DenisYurkin/Ia/Fanari_Villas. My idea is that page like this (without first paragraph) should be under Ia/Fanari Villas name.
I am not sure yet if all details that are in listings in Ia should be also included into the detailed page, or the page should only complement the short review with further details. --DenisYurkin 08:05, 9 December 2007 (EST)
Back to this discussion, for this specific case I feel that:
1) the following is helpful before you get there:
  • room details (!). It took us tremendous efforts to choose a room for booking remotely for our honeymoon, as staff is not very willing to provide detailed photo of each room. As every room in unique, it would really help if we help a traveller with information on each of them. This is why I saved most critical things that affect choice. Mobile coverage is important for most people able to afford €360 villa. A small church that can be seen only if you live in a specific room is a great feature. "One of the most isolated terraces in the hotel" says for itself. Rooms that overlook sunbath space can be (and can be not) attractive for male travellers, and are definitely unattractive for a just-married couple.
  • 10% Internet discount
  • you can't enjoy the picturesque views of the pool, as it's closed after a sunset (while photos on the site suggest that you can)
  • you can't swim in the pool before 10am (which may be important for those expecting to have early refreshment before breakfast)
  • Jacuzzi is cold-water only, and not always cleaned well--again, the feature mentioned on the site should taken carefully
  • space for sunbaths with umbrellas ~5 chaise-longues -- so you can't have sunbaths if your company is larger (which is normal if your friends celebrate your wedding with you)
2) and the following is not obvious once you are there:
  • The bar near the pool was never seen working, whatever the owners may say.
  • Knowing that there's a large photo album with previous marriages can help a couple considering the place for their marriage to choose whether the personnel will help them appropriately for their own case wedding.
If all these details are consider non-important in the main article (are they?), I will write it in a sandbox as a detailed page for this specific hotel.
As for removal of this:
> expanded in number of rooms and space in them; prices doubled; level of service improved slightly
is it OK to write in the introductory text in Sleep something like "Demand for splurge accommodation is so high that premium hotels doubled their prices through 2000s reaching rates of 5-star hotels, without any serious improvement in service"?
--DenisYurkin 07:32, 1 December 2007 (EST)

Yes, it's fine to write that in the introductory text. As to the rest, the internet discount should be mentioned. You could cover the bar, views, facilities, and pool with the sentence "Some facilities have limited availability, though, and maintenance can be lacking." And then go into specifics on Wikitravel Extra. Gorilla Jones 12:26, 1 December 2007 (EST)

OK, here's my write up then, taking in to consideration what most people would care about...
  • Fanari Villas, +30 2286 071007 / 071008 / 071147 / 071321 (, fax: +30 2286 071235), [11]. checkin: 1PM; checkout: 11:30AM. This hotel made up of around a dozen villas and suites styled as traditional cavehouses features a restaurant and bar (with erratic hours), swimming pool with a shortage of lounge chairs, a cold-water (and sometimes grubby) jacuzzi and sauna, and a fully stocked kitchen including microwave. It's a popular place for celebrating a small wedding, alone or with a few friends... the staff are impeccably dressed in all white, and will leave champagne and fruit in your room to await your arrival. Suite #12 is a good choice for it's secluded and almost private terrace, which has an entrance to St Catherine's Church (only open on Nov 26, Catherine's birthday, but can be unlocked for private viewing on most days if you ask the keeper nicely), and rooms 4 and 6 overlook the sunbathers. Rooms are secure, and there are safes in the suites. Prices may evoke 5 star luxury, but it's more the views, quietness and recent expansion that you're paying for. Season/off-season: two-person villa €310/€260; suite €360/€310, 10% internet discount available.
I read through your sandbox page, and what you wrote above, and I really don't see anything else that really is worth mentioning... and definitely nothing worth changing our site wide policy of no hotel articles to create a subarticle for this one. Is there anything missing from the above description that you're unhappy about? – cacahuate talk 23:26, 9 December 2007 (EST)
Formally it does not fit the 3-sentence (or 3-line) limit, but I must admit that it has almost every important detail mentioned. What about overall text size--doesn't text like this still takes too much space and therefore the Sleep section is still biased to this specific property?
One more thing: personally it's quite difficult for me to squeeze all the facts that I have in hand into such a dense text. Is it the right thing to ask the community to help in squeezing in similar cases? If so, I would encourage contributors through this policy page to seek help if they find it difficult to do themselves. Objections? --DenisYurkin 17:31, 15 December 2007 (EST)
BUMP --DenisYurkin 14:36, 6 January 2008 (EST)
I find Cacahuate's version above just fine. It is more than three sentences, but that's OK. Of course there are details that could be quibbled over, but basically it is what we need. Pashley 23:56, 9 December 2007 (EST)

revisit: details on all-inclusive ClubMed

Discussion moved to the Pub; will be returned here when we reach some consensus.

apartment agencies criteria

How do we practically check the criteria for apartment agencies?

For example, we have several agencies in Barcelona#Apartments which each provided with some physical address. How can we check that they really exist in that address? And how do we check that these lodgings are not available directly from the owner? --DenisYurkin 17:54, 27 September 2007 (EDT)

BUMP. --DenisYurkin 05:42, 10 November 2007 (EST)
Check their website. See if there are any conflicting reports on the web. Then assume good faith (i.e. assume they're telling the truth unless you have reason to believe otherwise). I believe that's enshrined in Wikitravel policy somewhere. Gorilla Jones 12:30, 1 December 2007 (EST)
I think it's perfectly reasonable to expect a genuine non-aggregator to show their address and 'phone number on their website, and as it seems the only people adding these listings are the agencies themselves, it seems perfectly reasonable to require that the address and 'phone number be included in the listing. See this update: Wikitravel:Accommodation listings#Apartment listings ~ 203.144.143.4 02:20, 22 December 2007 (EST)

non-exclusive apartment agencies

Should we prune out apartment agencies which explicitly declare that they work with owners on non-exclusive basis (i.e. allow property owner to work with multiple agencies at once)? Doesn't this a clear indicator that they just seek a commission for extra promotion of properties, but not add any other value? My example in hand is Azul Barcelona apartments, but I am quite sure that if we add this criteria, it will help a bit with pruning out agencies around Wikitravel.

Opinions? --DenisYurkin 13:25, 8 November 2007 (EST)

BUMP. --DenisYurkin 05:42, 10 November 2007 (EST)
I thought that non-exclusive was already prohibited, but now I can't find exactly where I read that. I've been working on the basis that if the same property is available via more than one agency, then those agencies are aggregators and should be zapped. ~ 203.144.143.4 01:57, 22 December 2007 (EST)
I would support adding this criteria, but I'd like to hear what other wikitravelers think. --DenisYurkin 16:51, 22 December 2007 (EST)

nearest attractions

In flowery descriptions we frequently see added by business owners, we frequently see a long list of nearest attractions and a wordy characteristics of the quarter the property is in. Do we have any reasons for allowing it in some cases, or we can say it is not recommended in most cases? --DenisYurkin 17:36, 15 December 2007 (EST)

My feeling is that those things are not recommended to be included. They should be covered by us under See and Do already. A line indicating that the business is "convenient to many attractions" is certainly OK. Either way, if it were important to the traveller to be near something he most likely would confirm it via a map anyways. OldPine 17:02, 22 December 2007 (EST)
Then I would recommend to business owners adding their properties something like: "instead of writing a long flowery description of the many attractions near the property, contribute detailed lat-long coordinates of your property--it will be much more helpful for a traveler choosing a place to stay." -- and link to instructions to adding lat-long coordinates, if we already have one (do we?). Opinions? --DenisYurkin 07:37, 23 December 2007 (EST)
Plunged forward: Wikitravel:Accommodation listings#Avoid listing nearest attractions. Please edit further/comment. --DenisYurkin 06:47, 6 February 2008 (EST)
No, sorry, I find that wording incomprehensible and the suggestion to add coordinates unhelpful (c'mon, does even the most fanatical hotel owner know that?). I also think "convenient to many attractions" is too vague to be useful. Any directions should be clear: near the airport, 5 min on foot to the Leaning Tower, 10 min by car to the Grand Canyon. Jpatokal 12:11, 9 February 2008 (EST)
(re this edit: [12])
Jani, it's pity that you didn't join this discussion earlier, before I edited the guidelines :-) --but never mind.
In my understanding, this is exactly what we discussed above.
It's difficult to judge for us wikitravel editors how much is true that a location is "near" to a train station (is 30min walk really near? some will definitely insist that it is). And it's difficult for traveler to choose from many hotels promising that they are near train station, or very close to downtown, or just a stone's throw from a central square (how long can be a stone's throw?), or just a one metro station from X. Neither it's too helpful to read "close to (or even: 5 min on foot to) the Gothic quarter and the city's best shopping streets".
Yes, I know that some hotels do know their coordinates (several in Morocco, for example). And if they are not too fanatical--can we provide a tool for finding out their coordinates? Isn't recommendation to find their property on Google Maps (or other web-based maps) will be in line with their (and our) licenses? Are there any other way to help them find their coordinates? --DenisYurkin 13:39, 10 February 2008 (EST)
BUMP. --DenisYurkin 15:53, 18 February 2008 (EST)
Also, added a template for welcoming new users: Wikitravel:Welcome message. --DenisYurkin 03:23, 9 February 2008 (EST)
Peter also added a similar notice into Don't tout. --DenisYurkin 18:18, 4 May 2009 (EDT)
The problem with "convenient to many attractions" is that, unlike a normal guide, there is no way to check if that is true or not. I suggest we just don't allow any such statements.--Wandering 09:07, 23 December 2007 (EST)
This is why I propose the above recommendation to business owners:
>instead of writing a long flowery description of the many attractions near the property, contribute detailed lat-long coordinates of your property--it will be much more helpful for a traveler choosing a place to stay
Is it in line with your opinion? --DenisYurkin 08:19, 9 January 2008 (EST)

proposal #2

OK, what about the following?

  1. lat-long coordinates is the first thing we ask business owners--it's much more wanted here than long list of nearby attractions
  2. if nearby attractions are listed, distance should be clearly stated, and measured in (kilo)meters, not minutes of walk / driving / whatever
  3. no more than one nearest attraction is allowed (updated 05-03-2009)
  4. vague terms like "close to", "near" etc should be avoided

Jani, please comment too ;-) --DenisYurkin 14:25, 26 October 2008 (EDT)

I tried the above rules when describing 2 hotels in Vienna. Kms as a mesurement for "close to key attractions looks very good for myself; "only one nearest attraction" seems not enough, but I don't have a good alternative right now.
Any objections on adding the above to the article, without #3 for now? --DenisYurkin 19:56, 1 February 2010 (EST)

Apartment listings - 'phone number & address requirement

Wikitravel:Accommodation listings#Apartment listings currently says:

1. The agency must have a 'real world' office with a phone number and address where the keys will be picked up.

Any objections to changing that to:-

1. The agency must have a 'real world' office with a phone number and address where the keys will be picked up, and that information must be included in the listing.

~ 203.144.143.4 01:22, 22 December 2007 (EST)

Agree and done. But give others a chance to chime in for a few days before your break out your machete. -- Colin 01:24, 22 December 2007 (EST)
Thanks. Had an afterthought and I've taken the liberty of revising it slightly, I think the purpose is obvious.
1. The agency must have a 'real world' office with a phone number and address where the keys will be picked up, and that information must be included in the Wikitravel listing and on the agency website.
~ 203.144.143.4 01:47, 22 December 2007 (EST)
I like these changes very much. --OldPine 08:57, 22 December 2007 (EST)
Definitely support. --DenisYurkin 16:43, 22 December 2007 (EST)

Apartment Listings: Location & physical address requirement

A couple of questions:

1. Physical address where the key will be picked up. Often the owner of the house meets the traveler at the house to hand over the keys and explain how things work. Also, the larger agencies (www.parkervillas.com, for example) may have one office in the entire country (Italy). Does that mean that they can't be listed? --Wandering 10:33, 11 January 2008 (EST)

2. "Must be in a location where travellers frequently rent cabins/apartments" What if the company rents countrywide? Should a listing be allowed in the country article (Italy for parkervillas) or should the listing be included only in specific articles (Tuscany, Umbria, Calabria, Sicily, etc.)? My preference is for the latter approach - keeps the country page clean.--Wandering 10:33, 11 January 2008 (EST)

In each of these cases, I think the guidelines imply that the agency should not be listed. I think that's reasonable. Something this generic is as useful as putting a link to the Hilton web site in the United States article. (Hmm, the links to the nationwide chains in that article could probably be excised.) --Jonboy 15:39, 4 February 2008 (EST)

Time Shares?

So, how does Wikitravel handle time share rentals? I have rented in Las Vegas and Edisto Island a few times. All were pleasant experiences. Far less expensive than owning and much better than a hotel room! Is it a "travel topic", should they be added under "sleep"? 2old 11:39, 13 July 2007 (EDT)

It could be a travel topic. It is not a sleep entry -- see the "Apartment listings" section of Wikitravel:Accommodation listings for the guidelines which currently govern whether or not to include a particular place in sleep. -- Colin 16:17, 14 July 2007 (EDT)
I had read the part about "rentals of less than one week", so I see your point about "Sleep". I am not an advocate of "buying", but renting is a good alternative. For the time being, I will add it to requested articles. Thanks. 2old 15:35, 16 July 2007 (EDT)

describing camping

Do we have any de-facto standards on describing camping in listings? Specifically, how is it better to present prices like these: [13]? --DenisYurkin 16:16, 3 August 2008 (EDT)

I don't see it as different than a hotel complex with many different types of room. -- Colin 02:42, 4 August 2008 (EDT)

Star/Diamond ratings

Swept in from the Pub:

Do we have guidelines on whether or not to list star (or AAA Diamond) ratings in hotel listings? See, for example, this edit and this edit. LtPowers 11:28, 15 September 2008 (EDT)

  • I do not know of any guideline on that; my suggestion would be not to use them, since they vary too much in different areas. An alternative might be to use them where we can be very specific like "rated 4 stars by Mobil Travel Guide", but there may be copyright issues with that, it would entail extra work, and I think there's a slippery slope leading to "rated by the Elbonian Ministry of Tourism". There's discussion of ratings at Hotels#Star_ratings and an article on Rating_systems. Pashley 00:28, 16 September 2008 (EDT)

38.105.67.2 and Hyatt listings

Swept in from the Pub:

User:38.105.67.2's rate of adding new Hyatt hotel listings (most seemingly copied from their web sites) is accelerating and I'm having trouble keeping up. Is everyone boycotting the site over the stupid ad kerfuffle? LtPowers 17:32, 16 September 2008 (EDT)

I'm not seeing a problem -- the listings need some detouting as usual, but otherwise look okay. -- Colin 17:48, 16 September 2008 (EDT)
In some corporate boardroom, somewhere...
Chairman of the Board: "You mean, we place ads all over their site for free"
Adguy: "Yep"
C: "And these guys, they give up their free time, to reformat our ads, as traveller information?"
A: "Thats right, we just post the promotional material we already developed for our website"
C: "So, we spend no time or money, provide no destination information, no research...."
A: ".... and these guys incorporate it into their guide free. But best of all, when they have finished, the travellers can't tell our promotion from real information.."
C: "Why would they do that? Are you sure you are not making this up?"
--Inas 20:14, 16 September 2008 (EDT)
Yes, it's the detouting I'm having trouble keeping up with. LtPowers 22:13, 16 September 2008 (EDT)
If any listing consists of material copied verbatim or almost so from another web site, shouldn't that listing just be deleted ipso facto? It's potentially a copyright violation, certainly inappropriate, and in my opinion ought to be specifically against policy if it isn't already. Sailsetter 11:22, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
Nah, I think just deleting the description (where the touting is) and keeping the basic info (address, phone #, etc.) will suffice. Then either they can come back with a more honest description or someone else can jump in with their own description. PerryPlanet 13:15, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
I don't agree with that. A listing with no description isn't of much value in itself and encourages other people to make similarly basic listings. (I think it is far more likely to just sit there than to be expanded by someone as the above assumes.) I say better to delete such things. Sailsetter 19:31, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
Are you suggesting we delete any listing without a description? That we require every listing to have a description? I don't think that's going to help. Like LtPowers said, there's good things about just including a listing, even if you have hardly anything (or nothing) to say about it. And yes, while it is more likely that the listing is going to sit without a description for a while, I don't think we should delete a listing on the presumption that no one is going to add that info. I mean, we don't delete the "Buy" section in an article because no one's gotten around to adding a shop yet. PerryPlanet 21:17, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
We are not yellow page, are we? Why include a hotel if we can't be serious about recommending it? --DenisYurkin 17:41, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
My own preference would be for an explicit policy that listing descriptions should be concise, but listings with no description at all would be first in line to be deleted if the number of listings got too many. Sailsetter 10:37, 18 September 2008 (EDT)
I'm fine with that, but I don't think "too many listings" is a problem we're faced with here in these articles with these Hyatt listings. PerryPlanet 15:12, 19 September 2008 (EDT)
Well there is some value in just knowing what's available. Maybe not a lot, but some. Even just including it tells the reader some information: namely, that this particular establishment is not a complete dump and has at least enough redeeming value to be listed. (Of course, that would be true of any Hyatt, but we've moved to generalities here.) LtPowers 19:48, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
If other hotels are sold out (pretty common in some resort areas if one just shows up) there is a great value to having just a phone number listing. Alingelb 19:25, 29 September 2008 (EAT)
We encourage business owners to add their hotel listings. See Wikitravel:Welcome, business owners. -- Colin 21:13, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
It seems to me extremely clear that extensive, uncredited quotes from other web sites shouldn't be put into Wikitravel, even by the owner of the other site. I think there ought to be a specific policy against this. If there isn't, where can I propose it? Sailsetter 19:29, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
We allow reuse of one's own work or work with permission. Now, normally we'd prefer the guy to say "yeah I'm from XYZ corporate and have permission to add this text", but it's pretty clear in cases like this that that is exactly what is going on. -- Colin 21:13, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
It seems to me there's a whole tangle of issues here. What if a destination article has extensive verbatim quotes from the Rough Guide or Frommers web site? Are we to assume that the quotes are done with permission, or without? What if a listing for a Four Seasons resort is a quote from the Four Seasons web site? Are we to assume that it was done with permission? Sure we can say people can quote their own stuff, but how do we know it's the owner who's doing the quoting? What if the destination page for, say, Rome, has extensive sites from the English language version of the official Italian government Rome tourist site? Are we to assume that the Italian government won't object? And then there's the larger principle issue of whether Wikitravel should to any extent be an anthology of passages from other web sites. A policy saying "no quotes" would at least simplify all these issues. Sailsetter 22:16, 17 September 2008 (EDT)

Using text from other sites is fine, as long as the text is PD or licensed under a license compatible with CC-by-SA 1.0. If the user copying text is the author, he/she/it should leave a clarifying message on the talk page of the article to which he/she/it is adding the text. If none of these criteria are met, I say feel free to revert or delete as the situation needs.

Regarding this case, if a user comes along and adds the same message to countless pages, even if it's not copied from another website, that's clearly touting, and I would be liable to revert it. It might be ideal to instead delete the touting text and save the listing, but that takes 3-4x the time to revert, so that's not always feasible. So "clean up" > "revert" > "leave mess." --Peter Talk 22:29, 17 September 2008 (EDT)

I see two problems with the above. 1) If I notice that a Wikitravel page has quoted text from another website, should it be incumbent on me as an ordinary contributor to try to figure out the licensing situation before deleting it? If that's the case, in practice no typical user is ever going to take the trouble. And 2) I have never, ever, on any of the very numerous Wikitravel talk pages I've looked at, seen a message from someone saying "I was quoting my own web site's text." Sailsetter 22:36, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
If you've already figured out what website the text comes from, it should be immediately apparent whether it is properly licensed. If it is CC-by or CC-by-SA, it will say so prominently on the website (as does ours). It is PD only if it says so prominently, or is the work of the U.S. Federal Government. And yes, those talk page messages are rare, but I have seen a few. --Peter Talk 10:58, 18 September 2008 (EDT)

I notice that on Wikitravel Shared it says the following:

Can I copy text to Wikitravel from other sites? No. That is, unless you are the original author of the text, or the text on the other website is either Public Domain or has been explicitly licensed as compatible with Creative Commons Attribution/Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0.

I take this to mean that text on a Wikitravel page which is 1) copied verbatim or nearly verbatim from another web site which is 2) not clearly in the public domain and without 3) being annotated on the Talk page by the person adding it saying they are the owner, may be deleted. (I still think though that the owner's permission shouldn't justify such quoting.) Sailsetter 19:38, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

At the end of the day, this is really not your or even Wikitravel's problem. Like wikis everywhere, we assume good faith, and if IB gets a DMCA takedown from the copyright holder, they're still "safe harbored" under [Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act OCILLA] as long as they nuke the content then. Jpatokal 13:12, 25 September 2008 (EDT)

Tout spammers

I'd like to revisit #"Sleep" link-spamming, as I think our policy should change to meet challenges that weren't so big in earlier stages of this project. I tend to agree with William's comment:

I disagree with the current way of adding all hotels in a city, I believe it is not needed because anyone who is able to travel would be able to find a Best Western or a Motel 6, the sleep section should be used only for hotels that are unique or important to the city.

What I'm proposing, however, is more modest. If an article has more than a certain number of sleep listings, low-grade sleep listings can and should be removed. I'd suggest nine as that number, since it is magical on Wikitravel. As for what makes a sleep listing poor enough to merit removal:

  1. Absence of any description, or any useful content in the description (if it is merely touting)
  2. Improper formatting that violates the manual of style
  3. Absence of pricing information (which is generally the most important information), or other basic details such as address, phone number
  4. Unsorted — added to the top of the sleep section, rather than placed in the proper price category

If a listing has only one of these issues, I don't think it should be removed. But a combination of these issues, in addition to there already being enough (9) listings in the sleep section, should, I think, merit the listing's removal. Otherwise, we risk having our sleep sections throughout the articles about U.S. destinations become rather useless yellow pages, that are inferior to simply using an online service like Expedia to find your hotel. We have businesses listing tons of hotels from their own conglomerates, and while that is useful for articles where we have very little content, I think it is a problem when spammed sitewide.

This policy would also be useful when dealing with an article that gets way too many hotels/apartments/etc. added (see Rome). --Peter Talk 23:00, 3 March 2009 (EST)

This seems sensible & necessary to me. Gorilla Jones 23:38, 3 March 2009 (EST)
A. I still believe that anything that looks like pure touting should be removed once there's too many listing items--no matter where they placed, or how much info is given, or whether MoS is respected or not. I remember that someone gave me detailed arguments how much we want property owners to keep info on their hotels up-to-date (can't find it right now), but I think we don't need it for touts when we should keep only the best.
B. Otherwise useful listings added sincerely by a newcomer traveller that happen to appear at the top of the list / have prices missing / not respect our (not always obvious) guidelines should be kept and researched, at least before there's too many listing items.
C. No contact info puts a listing under risk; when other things are equal and too many listing items, the items without any contact info should be removed first. --DenisYurkin 19:10, 4 March 2009 (EST)

I'm already stringently enforcing such a policy in Rome; if either price, address, phone number or a minimal description (or something usable to detout) is missing from new entries (and most of the old ones I run into), It's removed. I tend to make an exception if something in description sounds nice, like private balconies etc., then I try to look up the info. But this at the moment includes removing 5-10 new entries per week --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 19:23, 4 March 2009 (EST)

So are we working towards a criteria to be applied when the list exceeds what would be optimal.
Summarising the opinions above, we could apply the following criteria in order.
1. Ensure even coverage - target listings where an excess in an area, or in a price range, or in a style.
2, Ensure reliability - target listing with effusive, meaningless, or touting language. Or have been added by a user that has only added accommodation listings over a wide area. Or that are not verifiable.
3. Ensure helpful to traveller - target listings with poor quality or no description, that omit price or location into, or that violate the mos.
--Inas 22:28, 19 March 2009 (EDT)
We seem to have some sort of consensus here - does anyone disagree that my summary of the consensus is valid? If not, I'll move it across... --Inas 20:41, 18 May 2009 (EDT)
Please do. We can refine the wording in the article, if need be. --Peter Talk 21:53, 18 May 2009 (EDT)

individual apartments

I wonder if there is (or should) an allowed way to list individual apartments in the apartments-heavy cities. Personally I have one to recommend for Rome, and another for Kiev, but our current format doesn't seem to allow listing them. Any suggestions on how to deal with this?

Yes, both were rented via a (wikitravel-valid) agency, but I can't be sure all of their apartments are equally great (for Kiev, I am even sure some are not). --DenisYurkin 17:23, 6 March 2009 (EST)

BUMP. --DenisYurkin 15:04, 14 March 2009 (EDT)
In some cities having individual apartments for rent is going to be workable. In other, large cities, it is going to be an intractable problem, with hundreds of apartments possibly to rent directly. It is harder with apartments that hotels, because they are harder to verify and get quality information on them, and almost impossible to rank and select them. In my opinion, in these cities, we may have to admit defeat, rather than to engage in this almost futile selection process. I think we may just to have a line like There are many apartments available to rent in Rome. Please check reputable apartment guides for details. Until the day when Wikitravel either wants to allow directory pages in addition to guides, or develop a partnership with someone who does. I just don't see listing 9 apartments in central Rome as the area where Wikitravel can have significant benefit to travellers. --Inas 22:37, 19 March 2009 (EDT)

Images of accommodation

Based on current practice I added one more exception: illustrating unusual local types of accommodation (Japanese inns, Maldivian overwater bungalows, etc). Jpatokal 23:27, 19 March 2009 (EDT)

I think the images illustrate the point well. --Inas 23:39, 19 March 2009 (EDT)

Special Deals

I've noticed more accommodation listings being entered with Special Deals attached. '7 nights for the price of 6, until June 30th, ** Conditions Apply.' type of thing. I don't think these fit in well with our guide. Anyone disagree? --Inas 20:46, 18 May 2009 (EDT)

Agree, makes it look more like a brochure / sales pitch – cacahuate talk 21:06, 18 May 2009 (EDT)
"Conditions Apply" is a pretty good candidate for spam blacklisting if you ask me... Jpatokal 22:32, 18 May 2009 (EDT)

Keyless entry

Our apartment rental agency policy requires the agency to have a real world office where the keys are picked up. But some agencies (only one that I've heard of) require their apartments/villas/condos/whatever to have keyless entry (number pads, I presume). This sounds legitimate enough, and I think they should be allowable, provided they satisfy the other criteria. I don't think we should write this into the article, though, because all sorts of spammers will likely then claim that they have this, just to get their site listed here. --Peter Talk 11:05, 7 July 2009 (EDT)

The text as it currently exists is a bit confused. It talks about agencies, letting periods, etc all in the list, when those things aren't only applicable to agencies. I'm thinking of the following text, which I think clarifies the policy...
Apartments must be available for rentals of 1 week or less, and must be in a location where travellers frequently rent cabins or apartments.
When a rental property is available to rent directly from the owner, the owner details should be given in any listing, and not the details of any agency. This is because we aim to put travellers in direct contact with the business they will be patronising.
Where a property is not available to rent directly from the owner, an agency that is an exclusive letting agent for the property may be listed if appropriate to the destination guide. An exclusive letting agent would normally be expected to have a 'real world' office with a phone number and a physical address at the destination for picking up the keys and/or managing the property. The information must be listed in Wikitravel and on the agency website. We do not list Websites and consolidators that merely allow owners to list or advertise their properties and which do have any local presence.
--inas 21:56, 13 August 2009 (EDT)
If we're clarifying I think it would help to preface the guidelines with something like "Wikitravel is not an apartment or rental listing site, and only listings that are primarily used by travelers should be included in our guides; listings that are solely advertising for non-travel businesses will be removed. The explicit criteria that is used to judge whether a listing is appropriate is:" (followed by the current criteria). The "picking up the keys and/or managing the property" change is good, although I'd suggest "picking up the keys and/or resolving any renter issues". Similarly, we might want to re-examine the "not available to rent directly from the owner" clause... most cabins in Lake Tahoe can be rented directly, but it's much easier to deal with one of the rental agencies that have an office at the lake - I think as long as there is a real-world office at the location then that is sufficient. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:21, 13 August 2009 (EDT)
Only accommodation used by travelers should be listed. That is apartments must be available for rentals of 1 week or less and must be in a location where travellers frequently rent cabins or apartments.
When a rental property is available to rent directly from the owner, it is preferred that the owner details should be given in any listing. In general we aim to put travellers in direct contact with the business they will be patronising.
Where a property has an agency that is an exclusive letting agent for the property it may be listed if appropriate for the destination. An exclusive letting agent would normally be expected to have a 'real world' office with a phone number and a physical address at the destination for picking up the keys, managing the property and/or resolving rental issues. This information must be listed in Wikitravel and on the agency website. We do not list websites and consolidators that merely allow owners to list or advertise their properties and which do not have any local presence.
The general guidelines for accommodation listings apply to apartments as well, that is long lists should be avoided, and information should be concise and relevant to the traveller.
Meet your concerns? --inas 21:56, 13 August 2009 (EDT)
Looks good, +1 from me for making this update. -- Ryan • (talk) • 02:31, 14 August 2009 (EDT)

Check in / Check out

I'd actually like to do away with these fields altogether. Check in/Check out times are almost always 11AM-noon/2PM-3PM, and even if they're not, the hotel will tell you what they are. Moreover, if there is a weird check in/check out time, that exception to the general rule could just be noted in the description. This section of the listing just seems like wasted space, and crowds out more useful bits.

I'll add that for whatever reason, hotel spammers love to include this. --Peter Talk 17:00, 7 July 2009 (EDT)

He, well I remember more than a few wet nights, where check out time the next day mattered a great deal. Check-in times in Japan for instance, is actually quite relevant, since they vary greatly, and they are not very flexible about it. The info is probably available at the website, or when you book, but I recall a few situations where this was relevant for my choice of hotel; in particular when arriving mid day somewhere after a intercontinental flight. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 17:24, 7 July 2009 (EDT)
Hmm, I guess I had the pleasure of never actually staying in a hotel in Japan (I relied solely on Japanese hospitality ;) ), and FSU countries either follow the noon/3 pattern or just let you do whatever. Well, lets not make our policy European-American specific then. --Peter Talk 17:36, 7 July 2009 (EDT)
Not sure about "the rest of the world" :), but in Saint Petersburg many hotels have flexibility or special offers for early checkin / late checkout, as a major portion of visitors come (and leave) by an overnight train from Moscow which depart about a midnight, and arrives within a range of 6am..9am. So at least St. Pete needs an exception here. --DenisYurkin 17:39, 7 July 2009 (EDT)
I didn't have any weird check-in/out time experiences at hotels in Japan — business hotels there seemed as formulaic as anywhere else. I completely support removing those fields from the listing, and relying upon the description if there's anything particularly unusual. I've never seen a printed guide that includes them. Gorilla Jones 18:53, 7 July 2009 (EDT)
I agree with Gorilla Jones. Nothing stopping us adding the info if there is a significant variation on the norm. --inas 19:13, 7 July 2009 (EDT)
Really? I've had anything between All day, noon, over to after 5 PM, I've had hostels where I could check-in 9-noon and after 3PM and even one with a lights out after 9PM. It's not that I'm hell bent I'm keeping them, I'm just saying I happen to find it useful, especially from my experience in Japan. I suppose it's the same for generic business hotels everywhere, but I'd like to think wikitravellers try to avoid those. Besides isn't all this moot since I suspect changing the entry forms requires IB involvement? --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 19:16, 7 July 2009 (EDT)
To me, that just reinforces the point. Where there is a variation on the "standard" checkin and checkout times, it will more than likely require a bit of text around it to explain. It is rare to find a hostel that has a standard check in time of 9am, but it could be worth us writing if they have been amenable to early check in. In Rarotonga where all the flights arrive and leave overnight, you can often pick your checkin/checkout time by the hour, and the price changes accordingly. I've no experience of St Petersburg, but I would suspect that a hotel that allows checkin at 9am, would either not offer it as standard, or would charge a premium. Again, a bit of explanation is required. Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of hotels, motels and hostels that do fit the template, just have the standard stuff in the boxes. --inas 19:55, 7 July 2009 (EDT)
And to follow up on the Japan example, the time-related issues I have run into with Japanese hotels were curfew-based — places like the Hiroshima Youth Hostel that have a curfew or lock their doors at a certain hour. There's no way to convey that with the check-in/out tags. Gorilla Jones 20:02, 7 July 2009 (EDT)
My two cents: the fields are unnecessary and don't need to be filled in for hotels that adhere to the local standard, but are mildly handy for the odd exception. Jpatokal 22:42, 7 July 2009 (EDT)

I'm gathering that we do have a rough consensus to remove the fields from the listings editor (although I think it's perfectly fine to leave them in the listings template itself, to deal with exceptions). So, if at some point in the future we have a tech team, or the capability to take care of these things ourselves, I'll make the recommendation. --Peter Talk 12:50, 8 July 2009 (EDT)

alphabetical order

I added a line to say alpha order didn't include any leading "the" or "hotel" at the beginning of an accommodation listing. This seems to reflect practice. If anyone has a problem, feel free to revert, and we'll reach some other consensus if required. --inas 00:41, 23 September 2009 (EDT)

I'd take issue with the latter, as I've always taken "Hotel" to be part of the proper noun. Articles definitely shouldn't be counted, though. For all listings, I'd also ask whether we should exclude articles from other languages. I've certainly been ignoring Spanish and French articles (not sure if I've even had the occasion to run across other language's articles, since Russian doesn't have them). --Peter Talk 14:19, 23 September 2009 (EDT)
Agreed that 'the' should be ignored for alpha purposes, (and in this vast world, there's probably a hotel somewhere with 'a' or 'an' at the beginning of its name), but 'hotel' should be considered part of the name. (Any rule on 'hotel' would also logically have to extend to 'inn', 'motel', 'ryokan', 'pension', etc.) Gorilla Jones 17:45, 23 September 2009 (EDT)
Wow - More comment that I expected. My reasoning for ignoring hotel at the beginning, is that there are entire guides in European cities where every accommodation place is "Hotel Bravo", "Hotel Echo", etc, rather than the "Echo Hotel", "Bravo Hotel", that is more common elsewhere. Placing the hotel at the beginning or the end seems arbitrary, and the Echo Hotel seems to also be known as the Hotel Echo. I haven't noticed the same issue in the U.S. or Japan.
Still, best to keep this simple, and my intention was only to codify current practice. I'm happy to include any leading "Hotel", if there are no further opinions to the contrary? --inas 19:04, 23 September 2009 (EDT)
I was inclined to agree with Inas in leaving "hotel" and similar words out of it, with the same rule applying for the words "restaurant" or "cafeteria", etc. when they come at the beginning as they often do in Europe and Latin America. Texugo 19:37, 23 September 2009 (EDT)
My two cents: the word "Hotel" should always be left out if it's at the beginning of the name. At the end of a name, I'd lean towards omitting it if it's clearly redundant/obvious ("Hilton Hotel", "Holiday Inn Hotel") plus any redundant place names as well, but this is more of a case-by-case thing. Eg. "Hotel Holiday Inn Atrium Singapore" is better rendered as "Holiday Inn Atrium" under Singapore, while the "Gallery Hotel" is better kept as is since just "Gallery" would be a bit weird. Rule of thumb: how would you tell a local taxi driver where to go? Jpatokal 01:37, 24 September 2009 (EDT)
Hmmm - okay - two for - two against - with me fence sitting. I've alpha sorted Nancy#Sleep ignoring the leading articles, but taking into account the leading "Hotel", or "Chateau". Does anybody's opinion change or solidify by seeing the result. --inas 19:16, 24 September 2009 (EDT)
Actually, I'm rather of a mind with Jani. The main test would be how you'd refer to the hotel in casual conversation (this fits with our naming conventions). I don't think that would lead to always leaving out the "hotel" in front—you'd confuse the hell out of a taxi driver if you asked him to take you to "Safari", while "Hotel Safari" would get the point across. Ditto Hotel Helix and Hotel Rouge. And obviously, you wouldn't call a "Motel 6" "6". If the word's in there, though, I think it should be sorted accordingly—it would look incorrect to me otherwise. --Peter Talk 20:17, 24 September 2009 (EDT)

I see that point, but I don't want to get distracted too far into what to name the accommodation, as this thread is really about how to sort them. Your position seems unchanged to me, that if the word is there, it should be sorted accordingly. That means you agree with the current sort order for Nancy#Sleep. I do agree that having a subjective rule to determine the sort order could make it confusing to our readers who were using the guide as a reference, and I think it would also reduce our ability to patrol list jumpers effectively. Whatever we decide, I think a objective rule for what constitutes an alphabetical sort is the best way forward. --inas 21:14, 24 September 2009 (EDT)

Hotel names

Building on the above discussion, and in the spirit of Wikitravel:Naming conventions, I'd like to suggest that we move a bit away from official names for hotels. In the U.S. and Canada, at least, chain hotels almost always attach all sorts of garbage to their official name for SEO purposes, e.g., Days Inn Pentagon Reagan National Airport Arlington Virginia. Since it should already be obvious from the article title what town the hotel is in, I'd prefer we cut the excessive stuff out of the listing name field. The above suggested metric, "how would you call it when talking to a taxi driver," seems to me an excellent rule of thumb. --Peter Talk 18:40, 2 October 2009 (EDT)

I agree - and would support even broader application of this general (common name) rule beyond accommodation providers. --inas 00:37, 13 October 2009 (EDT)

Price ranges

I'm still not clear on what we should be using for price ranges. I've heard both that we should stick to just double-room prices, and that we should list all the types of accommodations available (which I would think could get unwieldy for many luxury hotels). Do we have a standard? LtPowers 19:49, 12 October 2009 (EDT)

To me, this normally seems apparent. For a normal hotel I would list the price of a normal double room. For a hostel, the price of a dorm room or a private double. I wouldn't bother listing the price of the presidential suite, or the extra price for the room with the view. If there was a special type of room, or if it offered a significant discount for a single occupancy room, that is probably worth mentioning. --inas 00:46, 13 October 2009 (EDT)
Would a normal suite (not presidental) be considered a "special type"? And why not include the room with the view, at least if rooms-with-views are a large percentage of the available units? LtPowers 08:56, 13 October 2009 (EDT)
Price of a double room is the standard. Other accommodation types (dorms, suites, room-with-a-view) can be listed if they're for some reason notable. Jpatokal 10:43, 13 October 2009 (EDT)
OK, let's say all the rooms have a view, just that one view costs $30 a night more than the other view? LtPowers 15:08, 13 October 2009 (EDT)
We list the base price of a standard room. This would normally be he cheapest price for a double room. Do you have an example of the kind of hotel that is raising this issue? --inas 22:44, 13 October 2009 (EDT)
Well, let's take Walt Disney World/Epcot#Sleep. Peter added the prices that are there now, and they range from a basic room in the off season to a Presidential suite in peak season. I can totally understand dropping the Presidential suite from the listings. But if we look at just the standard rooms in the Beach Club, we have "Standard View" and "Water or Pool View", with the latter being $65 more per night. The water view is a nicer view, true, but probably half the rooms (roughly) have such a view. So I guess what I'm questioning is why we would have a preference for the cheapest double room available, rather than listing the full array of double room prices, especially when we're not just talking about a small number of extra-special rooms that you'd have to book early to get into. LtPowers 23:09, 13 October 2009 (EDT)
In the case you describe I would certainly list both categories of rooms. If there was a hotel at Niagara Falls with the rooms on one side with a view, and the rooms on the other without, it would also make sense to list both. It is a common thing the traveller is likely to be looking for, and useful for the comparison of where to stay. It is certainly more useful in this case then describing the curtains or furnishings! However, I wouldn't bother with the deluxe, or superior room categories at a normal hotel, people can make this call when they decide to go there. I think these sort decision is the best part of having a human edited guide. Otherwise we could just commission hotels combined to update our pricing information. Is there any part of the policy that you would see currently advising against you making this sort of call? --inas 18:35, 14 October 2009 (EDT)
Well what prompted the original question was this message Peter left on a user's talk page, which clearly stated "standard double room". It struck me as odd because of the previously-linked edit in which Peter had included prices for Presidential suites. =) Maybe I should have just asked Peter, but I came here looking for guidance. The project page clearly says "standard double room", but a few of the discussions above indicated that some people had a preference for listing several types of rooms. So I asked for some clarification. The consensus I'm taking away here is that if prices other than that for double rooms are listed, they should be specified as a different type of room within the listing. Does that sound good? LtPowers 19:10, 14 October 2009 (EDT)
Yes, unfortunately so much of this discussion is normally directed at the business owner or hotel tout adding their listing. My guideline to them would certainly be, as Peter's was, to list the range of a standard double room. As always, I would hate to see the a guideline in place to prevent business advocates placing misleading information or non-information used to prevent travellers and other uninvolved editors placing genuinely useful travel information in the guide. I think Jani's comment reflects a reasonable consensus. Generally list a standard double, list other room types if they are for some reason notable to a traveller and they are commonly available, and in this case they should certainly be specified as a different type of room within the listing. --inas 19:54, 14 October 2009 (EDT)
(I definitely think it right to change the overly dramatic price ranges I put in for WDW, and stick to the range for standard double rooms. Silly mistake on my part.) --Peter Talk 21:24, 14 October 2009 (EDT)

Vacation Rentals Listings Sites?

swept in from User talk:sertmann

Hey Groundskeeper, is it ok if I put my vacation rentals site on here? I noticed some locations have VRBO listed...

You can check our policy here, in a nutshell, if you have a physical real world office where people can actually show up, AT the said destination, and include the address of course as well as your price ranges, and provided you are the exclusive agency and don't tout. Yes. Otherwise a resounding no. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 13:34, 13 October 2009 (EDT)

Ok, went ahead and created a User:Collegeweekends User page with our info. Our #1 goal is to just to provide visitors with more options then just hotels and bed and breakfasts. If we have fulfilled all of the guidelines, what would be the best way to link our site to Wikitravel? Should we provide links to individual properties like this, or should I link to our listings page, or just stick to something vague and point to a specific location's homepage

The listing should look something like this:

  • College Weekends, YourOfficeInBoulderStreet 99, +1 12345689 (), [14]. 8 apartments across various locations in Boulder, mainly geared towards visitors to University of Whatever, Cleaning provided free of charge/for a billion dollars/Selfcleaning at the end of/during your stay. All rentals have fully stocked kitchens, televisions and may or may not have clean linen and a Texas Rangers action figure. $170-290 per day.

--Stefan (sertmann) Talk 16:30, 13 October 2009 (EDT)

I like that format a lot, but unfortunately we don't have a physical walk-in office. However, several of our listings are happy to post their physical address, so can we post their listing as the physical entitiy in each community? --User:Collegeweekends 16:00 13, October, 2009 MST

--

OK, so here it gets tricky. We don't want to have several different properties from College Weekends listed everywhere that has a University. This is a freehand mishmash of our policy, but I think our opinion would go something like this; if you are the only agency where you are able to book these properties through, you may list one property per destination (if the town is districtified one per district), The properties must include:

  • Physical address
  • The owners direct phone number (but you are also free to provide yours in addition)
  • Price range

so it looks something like this:

  • Downtown Rental Lodging (College Weekends), Mapleton 99, Owner: +1 (303) 625-3083, Agency: +1 (800) 704-5914 (), [15]. 2 bedroom house for up to 4 people with fireplace, private yard and fully stocked kitchen with washer/dryer. non smokers only. $200 per day.

one thing of note though, you don't seem to be exclusive for this property no? and please notice the omission of "fabulatastic luxuriously pampering property located not only near, but INSIDE! EVERY attraction, restaurant, bar in the city, TOTALLY CHEAP but we won't tell you how much until you're at our website!". Doesn't work around here, people are just too smart :) empty listings without descriptions also tend be deleted rather quickly when we catch them - we don't want to be the yellow pages. All that being said, thanks for taking the time to ask the right questions, wish more business owners would do that. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 18:54, 13 October 2009 (EDT)

This all sounds great. We're going to get the permission of our favorite exclusive listings across our site and round up the information necessary to post them. Thank you for your continued assistance throughout the day, and you can expect to see us start posting our listings tomorrow. If any conflicts arise, I'll do my best to ask you through this conversation that we are fulfilling your aforementioned guidelines. --Collegeweekends 19:27, 13 October 2009 (EDT)

Sorry to jump in to the conversation, but this discussion should probably be moved to Wikitravel talk:Accommodation listings. If College Weekends is solely a listing agency and they don't have offices in the towns that their listings are for then it seems fairly clear to me that this site doesn't meeting the guidelines set forth in the Rental listing policy, specifically "An exclusive letting agent would normally be expected to have a 'real world' office with a phone number and a physical address at the destination for picking up the keys, managing the property and/or resolving rental issues.". I appreciate that the site is trying to work with us, but I'm not sure how we can allow this site yet disallow the myriad rental agencies that try to post here. -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:42, 13 October 2009 (EDT)
Was just about to post a link to this in the pub, but I'll move it there instead. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 19:45, 13 October 2009 (EDT)

So, this is a sort of a crossover situation, we don't allow for 3rd party aggregators, but here the agency have promised direct contact details (address and phone numbers) to the owners, which is what I feel the spirit of the policy;

it is preferred that the owner and property details should be given in any listing. In general we aim to put travellers in direct contact with the business they will be patronising

wikitravellers will not be able to book this online anywhere else:

agency that is an exclusive letting agent for the property

And the whole real world office thing, should be a non-issue when the owners direct contact details are provided, that's the kind of office we prefer isn't it? At least that is my take on it. Thoughts? --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 19:58, 13 October 2009 (EDT)

I'm mostly concerned that we're going to end up with a bunch of College Weekend links all over the guides that go to a site that aggregates properties for rent. The rental listing policy was put in place with the idea that we don't really want to list rental agencies, but that for some destinations (Lake Tahoe is a good example) cabin or condo rentals are a very common lodging option so we need to have some way to allow these listings. I'm not convinced that College Weekends is sufficiently different from any other listing agency that they merit special consideration, although perhaps they could provide a bit more information about why they aren't a listing agency and should thus be treated differently; absent that information I just don't see how they merit an exception. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:01, 13 October 2009 (EDT)
I think that's a fair question, ? --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 21:09, 13 October 2009 (EDT)
I also tend to view these listings as entirely under the "disallowed" section of policy. Even if they were to be listed, they must still only list places where the keys are picked up at the house itself and they would not be allowed to list the agency's 800 number, their email, nor their URL. So why would they want to? Also, individual listings for single residences are definitely less desirable than multi-residence establishments since they clutter the guide. So I think individual listings should be deleted from any article that has sufficient other types of listings. -- Colin 21:41, 13 October 2009 (EDT)

I will do my best to address all the issues raised here, and I greatly appreciate all the feedback. I think this kind of dedication is what makes this such a valuable resource. First of all, I think there are several things that separate CollegeWeekends from a typical listing agency. In several of our markets we have affiliates on the ground that have a physical office and manage some of the listings on the site, so we do offer that physical presence. Also our niche is serving small college towns with big state schools that typically suffer from a lack of adequate accommodations on big weekends like football games, parent’s weekend, and graduation. As I see it the purpose of this site is to provide travelers with useful resources that they would want to know about. In my mind there is no question that a family that is coming to Charlottesville, Blacksburg, Athens, or Tuscaloosa to would be thrilled to learn that there is an alternative to hotels(that get booked up a year in advance for Graduation). We understand that Wiki admins have a really tough job in maintaining the integrity of the pages, so we want to do whatever is necessary to conform to your policies. We have local people that we are happy to provide the direct contact info to, which as I read it meets your guidelines. I think you will notice if you look at the types of towns we serve you will notice that there are not “sufficient other types of listings.” Also in response to Colin we are happy to leave our 800# and URLs to anything but the specific property off of the listings if that is a critical factor. We just want to let people know that there are options beyond hotels and B&B’s in these towns.

--Collegeweekends 16:02, 14 October 2009 (EDT)

Again, thanks for taking the time, but if you have "affiliates" in the towns, our policy would dictate that those affiliates get listed with their real world office and website. I understand that this doesn't really help your business, but surely you can also understand that we are not put here to serve those needs. I'd really like to accommodate business owners that takes the time to understand policies and discuss them, but your business model doesn't really fit well with the goals of this site, one of them - which we emphasise a lot - is that a Wikitravel guide should be useful also when printed (mixes badly with online booking aggregators). --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 22:04, 14 October 2009 (EDT)

Our affiliates are real estate agents/property managers that market their short-term rentals exclusively through us. Can we enter a listing with their physical address and contact information with links that point only to their listings? Nothing that points to our main site?

--Collegeweekends 17:04, 15 October 2009 (EDT)

I'm having a bit of difficulty given that the discussion is very abstract right now, so I'd suggest adding a listing to one or two cities so that we can get a better idea of what you have in mind. It will be easier to discuss once we have an actual example to look at, and if it turns out that the listings aren't appropriate then they can always be removed later. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:32, 15 October 2009 (EDT)

Holiday Rentals Accommadation

Why cant holiday homes be listed when in Countries like Ireland it is by far the cheapest option available to visitors. Why is it not treated in a similar fashion to hotels.

As this user had not signed the post, it will be hard for any member to understand the point. To clarfiy, it relates to a discussion here. --Burmesedays 09:51, 23 November 2009 (EST)
My answer is that they are allowed, providing the listing complies with the conditions made very clear in this article. For example, if your listing had read something like:
  • Joe's Lovely Apartment, 27 Blah St, Cork (Turn left at McDonald's), +11 111111111 (), [16]. Two bedroom apartment with large kitchen and well fitted dining room. Two en-suite baths one with a tub, the other shower only. Within easy walking distance of the city centre. From € 95.
then, all would be OK. --Burmesedays 09:51, 23 November 2009 (EST)
And in a broader perspective, had we allowed your business in Cork, what would have prevented us from you adding your business to each and everyone of the thousands of cities where owners advertise on your website. Now if we allow you to do that, what would prevent us from stopping all your thousands of competitors doing the same? and pretty quickly Wikitravel would turn into a giant yellow pages for rental agencies (and the like), and no one would use us anymore, and we wouldn't care to patrol the content making sure it's usable anymore, meaing wikitravel would slowly wither away and die. You might not understand it, but must of us care about this website, and want to see it thrive instead. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 10:01, 23 November 2009 (EST)
We have an goal to add just a selected few businesses to our guide. The basis on which to select them is not always entirely clear, nor can it ever be reduced to a simple checklist, but I would say that the attitude on wiki may well be a guide to the real-world attitude of any business, and should certainly be taken into account in any selection that is made. --inas 17:40, 23 November 2009 (EST)

Suites and other touting

  • Is a hotel room and a suite something distinctly different in America, or is it just touting? --Stefan (sertmann) talk 09:08, 13 December 2009 (EST)
  • Does anyone else find that "Residence Inn by Mariott®" we have been subjected to lately superflous? shouldn't it just either be called Residence Inn or Mariott? --Stefan (sertmann) talk 09:08, 13 December 2009 (EST)
  • Should "appointed" be added to the words to avoid, I'm seeing phrases like "30 well appointed rooms" showing up everywhere as of late, and I absolutely hate it.

Comments and explanation? --Stefan (sertmann) talk 09:08, 13 December 2009 (EST)

The Marriot Group have been on a touting rampage here lately and I have commented many times on that while patrolling - mostly Marriot Courtyard, Marriot Residence and Fairfield Inn/Suites and nearly always in the US. Here is a list of their brands [17]. Awful listings and I have just rolled back lots of them. The "well-appointed" phrase is fairly ghastly I agree. Struck me that an email to the head of marketing of the Marriot Group saying we will blacklist their domain name unless their touts at least make an effort to understand WT might be helpful :):) --Burmesedays 09:54, 13 December 2009 (EST)
Normally a hotel suite implies that there is at least a separate living room or study attached to the bedroom - i.e two rooms (at least) plus a bathroom. If it used accurately, I do not think it is touting. --Burmesedays 09:57, 13 December 2009 (EST)
The Marriott hotel group likely has little influence over how their franchisees and licensees choose to advertise, especially if the language used is standard in travel advertising. If a message were to be written, I would suggest less adversarial wording; I doubt anything has come down from upper levels suggesting a concerted campaign to spam us. =) To answer Stefan's second question, it's a judgment call. Marriott operates a number of hotel brands, so just "Marriott" isn't sufficient. Saying just "Residence Inn" is probably fine, although the "by Marriott" does inform anyone enrolled in Marriott's loyalty program that the property is within the Marriott family. In either case we don't need a trademark symbol. =) ("Courtyard by Marriott" may be more problematic, since just "Courtyard" is not very clear; I think the "by Marriott" is necessary in that case.) LtPowers 12:11, 13 December 2009 (EST)
I guess my sarcasm did not come across very well there :). On your point though, hotel groups are by no means standard in the way they control the use of their branding in advertising by franchises. Marriot is known to be loose in this respect even with their high end brands like The Ritz Carlton. So yes very doubtful they either care or know what marketing ativities are undertaken by little franchises in mid-western states. --Burmesedays 20:43, 13 December 2009 (EST)
Yeah well, It just seems very commercial to me, but I guess, if they are really called that, there isn't much to be done about it. And it might be more natural to Americans, who are subjected to this sort of phrasing every day - those TV-program sponsorships speaks you guys have always make me chuckle. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 16:50, 13 December 2009 (EST)
Of course it's commercial. They're not charities. =) LtPowers 20:20, 13 December 2009 (EST)
Well if they were advertising a charity we would delete them!
Sounding like an advertisement falls within our definition of touting. They should be fixed or reverted. --inas 20:44, 13 December 2009 (EST)

Apartments (again)

I would like to suggest a severe tightening up of the wording about apartment listings. Currently, if an agency has an address and a phone number in the city where the apartment is listed and these correspond with information on a website, then it is OK. Why is that OK when we do not let travel agencies or hotel booking offices list at all? Also, trying to find an address on the corresponding website is a thankless task for any editor. I would much prefer to see a policy of "no agencies" applied such as we do with other listing categories. --Burmesedays 07:09, 27 December 2009 (EST)

The problem with the "no rental agencies" approach is that it shuts us off from a common lodging option for many destinations - Lake Tahoe is a frequently-cited example, where cabin rentals make up a significant percentage of the ski-season lodging. I'd be in favor of finding some way to tighten our restrictions, but would prefer not to institute an outright ban until we've at least made some effort to come up with modifications to the current policy. I'm at a loss as to what additional restrictions would be prudent - anyone have ideas that would still allow us to preserve valuable listings? -- Ryan • (talk) • 09:50, 27 December 2009 (EST)
The guideline already requires that the apartments "be in a location where travellers frequently rent cabins or apartments." Would simply enforcing that requirement more strictly be sufficient? LtPowers 09:45, 28 December 2009 (EST)
And what about "Vacation Rental Home" agencies? Are these agencies to be treated the same as apartment agents? See for example Kissimmee#sleep. Certainly for Bali, I cleared out all links and mention of Villa Management Companies (the same thing in non-American parlance). --Burmesedays 23:47, 28 December 2009 (EST)
No views on this? It is an issue in many locations. Providing they have an address, I have stopped deleting vacation home companies, villa mgt groups and the such-like, as I cannot see the difference between them and apartment agencies. I happen to think to that all agencies should be deleted, but that is clearly not the policy. --Burmesedays 01:34, 1 February 2010 (EST)
My understanding is that current policy covers all rental companies, whether they are apartment rentals, home rentals, timeshare rentals, etc. When we initially were trying to grapple with this issue the cabin rentals available in Lake Tahoe (basically, vacation homes) were a specific example cited as the type of listing that we didn't want to exclude entirely. I'd agree that our current policies on rental agencies could use some tightening, but an all-out ban would seem (to me) to lessen the usefulness of some of our guides where rentals are the primary lodging option; in your example of Kissimmee#Sleep, renting a home is actually a very common and relatively economical option when more than one family visits Disney together as compared to booking 2-4 hotel rooms every night. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:34, 1 February 2010 (EST)

Yes, there are places where renting an apartment, villa or house is a popular or even the most popular way to stay. Take somewhere like Hamilton Island. Sure, there is the standard resort type facilities there, but there are also many hundreds of apartments, all privately owned, and they are a popular and cost effective way to stay there. Many of the apartment owners list through a few agencies which specialise in island accommodation, but they are usually free to list anywhere they want to. So, what to do in a place like this?

  1. List no apartments..
  2. List a selection of apartments as individual listings for the apartments themselves
  3. List a single agency.
  4. List several agencies.
  5. List all the agencies (Yellowpages).

The first, would be a disservice to the traveller, I think. The second, would be silly. Most of the apartments are in tower complexes, and all have the same style. To only list 5-6 individual apartments would be restrictive to the traveller, and give an unfair advantage to the apartments we choose to list. The third, is possible, but is also restrictive to the traveller. The last means that we just end up with lots of agency listings.

In larger cities the problem just becomes intractable. We can't list them all, and we don't have a basis to pick a selection - because traveller experiences and reviews don't really apply here.

If someone can think of a brilliant idea to limit this, that would be good, but I think the only solution in the long run is going to be to link to a directory service for this sort of thing. Like dmoz. We just say

There are lots of apartments for rent on Hamilton Island, all tend to be similar in style, and are available in up to four bedrooms in a variety of bed configurations. All have private facilities, and some have water views. Check whether you are in the resort or marina area before you book. Expect to pay about twice the price you would on the mainland, around $500 pn for an average 3 bedroom apartment in the off-peak season. See DMOZ directory for booking agencies. [18] --inas 17:36, 1 February 2010 (EST)

Depends on whether agencies are not just "all the same" service--if not, I'm again with "only allow those who we have real-traveler reports" (or most positive reviews on web, or other way to choose those serving customers better than the rest--instead of those who were smart enough to re-add themselves to WT)? --DenisYurkin 19:50, 1 February 2010 (EST)
Is there anywhere that would review agencies? Does it really make sense to review an agency? On Hamilton, they are renting 100 different properties, all in different parts of the island, all with different facilities, views, sizes. I've rented many apartments, villas etc through listing agencies, and my interaction with the agency usually consists of 30 seconds on the booking page, or a quick phone call to a real estate agent. I don't know how we would ever get ourselves in a position to meaningfully review booking agents. --inas 20:07, 1 February 2010 (EST)
I too use apartment/villa agencies when traveling, so I am by no means anti. The problem is how to deal with them here. Structurally, these businesses are not too different from hotel booking agents which we of course do not allow to list. I quite like the directory solution from Inas, although that too goes against another of our basic policies about external links. Waiting for traveller reviews will not work as there will not be any. --Burmesedays 20:37, 1 February 2010 (EST)
I know little about Hamilton Island, but my experience with Australian city apartments is that they tend to be in small complexes and therefore have a basic hotel-type front office. These are not a problem as you can link to a specific primary source. Equally, our Bali articles are full of private villas for rent, all of which have websites, contact details etc. Each one is listed individually even though they have marketing agents. Apartments in Bali are only listed when they have a front office that you can contact for booking, complaints etc. I wondering why that approach cannot work elsewhere? The comments from Ryan and Inas imply concern that there would be too many individual listings. I wonder if that is really the case in practice, again citing Bali as an example of where this approach works well (despite there being many hundreds of private villas for rent).--Burmesedays 20:37, 1 February 2010 (EST)
If we changed the policy to only include complexes of the type you describe, I would have no problem with how many individual listings we have. Although you may consider this to be a rental agency (if the villas are privately owned) for our listing purposes it really has more in common with a hotel. One reception, and a number of rooms - easy.
However, that type of accommodation isn't really want we are trying to get a policy on, it is privately owned apartments, villas and holiday houses, owned privately, but let either on an individual basis or through one or many agencies.
What do we do at that town on the lake, or that ski resort, island, or city which has many privately owned apartments, listed through many agents. Do we really want to exclude them entirely, or find someway to direct the traveller to them that is interested in that form of accommodation? --inas 21:23, 1 February 2010 (EST)
I may not have expressed my points so well, as I think you have misunderstood. There is no problem with complexes and I do not consider them rental agencies at all. I think we fully agree on that one. I just wanted to make the point that many apartment options will be covered by this type of establishment.
Private apts, villas and houses are indeed the issue. I am not so sure that including those with primary contact details only and excluding agencies would be such a bad thing. As I said, I also quite like your idea of a directory referral.
Alternatively, we could of course just leave things as they are. There are some inconsistencies though which are difficult to rationalise. --Burmesedays 22:12, 1 February 2010 (EST)
In that case, I'm pretty sure we agree. Single location places with one contact point are no issue, covered by existing policy well. Multi-location with agencies - are dubious. I know having the information in Wikitravel rather than linked to is a goal, but for these apartment agencies you need to follow a link to them anyway to find out their range, so we offer no little by just storing the the apartment agencies details here. When we have so much value to add as a human edited travel guide, we need to reconsider what we are doing when we offer little or no value over a google search --inas 22:42, 1 February 2010 (EST)
If we measure how good is a policy by applying it to cases we find useful, here are my 2 cents that I cited earlier somewhere. I have a apartments owner in Kiev which owns several flats refurbised for renting to travelers--both of which (apartments themselves and the owner) I would like to recommend. And I have a specific apartment in Rome which is owned (or exclusively operated?) by an agency--I can definitely recommend the specific apartment, and more or less the agency. The aprtment is again just a regular flat in a regular house with regular residents, just in the very center of the city. Rome agency is not a booking agent, but very likely a real operator of the property, organizing cleaning, repair etc. Both for Rome and for Kiev, those apartments are serious competitors to hotels (which abound in both cities).
And I am not aware where I can stick such recommendations if not at Wikitravel (whether linking from WT to there or not). --DenisYurkin 05:00, 2 February 2010 (EST)

I have just reverted this edit, but the business owner would be quite right to insist that the listing is in full compliance with Wikitravel policy. It is an agent, with a real world office and phone number in an area where private villa rentals are very popular. I reverted it because it adds nothing to Seminyak which has lots of villa listings, and a whole stack more that I could add. An agent listing is the last thing required. I highlight this case as a perfect example of the problem with allowing rental agents to list here. --Burmesedays 05:55, 15 April 2010 (EDT)

I wouldn't be opposed to a change in policy similar to what we've done for car rental agencies, essentially saying that if there are numerous agencies operating in a city then they don't get their own listings, and instead we simply add a paragraph of text stating that apartments / rentals are a common option, and possibly mention the names (only) of the companies offering them. Would that help? -- Ryan • (talk) • 10:56, 15 April 2010 (EDT)
Yes. That would at least give us a reference point for removing such agency listings.--Burmesedays 11:52, 15 April 2010 (EDT)
For reference the final bullet point at Wikitravel:External links#What not to link to is what I was referring to with respect to car rental listings. Something similar for apartment / listing agencies would probably be useful. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:04, 15 April 2010 (EDT)

I've been a holdout when it comes to a ban on apartment rental agency listings, due mostly to the many visits I've made to Lake Tahoe where cabin rentals are probably the best lodging option. That said, given the volume of useless apartment and other rental agency listings we get I'm coming around to the idea that a change is needed. Since we already specify that rental agency listings are only valid for a "location where travelers frequently rent cabins or apartments", how about making a change such that rental agency listings are only OK if there is consensus achieved on the article talk page to include them for the city/town/region? Thus we could agree to include them for Lake Tahoe towns and cities, but would be able to remove them from all Rome articles. This change then puts the burden on the agency to defend why it should be listed, rather then on patrollers to defend removal. Thoughts? -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:13, 13 May 2010 (EDT)

If you mean agencies only (I think you do), then you will not be surprised to hear I would support such a move. Allowing apartment, vacation rental and holiday villa agencies to list here has long been a strange inconsistency (for whatever reasons), and I am all for making it more difficult for them to do so. European city articles are especially infested with such listings.--Burmesedays 11:18, 13 May 2010 (EDT)
Yes, I meant rental agency listings. I've clarified my original comment. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:24, 13 May 2010 (EDT)
I support this change as I have never understood the logic behind allowing agency listings, --ClausHansen 14:32, 13 May 2010 (EDT)
*bump* Any further comment? -- Ryan • (talk) • 01:29, 14 May 2010 (EDT)
I think we need something like this. We all know the kind of place where these listings make sense, and where they don't and we struggle to make policy that makes sense in Lake Tahoe and Madrid, and it doesn't work well. The only thing is, how do we nominate such a city to make it easy on patrollers? I would hate to have to visit every talk page before I can okay a listing or not.
Can I suggest that we have a specific section for these, so we know if they are being added to a pre-existing section it is okay, but if it isn't, it probably isn't okay. That way we only have to check the talk page when the section heading itself is being added? --inas 01:41, 14 May 2010 (EDT)
I'm fine with the proposed change, as we couldn't yet find a reasonable way to list only genuinely recommended and tried agencies for major European cities. Maybe even "basically only destinations where apartments/cabins don't have equal alternatives in hotels for the same price" guideline? --DenisYurkin 03:06, 14 May 2010 (EDT)
Re Inas: currently in a number of articles these rentals get placed under a separate heading such as "Cabin rentals" or "Villa rentals" - see for example Gatlinburg#Cabins. Codifying that such a sub-section must exist would be one way to simplify patrolling - anyone who adds a listing to another section or who creates such a section without discussion would clearly be in violation of the new guideline. -- Ryan • (talk) • 10:19, 14 May 2010 (EDT)
Given the lack of objection, here is some proposed wording:
Wikitravel is neither an apartment-finder service nor a real estate listing service, so in general real estate and rental agency listings are not allowed. The only exception to this rule is for locations where rental properties are a common form of travel accommodation and the following requirements are met:
  1. Consensus must be achieved on the article's talk page that rental listings should be allowed. When trying to build consensus provide some evidence that rental properties are commonly used by travelers to the destination and that their addition will improve the article. Please do not argue the merits of any particular company, but instead focuses on the value of such accommodation for travelers to the destination city/region.
  2. If consensus is achieved, rental agency listings must be placed into a separate sub-section of the article's "Sleep" section.
  3. Agency listings must include a local address with a phone number that specifies the physical address at the destination for picking up the keys, managing the property and/or resolving rental issues. This address must also be prominently displayed on the agency web site.
  4. Apartments or cabins must be available for rentals of one week or less - remember, Wikitravel is a travel guide, not an apartment-finder service.
The general guidelines for accommodation listings apply to apartments as well, that is long lists should be avoided, and information should be concise and relevant to the traveller.
Thoughts? -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:01, 14 May 2010 (EDT)
That sounds good to me. However, when placing the wording in the policy we have to be careful to distinguish between rentals directly from the owner and rentals through an agency, --ClausHansen 04:58, 15 May 2010 (EDT)
That reads very well. Support from me.--Burmesedays 10:33, 16 May 2010 (EDT)
Re: Claus - could you suggest a change? I'd like to make sure I fully understand your concerns. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:33, 16 May 2010 (EDT)
I am fine with the wording as it is. But we should ensure that it is clear that it only relates to agencies. So maybe we should add a section stating that direct rentals from owners are allowed under the same requirements as for hotels, --ClausHansen 17:02, 17 May 2010 (EDT)
In the interest of wrapping up this discussion I've updated the policy with the proposed wording above, but please clarify as needed. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:53, 17 May 2010 (EDT)

Hotel chains

Our policies on listings for hotels etc. states very clearly that there is only one listing per business. In general practise this also applied (to my knowlegde) to hotel chains. E.g. there should only be one IBIS/Mercure (both Accor) or one Hilton hotel listed in a town and not all to allow diversification per our policy. Claus has pointed that this is not explicitly stated in our policies and we should make it clear. I think it's important and so far standard that only one listing per business also applies to chains that market their hotel under different brands but are one company. Lately some chains entered massively hotels (e.g derag that ended on our blacklist) from one chain in one city (e.g. Berlin/Mitte) and it should be clear that this is a non-goal. jan 11:25, 24 March 2010 (EDT)

Not quite. The policy is one listing per establishment. There is no practice of disallowing more than one hotel by the same chain. If there are three Hilton hotels in a town with only three hotels, each should be in the article and marked on the map. If you look at some of our star articles (e.g., Chicago/Near North#Sleep, Washington, D.C./East End#Sleep, etc.) you will see that we do indeed list more than one establishment per chain (we just try not to overdo it!).
The relevant policy is at Wikitravel:Don't_tout#General_guidelines. You'll note that it says: businesses should be listed in only one article for the town in which the business operates. If we took "business" to apply to the business owning a chain, that would mean we could only list one Marriott in only one article throughout all Wikitravel!
Speaking for myself, I do sometimes crop excessive listings on one page for one chain, usually added by a marketer, but only when there are already plenty of sleep listings in the article. But that is a separate matter, related to our non-goal of being a business directory. --Peter Talk 14:23, 24 March 2010 (EDT)
Peter, you started with the rare exception that there are only three hotels in a certain place but I assume that a huge majority of places we have at Wikitravel have more than our aim of 5-9 listings states. Wikitravel:Accommodation_listings#Pruning_accommodation_lists says Try to ensure there are a range of accommodation styles, prices and locations for the traveller to choose from so a chain that is worldwide the same will not fit diversity in 90%+ of the cases. Also dt states businesses should be listed in only one article for the town -and as a chain are one business in my view- we should limit them accordingly. Additionally Wikitravel:Goals_and_non-goals says we are not a web directory and External links should support and complement the content of articles; they're not a goal in and of themselves which would be true if all 4100 Accor hotels (remember the NH hotel chain that for a while plastered all there hotels at WT and damaged a lot of articles) would be in. To sum it up: I think we are not far away in our points and can argue on for some time. To be practical I suggest the following In general hotel chain should have only one listing per chain in one article. In the rare event, that a place has only hotels from one chain, then multiple listings are fine. This is especially needed for Asia where lots of articles get regularly flooded by chains/markets (see Coron for a year long battle about that!).jan 15:19, 24 March 2010 (EDT)
How about a more realistic example where a town has a lot of hotels but only four budget hotels of which two are from the same chain. In my opinion it is diffuclt to see how it can be in the interest of the traveller that we have a policy saying that we can only list three of these four hotels. Therefore, the suggested policy above is too restrictive. On the other hand, we need a policy clearly allowing us to delete a massive presense from one chain. Could that be something like: "More than one hotel from the same chain is only allowed in an article if it is needed to give the traveller a sufficient number of hotels to choose from"?, --ClausHansen 15:40, 24 March 2010 (EDT)
Claus: I would like to clearly state what is the norm and what is the exception because otherwise marketers will always start to argue. I suggest Every article should reflect the diversity of local accomodation options, so only one listing per hotel chain is the norm. In case there are insufficient accomodation options then multiple listings are acceptable. imho it is more to the point. jan 15:52, 24 March 2010 (EDT)
I have no objections to that, --ClausHansen 16:25, 24 March 2010 (EDT)

I don't think it's at all fair to treat a chain of hotels as a singular business entity. Quite often, especially in the case of chains like Best Western, hotels are independently owned and operated, licensing the chain's name and with it its cachet. For instance, one of the big downtown hotels in Rochester (New York) recently switched from being the Clarion Riverside Hotel to the Radisson Hotel Riverside Rochester. Now, perhaps the Clarion wouldn't have been listed at all because there are other Choice Hotels (Quality Inn, EconoLodge, etc.) around in the suburbs, but let's assume not. Should we then remove the listing when it changed brands to Radisson just because there are other Radissons already listed? They're not owned by the same owner, and not competing for the same clientele. (Likewise, if you think I'm going to remove listings from the Walt Disney World articles just because the hotels are (mostly) all run by the Walt Disney Company....) LtPowers 20:50, 24 March 2010 (EDT)

We don't have a target of 5–9 hotels per article. Rather, we generally aim for 5–9 listings per section (e.g., "mid-range"). But that's certainly not a rule. If there are more worthwhile recommendations, then we should make them.
I don't think we need a hard policy to combat excessive chain marketing—just go ahead and prune them when a marketer is being abusive. If a marketer has clearly added 5 of their hotels, cut out two or three. We already allude to this type of pruning in this policy article: Try to ensure there are a range of accommodation styles, prices and locations for the traveller to choose from. That addition was also a product of the very relevant discussion above. --Peter Talk 22:48, 24 March 2010 (EDT)
Hmmm. In articles where there are already a lot of hotel listings, I do tend to prune multiples from the same chain. A recent example was five Floris hotels listed in Brussels. I do not see the need for a hard and fast rule, but in locations where there are lots of listings, then multiples from the same chain will always be at the top of my list for pruning. Claus' example is very relevant though, and I do not see the need to cut multiples if there are only a handful of listings in total.--Burmesedays 23:22, 24 March 2010 (EDT)
LtPowers: Best Western might be individually owned but the marketing is done by the chain and in several articles I saw that a lot of Best Western hotels had been listed by a pro not by a single company in one rush. As discussed above Walt Disney World would be an exception of the rule because at Disney World parks you only have Disney hotels next to them. I don't want to progressive delete hotels but if there is diversity then we should maintain or enhance it.
Peter: Claus asked me why I argued with a Marketer that entered several hotels from one chain in an article (follow-up of derag and PREM discussion) because the policy is not clear on that. This is why i started this discussion so we have a clear rule.
Burmesedays: The discussion is ongoing several times with marketers and as stated above clarification ws requested. My suggested addition to our policy explicitly says In case there are insufficient accomodation options then multiple listings are acceptable. jan 02:48, 25 March 2010 (EDT)
I still think it would be relevant to mention how we see multiple listings from the same chain, this does not need to be a hard and fast rule, but why do we not want to mention chains at all (except indirectly through mentioning diversity)? I raised this question because I saw references from Jan and Burmesedays to a non-existing 'one-listing-per-chain-policy', --ClausHansen 03:20, 25 March 2010 (EDT)
The one-listing-per-chain-policy is based on the diversity part of the accomodation policy and Claus is right that it is not explicitly written down. My experience with bigger cities is that we are flooded with listings and got to make decision which entries we keep and what are our goals. If we leave this to an unspecific policy then everybody will check tripadvisor because SEO's will take over the sleep sections here (like they have done already in most cities). See Vienna as a prime example for it where i combat the re-introduction of several Renaissance hotels in the splurge section. jan 04:15, 25 March 2010 (EDT)

Checkin / Checkout Times

I'm sure I missed the discussion that led to this edit, but why would we leave off checkin/checkout times when they don't deviate from the standard? It doesn't seem like it hurts us to include this information, and doing so offers some reassurance that the checkout times are standard. A listing without checkin/checkout could mean that the times are standard, or it might mean that information was simply omitted from the listing, so the user will be forced to check the hotel web site rather than getting complete information from our guide. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:54, 21 April 2010 (EDT)

The lack of need for listing standard checkin/checkout times was an issue at the star nomination for Walt Disney World/Downtown Disney. Peter pointed me to the discussion above, #Check in / Check out, in which there seemed to be a consensus that they were unnecessary in most cases. LtPowers 13:34, 21 April 2010 (EDT)
Thanks, I missed both of those discussions. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:37, 21 April 2010 (EDT)
However: (1) standard time is different at least from country to country; I think it's standard in Russia to have 12pm as both standard checkin and checkout time. (2) I still believe that we need to include checkin/checkout times even if they are standards for example in St. Petersburg, as it becomes on of the factors to consider for early arrivers by an overnight train from Moscow.
To convert that into changes to this page, I propose something like the following instead of [19]:
Don't include checkin and checkout times unless they deviate substantially from the local standards (but make sure that standards are specified at proper level) or unless the destination specifics require to specify checkin-checkout times for every hotel (like in StPetersburg where ...).
--DenisYurkin 14:53, 21 April 2010 (EDT)
I agree with Denis that the local "norms" should certainly be specified in the preamble to any sleep section. --Burmesedays 20:44, 21 April 2010 (EDT)
That seems like a good idea for probably all country sleep sections. --Peter Talk 21:38, 21 April 2010 (EDT)

Generic email addresses..

What sort of accommodation provider worth their salt relies on a gmail or yahoo address for a contact email? It is obvious that lots of accommodation listings are using the email address to divert enquiries to a agency - or worse still even a fraudster. Lets modify our accommodation listing policies to say that we have a presumption against generic email addresses, unless they are listed on a hotel website or similar. --inas 00:36, 2 December 2010 (EST)

It certainly looks as though that is what is going on a lot of the time. However I also note that a lot of (legitimate) Indonesian providers use generic addresses. Sometimes I get a surprise and find that even really well established venues will use a (most often Yahoo) generic address. One hotel operator in Lombok had such dreadful ongoing problems with their domain name server provider that most of their domain name email server emails were getting lost, both incoming and outgoing. The problem went on for months and they had a large number of guest complaints. No doubt they lost a great deal of business. They have a Yahoo address they use as a back-up. If they were in that situation again and one of us came along and deleted the Yahoo address from their listing it would be less than helpful. Otherwise I completely agree with what inas is suggesting. Indeed only a few minutes ago I was dealing with just this problem at the Nusa Lembongan article. felix 01:48, 2 December 2010 (EST)
Large percentage of legit businesses catering tourists in Camargue, France have @wanadoo.fr email address, which is very close to generic (although yes, always published on their web site). --DenisYurkin 03:32, 2 December 2010 (EST)
Yes, in much of the less-developed regions of the world, gmail/yahoo addresses are pretty common for legit, albeit small-fry establishments. --Peter Talk 08:47, 2 December 2010 (EST)
If I go to a little effort, and go through 30 or so of these generic addresses in Asia, and verify that over 50% don't marry with any other sources on the Internet, would this be convincing? This policy change would be a presumption against a generic address, so if someone adds one to a listing, and a quick search doesn't reveal that it is used by the hotel elsewhere, we dump it?
My question would be, as a wikitravel editor, if you saw an @gmail address for an Indian hotel or an Indonestian resort, would you use it to book at be confident when you turned up you would have contacted the hotel direct, and have accommodation waiting? If you can't honestly answer that you would, how can we expect our readers to? --inas 17:35, 2 December 2010 (EST)
With respect, and as someone who regularly attends reported crime briefings, you underestimate the number of legitimate businesses that use Google GMAIL addresses. Some businesses use GMAIL for the advanced search capabilities, others with large customer relations staff use GMAIL because more than one person can easily edit the same document (eg via Google Documents). The spam filtering and speed of delivery is also pretty neat!125.237.57.55 04:49, 6 December 2010 (EST)
gmail/gapps work fine within a domain. I am talking about generic addresses here.
However, this is really beside the point. I think most generic address on wikitravel are agents. Not criminals, just people out to make their commission on top. I'm sure there are a few scammers too. Since generic addresses are extremely hard to verify with no domain owner, a presumption against them would allow us to remove ones that are clearly suspect. At the moment we put our readins at risks they may not consider. --inas 05:37, 6 December 2010 (EST)
I think it would be fine to ditch them when they are not listed on the hotel's official website. Much of the time, I'm not sure emails are really needed, anyway. --Peter Talk 13:58, 6 December 2010 (EST)

More than happy with that position - I think it is firmer than my original one :-) --inas 19:19, 6 December 2010 (EST)

How to organize extensive details on ClubMed

Moved back from Wikitravel:Travellers' pub

I am considering to share my recent experience with ClubMed, an all-inclusive resort in Chamonix-Mont Blanc, France. Details are extensive, and they are both about:

  • deciding whether to stay there
  • and how to make most of the stay once you are there

One issue is that it looks like gonna take more than a single paragraph.

Another is that this is my first experience with ClubMed chain, and very likely half of details actually applies to ClubMed everywhere (but I'm not sure which half :-) )

So the questions are:

  • will both types of content be welcome here at Wikitravel?
  • OK if I put a concise summary for the business in Chamonix, linking for details to a separate article
  • based on our nursery approach, I am considering to create that separate article as a travel topic like "All-inclusive resorts" (or something like that) where (a) both general info on all-inclusive establishments should emerge some day, (b) generic advice and characteristics for ClubMed (and also other chains, if they exist) should be given, and (c) extensive details on individual ClubMed (and other-chain) establishments should be listed.

Anything wrong with my plans? :-) --DenisYurkin 15:35, 19 January 2011 (EST)

All-inclusive resorts are tricky to fit into our normal article structure. Might want to raise the question on the Pub for more visibility, since I don't know the answers to your questions. LtPowers 17:24, 19 January 2011 (EST)
It is a tricky thing.
I'll start by saying that I don't think that all inclusive resorts have enough in common to justify a travel topic, because really they don't all have that much in common. Some are in the snow, some are on islands, some have buffets, some are a-la-carte. Some arrange transport, some even have internal transport. Some include meals, some charge for some services, like motorised craft. I don't know what would be left to include in the article.
However, some resorts have as much to write about them as some small towns. They are like a cruise ship. When these resorts are on islands, we seem quite comfortable in giving them their own article. When they are in towns or cities, then we resist and put them in the Sleep section.
I don't have a solution here, but I can identify the problem.
I think we could maximise a Club Med travel topic. There really is enough unique to the Club Med chain that can be added as useful information. Information that could let people know whether they want to choose Club Med, and how to get the most of their stay. I think it would be a shame if we had to call the article All inclusive resorts just to fit. ON the other hand, I'd hate to see a Sheraton, Hilton, travel topics popping, so we'd have to be careful we don't set up too slippery a slope. --inas 18:01, 19 January 2011 (EST)
I'm fine with creating a travel topic for ClubMed alone if it's OK to put details on individual ClubMeds as well, and if there is no other objections/considerations.
As for Sheraton/Hilton risk, I think the differentiating criteria here may be:
a) most (or only several?) ClubMed resorts are destinations in itself, where most people spend all or most of their time, and they intentionally head there for that.
b) there's a widespread scenario "I want to go for vacation for ClubMed. Which of them to choose this time?" I.e. people first decide that it will be ClubMed, and only after that they choose a destination with a particular ClubMed that meets their criteria for resort (and then destination). For Hilton and Sheraton, they normally choose destination first, and only after that they seek accomodation within it (even with preference to a specific chain). --DenisYurkin 13:31, 20 January 2011 (EST)
Las Vegas casinos are a similar problem - a single casino may have 5-10 restaurants, 2-3 Broadway caliber shows, and all manner of sights and activities. Perhaps we need another sub-section under "Sleep" or "Do" for places that are destinations in their own right? If we create a criteria similar to the rental listing criteria stating that any such section must be discussed on the talk page first, and preface each one with something like "The following resorts/casinos are large enough to be vacation destinations in their own right" with a hidden comment stating that any additions required discussion, would that be sufficient? -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:03, 20 January 2011 (EST)
The difference is that anything common to all casinos [in Las Vegas area] can be sticked to LasVegas article, but what's a place for things common to all (or most of) ClubMeds around the world? And, again, I'm sure it's losing much useful content if we try to squeeze all the important practical details into a single paragraph of listing description within destination guide article. --DenisYurkin 14:17, 20 January 2011 (EST)
And in Las Vagas, a visitor may dine in one casino restaurant one night, gamble at another another night, and visit a show in a third. I would say 95% of people who go to Club Med bintan, for example, never leave the resort. They arrive on the Club Med bus, get the traditional Club Med greeting, and at most take a Club Med excursion to see the sights. --inas 14:45, 20 January 2011 (EST)
Admittedly I know next-to-nothing about Club Med, but I think we should be cautious about creating articles for specific companies - we started down that route with airlines and it didn't turn out well. Is Club Med so different from (for example) Four Seasons resorts or Disney resorts that a separate, Club Med-specific article is needed? If not then I would think a sub-section of an article with a few paragraphs about the resort would be a better approach. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:05, 20 January 2011 (EST)
I agree with the challenges. I think Club Med is different from Disney or Four Seasons resorts. They have and promote a very distinct culture, across all their resorts. Inclusions, restaurant styles, services are all standardised across the resorts, and the % of people who don't leave them is much higher. They really do have much in common with a cruise ship. --inas 15:48, 20 January 2011 (EST)

OK, unless more objections appear, I am going to start ClubMed resorts article. Going to include detailed description of individual resorts and hoping someone will help to identify things that are common to the whole chain (which will go to the same article, under its own section). At the same time, respective destination guides will include summary of individual resorts, linking for details to the anchor in the travel topic in question. --DenisYurkin 17:29, 27 January 2011 (EST)

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