In many countries business owners hire touts to solicit customers. Touts go to train stations, airports, or open plazas and urge travellers to visit their employers' business.
Wikitravel specifically strives to avoid being an "advertising brochure" for any business, city, or service. Business employees, like everyone, are welcome to add information to Wikitravel, but we're making a travel guide, not a business brochure, so Wikitravel should not be used as a tool for advertising.
Edits might be reverted as touting if any of the following guidelines aren't followed:
Don't list the same place many times
Yes, a guest house may have a restaurant, a bar, an internet cafe and a dance show, but you need to pick one of "See", "Eat", "Drink", "Sleep" and "Contact" to slot it under. That said, exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis if, for example, a hotel has a famous, separately named bar or restaurant that also draws significant numbers of non-resident customers (use the article's talk page to discuss these rare instances). Also note that businesses should be listed in only one article for the town or district in which the business operates; if an article about the town has not yet been created, create it.
Don't add more than one URL
for a place, neither on one page nor on different pages. There is never a reason to do so, and it will mark your contributions as advertising spam in the eyes of other editors.
Describe, don't urge
Use the indicative mood to describe ("The food at Restaurant X is freshly prepared when ordered."), rather than the imperative mood for commanding ("Come to Restaurant X and sample its delicious fare straight from the oven!").
Avoid using flowery, vague terms
in descriptions, instead describe why it is so great. "This stunningly wonderful hotel is fabulously luxurious!" is meaningless; "More staff than guests, three heated swimming pools, and each room has a jacuzzi, a bearskin rug in front of the fireplace and panoramic windows with views of the Mighty Mountains" tells much more. "Good music, terrific staff and a great atmosphere" could apply to any bar; "Dark, smoky den crowded with local hipsters, with knowledgeable bartenders and live jazz on Fridays" gives some idea of what to expect.
(the best, the biggest, the tastiest, the most fascinating) unless they are objectively true and of specific interest to the traveller.
Avoid first person pronouns
Never say our restaurant, or we provide.
Don't write in ALL-CAPS
On the internet, writing in capital letters where not grammatically justified is considered shouting and is highly discouraged.
Avoid assertions of proximity
to nearby attractions. The description section of a listing is for describing that listing, not the rest of the town. If it's attached to the convention centre or right on the pier then note that using the "directions" attribute of the listing tag, but otherwise save descriptions of the area's attractions for the "See" section. Instead, contribute detailed lat-long coordinates of the property (see Wikitravel:Geocoding)—it will be much more helpful for a traveler choosing a place to stay.
Avoid references to third-party ratings and rankings
unless they are truly exceptional. For example, "Lonely Planet approved" should be avoided since there are thousands of businesses that are "Lonely Planet approved", but "rated the #2 hotel in the Middle East by Generic Travel Magazine in 2010" might be worth mentioning. Listings that include such references but provide no mention of why the business is highly rated offer little value to travellers; a long list of accolades is no substitute for actually describing the establishment.
Don't move your listing to the top
In most cases listings should be ordered alphabetically within a section. Moving a listing to the top of the list for any reason other than alphabetisation (or complying with a specially agreed, non-alphabetic, listing order) is considered touting.
Don't include referral codes in URLs
Some businesses use referral codes to track where traffic to their web site is coming from (example: http://example.com/site.html?from=wikitravel). Referral codes don't benefit travellers and will lead to removal of the listing.
Guidelines for business owners
If you own a business or work for a marketing company you should expect that your edits will come under more scrutiny than those contributed by travelers. As noted previously, business employees, like everyone, are welcome to add information to Wikitravel, but anything seen as advertising is likely to be removed. Additionally, because the goals of creating a travel guide often differ from those of hotel chains, tourism boards, and other business entities contributors should be aware that there are no guarantees that even properly-formatted listings will always be kept in Wikitravel guides. To make a contribution that is less likely to be removed:
and identify yourself as the owner of the business on your user page (but don't advertise the business there). Doing so adds some transparency by clearly identifying you as a business owner, and also gives travellers a way to contact you with questions.
Include exact prices
We know you hate to do this, but listings without pricing information may be deleted. Vague terms like "reasonable" or "affordable" are worse than useless. If prices vary, provide a price range (example: "$100-$200, varies by season").
Do not edit war
If your listing is removed look at the article history or, if you see a blinking red dot at the top right of the screen, on your user talk page to see why it was removed, and discuss it on the talk page for that article. Repeatedly re-adding a removed listing without first discussing why it was removed makes it more likely that editors will see your contributions as advertising, and less likely that your listing will be allowed.
Marketers and SEOs
Wikitravel gets numerous contributions each day attempting to market hotel chains and other businesses. As noted earlier, Wikitravel has no interest in marketing - this is a site for travellers, not hotel owners - so accounts that add multiple business listings that do not meet the guidelines above should unfortunately expect to see those contributions deleted, and in the worst case repeated violations of this policy may lead to blocking of the contributor's account and possibly blacklisting of the business in question.
In addition to the guidelines above, note that marketers must format listings correctly. Other editors will fix mistakes made by good faith contributors who add only one or two listings, but if you are adding multiple listings then it is up to you to make sure they adhere to the Wikitravel style guidelines. You must include full information, including price ranges, a properly formatted address (do not include city/state or province/postal code) and a useful, factually accurate description of the business with correctly formatted phone numbers; otherwise, your contributions will probably be removed.
Good. The following is an example of a good business listing. It is properly formatted according to our manual of style, includes an estimated price range for a standard double room, and has a description that provides useful, factual information for a traveller:
Edits inserting such listings are routinely deleted.