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::::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. [[User:Jpatokal|Jpatokal]] 12:11, 9 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. [[User:Jpatokal|Jpatokal]] 12:11, 9 February 2008 (EST)
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::::: Jani, it's pity that you didn't join this discussion earlier, before I edited the guidelines :-) --but never mind.
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::::: In my understanding, this is exactly what we discussed above.
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::::: 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".
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::::: Yes, I know that some hotels do know their coordinates (many of them 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? --[[User:DenisYurkin|DenisYurkin]] 13:39, 10 February 2008 (EST)
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::::: BUMP. --[[User:DenisYurkin|DenisYurkin]] 15:53, 18 February 2008 (EST)
  
 
:::Also, added a template for welcoming new users: [[Wikitravel:Welcome message#Business owners]]. --[[User:DenisYurkin|DenisYurkin]] 03:23, 9 February 2008 (EST)
 
:::Also, added a template for welcoming new users: [[Wikitravel:Welcome message#Business owners]]. --[[User:DenisYurkin|DenisYurkin]] 03:23, 9 February 2008 (EST)

Revision as of 20:57, 18 February 2008

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, [2].
  • 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, [3]. 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, [4]. Condos and homes offered direct by owner.
  2. Five Star Destinations, 453 East Hopkins Ave, Phone: 970-925 6638, [5]. Luxurious vacation rentals in Aspen.
  3. Country Village Rentals, 1-888-621-2877, [6] [7]. 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/. [email protected]

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 [8]. 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.

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), [9]. 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 [10] vs [11]. 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), [1]. 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)

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)
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 (many of them 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#Business owners. --DenisYurkin 03:23, 9 February 2008 (EST)
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)

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)