If you’ve never stayed in an inn before, or if you’re looking for someplace new, you will likely look at some of these “review” sites to see what previous guests have said about the lodging option in question. But how do you use these reviews to select the ideal bed and breakfast option for your needs?
Reviews are, by far, the best way to get a real feel for any inn. Real guests provide real opinions on their stay. They may mention the rooms, amenities, common areas, innkeepers, food, location… just about any detail about the inn. They will mention the good, and they will mention the bad. And by simply paying attention to their words, you can actually get a good feel for the overall ambiance of an inn.
When you look at reviews, we recommend you take special note of these items:
- Overall opinion – especially from people who report that they’ve been a frequent visitor of NOLA and its inns.
- Notes about ease of stay – some reviewers will mention parking options, transportation options, and whether they had any difficulties checking in, checking out, and using the common areas.
- Notes about location – while you can find general location info on an inn’s website, guests will tell it to you straight about whether an inn is quiet, about the neighborhood, and about nearby places to go.
Of course, EVERY innkeeper around loves to see the good reviews! Five-stars are cause for big grins, high-fives, and they make us feel good about what we’ve done for, and provided to our guests. But not everyone likes the same things, nor does everyone have a satisfactory experience. These are the instances that cause poor reviews.
Believe it or not, we do recommend that you look at these poor reviews as well! Pay special attention to:
- Date – How long ago was the review given? Have things improved since the review? Keep in mind that the review sites seldom delete older reviews so a review made 10 years ago, unless repeated frequently, may not be valid at all.
- Circumstances – Of course a guest who wants to party will not be happy in a quiet inn. Nor will someone who wants a relaxing getaway enjoy an inn in a loud setting.
- Attitude and Language – Discount the angry reviewer who never gave the Innkeeper a chance to make a service or product flaw right before they departed the property. We all make mistakes and deserve the opportunity to make a correction and offer compensation or gesture of goodwill before a negative comment is posted that may be online for eternity. Do not give credence to someone who made personal attacks or used foul language in the review.
- Replies – Some sites allow the innkeepers to reply to any review, whether it be good or bad. An innkeeper’s reply may help clear up any misunderstandings or commitments to improvement, meaning that future experiences will most likely be even better.
In the end, your research will go a long way towards assuring that you have a great bed and breakfast experience. Understand the differences between inns and hotels, the amenities you can expect from a particular inn, and definitely information gleaned from any reviews you read!