- They publish advertisements for accommodation of all types (hotels, apartments, campsites, independent rural accommodation, etc.)
- They have a reservation engine (24 hours) with immediate confirmation and show the availability of accommodation in real time through calendars synchronized with the rest of the platforms or through a Channel Manager integrated into a PMS (Property Management System) with which the property works.
- They issue a reservation number (essential when accrediting any claim)
- They have a Customer Service, which performs the tasks of mediator during any conflict between client and business.
- They have a Terms and Conditions of Use document for the platform that the user accepts, which specifies the booking conditions (hotel, flight, car rental, etc.)They have an online payment system that allows the user to use a payment gateway (Virtual POS) or make payments through other systems such as PayPal or Stripe without having to enter credit card information. In turn, the platform offers the owner the option to charge said amount through the data provided by the client (the owner enters the data of a credit card in his POS), issuing a B2B virtual card (the property enters in your POS the details of this card with a balance equal to the amount of the reservation on the check-in date) or receive the funds via bank transfer (usually transferred a few days after the client’s arrival).
- Pictures of the same accommodation: to clone the ad
- Pictures of other establishments with similar names or tradenames.
- Pictures of properties that are not available as vacation rentals but are published on real estate agency pages.
- They entern a license number into the system that usually does not correspond to the property
- They copy descriptions from other ads or from the same one they intend to clon
- Obtain customer credit card information and thus be able to quickly make illegitimate use of their funds.
- Clone the credit card
- Sell card details on the dark web
- Very cheap offer compared to other platforms
- Very expensive offer compared to other platforms
- Availability on only one of the platforms we have searched
- Discrepancy in location data (address, phone number from another country, etc.)
- Property pictures do not match on all platforms
- The pictures are not of the same size and quality (they are not in high definition)
- When we contact the property’s telephone number, no one answers us or when we ask certain questions by email we don’t receive an answer.
- When they call us from the property and ask us for personal information or our credit card, alleging technical problems.
- When we receive an email from the property requestion to make the payment again. We have to suspect whether we can prove that we have made the payment within the agreed period.
- When they require an advance payment from us via bank transfer to an account number where the property details do not match with the details of the credit accound holder.
- Title (review summary)
- Written review
- Value for money
- There are no rooms available with views at the time of check-in.
- We do not request any preference when booking.
- The establishment, even reserving Room with a view assigns us another one due to overbooking problems.
- When booking the same day of check-in at the establishment itself, it assigns us a room according to your convenience.
- Is it free or is it paid?Is it slow or is it fast?
- Does enough coverage reach the rooms or only in common areas?
- If it is paid, does it work correctly?
- If it’s free, clients are usually quite tolerant.
- Customers will never be completely satisfied, despite having selected their preferences (eg double bed, hard pillows, mountain views).
- The views are predetermined by the location or situation of the establishment.
- These should clearly state the views or room type at the time of booking. Arbitrarily assigning rooms without views creates discomfort among customers, whether they selected their preferences or not.
- Having a poor quality Wi-Fi connection, intermittent, only in certain areas of the establishment or payment, will generate anger among our customers, because nowadays no one could imagine paying a supplement for having electricity in our room.
- Perform maintenance tasks periodically (check the proper functioning of all installations).
- Allocate a budget item annually to improve our equipment.
- De-seasonalize the business: our seasonal offers do not imply a decrease in the level of quality of our services.
- Comply with all municipal ordinances and regional laws regarding tourist accommodation.
- Taking care of our image on the Internet: having a professional website and keeping our company profiles on social networks updated.
- Show professional photographs that always correspond to reality. Use proper and honest descriptions of our equipment and situation.
- Listen to the suggestions of our clients and quickly resolve their complaints. Always serve our customers with respect.
- Respond to reservation requests in the shortest possible time. Inform about our availability in real time (avoid overbooking)
- Create professional vacation rental contracts (establish the different entry and exit policies, bonds or security deposits, payment conditions, liability conditions, etc.)
- Create a document on Standards of Behavior and Use Inform about our Cancellation Policy (establish a penalty system to avoid “no-show” and minimize cancellations). Have a flexible rate system (our own algorithm must take into account our direct competition, the area of influence, seasonality, news about the sector, etc.)
- Before booking: ease and usability of the booking process, good communication with the accommodation, good presentation and professional image, etc.
- During our stay: comfort, cleanliness, value for money, staff, location, services, price charts with taxes not included, resolution of incidents, etc.
- After the reservation: advertising spam, additional charges on our bill for concepts not enjoyed or not consumed, etc.
- Total number of scores in the last 24 months (> 10)
- Origin of scores (Booking.com publishes the client’s country: what percentage each country occupies of the total)
- Type of reservation: group of friends, family, couples, client traveling alone, etc.
- Date of comment and reservation (high season, low season)
- Number of Ratings with comments vs Ratings without comments
- Excellent accommodations: >9
- Very good accommodations: <9 and >8.5
- Good accommodations: <8.5 and > 8
- Poor accommodations: <8 and >7.5
- Bad accommodations: <7.5 and >7
- Very poor accommodations <7
- Reservation number
- Check-in and check-out date
- Name and surname
- Passport or Identity Document Number
- Other security measures: last four digits of the credit card with which the reservation was paid, date the reservation was made, email associated with the reservation, last two digits of the reservation amount, etc.
How to avoid online scams when booking an apartment online?
Guide to avoid scams when booking an apartment: ghost reservations
Accommodations that do not exist where they say they are, systems that capture our personal data at the time of payment (phishing), false online travel agencies, false offers, accommodations without a license, etc. has caused users to increasingly have less confidence when making a reservation through a website, a collaborative economy platform or an online travel agency (OTA).
Tools to detect fake ads
Main characteristics of online platforms:
These platforms allow owners and managers of tourist accommodation to publish their advertisements based on specific rules and a predetermined design. In short, it is a standardized publication that creates a profile of the property or accommodation. Periodically, platforms usually update their rules of use and add new functionalities to the system based on user suggestions, which allow us to improve aspects of usability and efficiency.
For me, the best system that currently exists, with better functionality, design and usability, is Booking.com. Secondly, Expedia (more specialized in vacation packages). In the following posts I would point out the Airbnb and Tripadvisor systems, which are usually very easy to use, although the design of the extranet is light years away from Booking.com.
If the client does not respond to the platform’s requests, the property can cancel the reservation without any penalty.
Every day these platforms receive new registrations of properties that do not exist or do not comply with their rules. Villas in luxury residential areas, apartments on the beach, lofts in large cities, luxury penthouses, etc.
These new registries aim to publish ads that look real by creating fake profiles. For this they usually use:
What should make us suspect that the advertisement is false?
Normally, when there is a problem or technical failure with the reservation, the property will never ask us for personal data, but rather it will be the property that will contact the platform and it will contact us by email or by phone depending on each case. It will be your own Customer Service department that will contact us to resolve the problem or ask us to re-enter credit card information into the system in order to complete our reservation or any other information that may affect the effectiveness of our reservation.
Sometimes we may receive a fraudulent email that asks us to enter our passwords to access our interface or user page and thus obtain all our data illegitimately. Other times, we will access a web page cloned from the original (phishing) to make it look real. Therefore, we must be careful and always enter the correct domain name. We should never click on a domain from a search engine listing without reviewing said domain or url. It is also not advisable to open a link sent via email without checking that the link corresponds to the url of the original site.
It is therefore advisable, if we have suspicions, to consult the public databases of each Autonomous Community on Tourist Accommodations, obtain its license number and check whether the data obtained coincides with that of the publication consulted (name, location, telephone number, website). , etc.). In this way we will be able to detect establishments that illegally advertise under the umbrella of a single license or are registered with a false license number that surely belongs to another establishment.
On other occasions, we can detect web pages that try to simulate the establishment’s own website or pretend to be Reservation Centers, when in reality their main objective is to position themselves in the lists of the main search engines and Meta Search (metasearch engines), above their own. establishment pages. Many of these instrumental web pages are owned by well-known OTAs that duplicate the contents of their own advertisements under domains (URL) of the type:
In this way, they aim to capture reservations by redirecting traffic to their own website by opening a new window in our browser or by pretending to be an intermediary (partner) without leaving the same browsing window.
If the number of clicks on these domains is significant and greater than on the accommodation’s own website, it will cause search engines such as Google to organically place the official domains several positions below this instrumental domain on the first page or even on a second page. from the list.
Another type of scam that most customers are unaware of is overoccupancy.
Many of the establishments that do not comply with the regulations governing housing for tourist use and tourist accommodation establishments overoccupy with more places than allowed according to regional regulations. The entity responsible for inspections in this type of establishments is usually the City Councils, although it is well known that they have technical problems in pursuing this type of actions.
The maximum occupancy is determined by the habitability certificate of each property. With this practice, many accommodations compete unfairly by offering a price differential of up to 50% compared to establishments that do comply with said regulations.
We believe that accommodations have to meet certain habitability conditions as an essential requirement to offer a quality service. We consider that this type of practices (sofa bed in the dining room, folding beds in the hallways, bunk beds on both sides of the room, etc.) detract from the comfort of the room, generate serious problems of coexistence with neighbors and gentrification in the more central and tourist areas of the towns, degrading the urban space while it loses its identity, the basis of its current wealth.
We encourage you to report bad practices, abuses and scams (or their attempts) at the Citizen Service Offices, on the online platforms themselves or before any Official Organitzation.
Tools to answer the satisfaction survey about our experience in the accommodation we booked.
In our blog, we disseminate good practices. Through a series of posts, we will try to offer you tools to have good judgment in the process of selecting an accommodation from the published listings. In this way, we will minimize the risk of booking poor quality establishments, falling into scams or cheating offers and we will reserve with peace of mind, obtaining a high hit rate, thus avoiding bad experiences.
In this post we are going to explain how to assess our stay after checking out an accommodation booked through the Booking.com platform.
In order to correctly assess an accommodation, first you have to differentiate 3 main blocks:
The system that Booking.com uses so that users can issue an evaluation of their stay is quite simple and fast. It is not mandatory to leave a written comment to be able to evaluate the stay, but it is necessary to enter a title as a synthesis of our comment and to rate the experience globally through a scale of 1 to 10.
In the past, before the end of 2019, the system asked us to rate the following categories, and a weighted average was obtained through 4 emoticons according to the degree of satisfaction. Each emoticon had a score of 2.5 out of 10.
Currently, a global rating is assigned although categories such as: bed comfort, breakfast, Wifi or Views can also be scored (although it does not affect the overall score).
The “Comfort of the Beds” and the “Views” are two very subjective aspects. In the first place, it is very difficult for everyone who visits us to experience the same sensation when sleeping in a bed, since it is an element with a very wide range of preferences. We are surprised that the system allows us to assess a category such as “Views”, because in principle, the ad should show through the photographs, what views our room or the accommodation in general has. It is true that many times, the establishment assigns a room with views that do not correspond to those requested (beach, street, mountain, etc.), for various reasons:
Rate the «Wifi» category, will depend on several factors:
Normally, the client expects to have a basic service such as having a quality Internet connection (although it is true that in more isolated areas, technical difficulties may arise, therefore, we have to be understanding). When we go to assess this connection, it is easy to compare our fiber optic connection with others of lower quality. Not all accommodations can afford to make an investment to offer quality Wi-Fi connection in all rooms. That is why many times they offer this connection only in common areas. Although today many technical problems have been overcome and it is not a problem, there are still obsolete facilities that present deficiencies. It will be up to the management of each establishment to allocate an item to renovate or update the facility.
Minimum essential requirements to become a reference accommodation:
Satisfied or Very Satisfied?
We are aware that the quality perceived by the client is always a subjective data, but don’t you think that an opinion should be based on a mixture of objective and subjective variables?
In other words, if the accommodation has fulfilled everything that it sells and publishes (services, comfort, cleanliness, real photographs, descriptions, invoices without unsolicited concepts, etc.), why are there clients who do not score with the highest rating ?
When an accommodation complies with what it publishes, and the client receives what was agreed, even many times exceeding their expectations, it should receive the highest rating. But surely you wonder: and if the photographs really correspond to the advertisement, but the beds were uncomfortable or the treatment of the staff was not adequate?
Before answering, we should reflect and ask ourselves:
Are they uncomfortable because they are old? Are they uncomfortable because I usually sleep on soft beds? Are they uncomfortable because I usually sleep in oversized beds?
Dealing with the staff has not really been adequate? Did the staff attend to my complaints? Did the accommodation solve (as far as possible) my problems? Did the property try to do what it could to reverse the situation?
Have I read all the information about the rules of behavior and use of the establishment? Did I get enough information about the House Rules? Did the vacation rental contract include some kind of hidden or abusive clause? Still, did you agree with them?
Many times, clients try to assess their stay with a certain lack of rigor. We cannot assume or expect that all accommodations will renew their beds and pillows annually. Nor can we demand that a tourist apartment that does not offer the services of the hotel industry, have daily cleaning and change of sheets without being a hotel or aparthotel. Each type of establishment has a cost structure that defines it.
The equipment of an accommodation suffers a certain depreciation throughout its useful life. The wear and tear of each element will depend on the type of client, whether it undergoes continuous or sporadic use, whether it suffers from hidden defects, its own planned obsolescence and the lack or lack of maintenance.
It is advisable to rate with a “Very Satisfied” instead of “Satisfied” when we perceive a real effort on the part of the management and staff of the establishment so that we have a comfortable, pleasant and exceptional stay.
Our experience traveling plays a fundamental role, but we cannot base our assessment exclusively on past experiences. Our recommendation is to observe different elements that make up the establishment: before the reservation, during and after.
How do we detect the truthfulness of the reviews?
Comments posted on Booking.com are deleted after 24 months. This policy favors renewal and offers the possibility for many establishments to draw up improvement plans, adopting the necessary measures not to leave the system, stay or upgrade.
Scores are smoothed out and statistical observations far from the mean end up disappearing or have little influence on the final result. To do this, establishments must maintain a significant number of opinions within 24 months of generation.
We can filter the establishments in order of score. Still, we recommend looking at some of the following features to try to detect fraudulent comments:
Normally, establishments that try to generate a false reputation through illegitimate comments tend to have few comments (between 5 and 10) with an average score of 10, the opinions come from the same country, they are usually customers who travel alone and they tend to be issued in low season. The percentage of ratings without comment is usually higher than the percentage of ratings with comment.
When an establishment simulates a reservation, Booking.com could cross their data, so they get the data of an employee and make a reservation equivalent to the minimum stay (eg 1 night). They will have previously modified the price in order to pay the minimum commission to Booking.com and thus obtain a fraudulent evaluation without comment. Their only goal: to get bookings through good reputation.
Booking.com, like other platforms and online travel agencies, does a hard job to detect false opinions that it eliminates and of course tries to prevent them from being published. Once the behavior of the collaborating user is detected, he ends up closing his account.
Traveller Review Awards 2021
Every year, Booking.com rewards its collaborators with an average score higher than 8.5 (establishments that publish ads on its online platform) with the «Booking.com Traveller Review Awards». We can publish this recognition in the form of an award on our website or on our social networks.
We consider that an average of 8.5 to obtain this recognition is a low grade, since excellence would have to start from a minimum of 9.
Our own classification is as follows:
How to achieve neutrality in the system?
On occasion we have detected clients who are themselves users of reference communities such as Tripadvisor. They usually use as a cover letter the number of reviews or opinions they have written in this medium to intimidate or even coerce the establishment. There are also cases in which the client requests to obtain free accommodation in exchange for advertising through their social media accounts. In case of refusal, the “influencer” tries to threaten the establishment or retaliates, all of which are criminal behaviors. The fact of having traveled a lot does not automatically imply becoming a critic …
It would be essential that the accommodations could also provide information or simply their version about the behavior of their clients. At Booking.com it is possible to respond to comments, as long as the user leaves us a written comment. Other platforms such as Airbnb only publish comments once the customer and establishment have written their opinion. On the other hand, Tripadvisor or Google, allow unidentified users to write reviews about their stay, something that generates uncertainty and little reliability. All systems should confirm if our client has a valid reservation number and in turn if we recognize him as a client. Then, without knowing the content of the opinion and after our confirmation, the comment should be published, not without these requirements.
In order to comment on an establishment, it should be mandatory to prove that the client has actually stayed in said accommodation by providing evidence such as:
These security measures would provide reliability and neutrality to the system. Like any system based on natural selection, we would minimize opportunism and the fraudulent use of “platforms or communities of opinion” to favor or injure accommodation. This same system should not allow the registration of new opinions in the database by clients who have made malicious use or who tend to perform bad practices. Likewise, there should be a black list of conflicting clients or a history of bad behavior. We would thus avoid being victims of the system itself in duplicate: first by having to house a person with a high risk of bad behavior and second by the risk of being coerced and issuing a negative assessment of our establishment.
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We propose a series of activities to do with family or friends and combine it with your beach vacation. Our goal is to present the most unkown environment inside the Costa Daurada by the majority in order to discover the cultural, landscape and natural heritage of this magnificent place and promote outdoors activities. Priorat region offers an important and very interesting range of proposals throughout the year.
Undoubtedly, one of the most liked children is a visit to the Museum of the Mines of Bellmunt del Priorat, opened in 2002 and located in the industrial complex of the Eugenia Mine, at the foot of the “Turó of Sarrai” 400 meters the municipality of Bellmunt and a few kilometers from Falset, the capital of the region. This mining-metallurgical complex was the most important of Catalonia with regard to the extraction of galena, an ore of lead, both in quantity and quality.
This is one of the most beautiful and emblematic of the Costa Dorada trips: the Camino de Ronda, recently remodeled and with spectacular views, bordering the Cap Salou. This route has a low level of difficulty and although the road reaches a maximum height of 77 meters above the sea level, with sections having a little difficulty, most of the route is practicable for everyone. Through gateways , stairs and paths lead us to much of the coves and beaches of Cap Salou.