Communicating with websites offering accommodation
Mostly, people tend to contact several websites offering accommodation at the same time, and then assess the replies as they get them. Here is how you can make the most out of your communications, and maximise your chances of finding your perfect accommodation.
It is crucial that you provide us with the right information
It is important to give as much information as you can so that the person responding can make a sensible suggestions. Don’t think that simply because you have sent an email that you will get a swift and comprehensive response. If the email is deemed to be tyre-kicking, or even sloppy, then you can expect a fairly weak response.
A strong email, or notes to a form (even if carefully scripted, and copied and pasted in each time you send), that clearly states the things you definitely need/want (centre of city, autonomous heating, etc) and the things you definitely don’t want (unsavoury area, stairs maybe, etc). In addition, clearly state the dates and number of people (including the number of separate beds and separate sleeping rooms required).
If you have any disability you MUST tell us. Not all descriptions include descriptions to indicate a particularly difficult set of stairs or whatever. Rome generally is not kind to those with mobility restrictions, so it is somewhat redundant to highlight something in the apartment that isn’t as bad as that around the apartment
That defines your parameters. Now you need to further refine YOUR personal touches to ensure that if you get someone responding to you that is really listening, they may just be able to get you something special/perfect.
These personal touches can include: Age, mobility, reason for the trip, whether you would like a balcony, windows out to a cobbled street, etc. Clearly state how important each of these items are. If you state “I need a balcony”, then you may find that you get few responses (balconies are wonderful but relatively rare). If you state “I would much prefer accommodation with a balcony”, you will receive many more quality responses.
Remember, if you happen to bump into someone who really cares about your stay in Rome, ensure they have enough information to help you. You may be dealing with people who will assess your requirements and offer a response based on what you say. If you are coming for business, your apartment/B&B requirements will be different from if you are coming to Rome to see the city and the sights.
Certain things cost more money, like the very centre, or a terrace, or air-conditioning, and you should bear that in mind. The cobbled street outside will probably come at a premium, but often is the real joy that makes peoples’ stay in Rome an exquisite one. Likewise, a short walk or bus ride may save you significant money to spend elsewhere on your holiday, either in Rome or somewhere else.
If you are unsure of your final requirements, you can state this, and ask for recommendations. Be careful in this case to assess the responses well (see below).
On this website, the request form asks the most basic information required. We need this as a minimum, but add plenty of notes to help staff really offer something useful and not waste your and our time. The notes section is the one that differentiates your requirements specifically.
Assessing the responses you get
People can build beautiful websites and fill them with corporate phrases of “the customer is the cats whiskers etc”, but your real test of a supplier is reality.
Email can be an excellent way to communicate. It is relatively if not very informal, and this allows a bit of flexibility to really understand each other.
The first thing to look for, if you have given quality information about your requirements, is to see if the person responding has referred to your email in any way. If not, or if not much, then you can be assured that you are either talking to someone with little interest in what you want (concentrating more on what they have) or it is a standardised response.
If you don’t get a personal feel at this stage, then it is unlikely you will get it at any stage with the supplier.
Level and Type of Detail
Incomplete descriptions of accommodation, like a few lines in an email, or very brief web pages, are also something that shouldn’t gain your confidence. On the odd occasion the place is fine and it is just not being presented well. But it would not be a bad bet that either the person responding doesn’t know the accommodation, or there is something not being said.
How we select our properties
All the hotels, apartments, bed and breakfasts have been visited by us here in Rome, and for the apartments and bed and breakfasts, the photos are all taken by us and our independent descriptions are given.
The properties have been selected for a number of reasons. The descriptions give the outline. There are a few standards. That of honesty and trust of the property owner to commit to their agreement to supply a clean and tidy standard with fresh sheets, towels etc (unless otherwise stated). But there are properties that are lavish, and those that aren’t. This allows a broad price range to those who will sacrifice the exclusive for the budget. Ultimately, it is definitely true here, you will get what you pay for. We hope to surprise you in just how much that is for your money.
Included in our selection of places to stay is a large variety of widely differing places. Our descriptions are designed to give you an excellent idea of what you will be experiencing during your stay. And we are told, and it is our experience, that the key difference between this accommodation and the more formal, is that you truly “experience” the city, and not just visit it.
Many people come to Europe with a very different understanding of terms, so we use this section to help clarify what we mean.