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Dave's Family Travel Tips

June 2007

At DTR Travel Inc., we are always looking for better ways to provide value added services for our customers. Sharing valuable travel information and tips is just another way to keep you informed.

This Month's Tip(s): Your accommodations can make or break your vacation

After almost 30 years in the business I am still intrigued by how consumers choose where they will stay on their hard earned vacation.

In my opinion your accommodations are the most important aspect of your vacation. I hear people often say we are not in the room that much so just as long as it is clean we will be ok with it, I just want the best price. Until they get there…..

Once there, instead of saving money, the feeling changes to you wasted a ton of money, and your valuable vacation, by staying somewhere that was not a good fit. Don't get me wrong; a Deluxe 5 Star resort can be just as disappointing if the fit is not right.

I have inspected over 100 resorts in Mexico alone over the past 2 to 3 years and I can tell you from experience that the minute you drive up to a resort you have established an opinion. Then as you walk into the lobby you either feel comfortable or leery. Once you see the room it can make or break your vacation. Not that the resort or the room is terrible, it just did not meet your expectations. And everyone's expectations are different. Think about when you have been in the market for a house or renting an apartment. You establish an opinion very quickly whether it is the right fit or not.

I would say 90 percent of travelers do one of two things the minute they walk into the hotel room. They will either check out the view or inspect the bathroom. Next time you are traveling, take notice of what you do first. Think about how different the experience would be with a gorgeous view compared to a view of the next building or a parking lot. It really sets the tone for the rest of the vacation. And my advice to all hotels is make sure the bathroom is spotless and no mold in the shower. When I inspect a hotel the first thing I look at in the bathroom is the ceiling of the shower.

I think the part that intrigues me the most is how much credence people put on those resort reviews on Tripadvisor and other review sites. How can one person give a resort a lousy review and the next person rave about the resort? Easy, everyone is different and have different expectations. If a resort has, let's say 300 rooms, and averages an 80% occupancy level they have about 240 rooms full every day. If you say the average resort stay is 7 nights you can figure over 12,000 people stay at that resort over the course of a year.

So why are there not thousands and thousands of reviews in the same year for any given resort? Because the ones that write the reviews are the ones that are either, mad at the resort for whatever reason and this is their way of letting the world know what a terrible place it is, or their expectations were exceeded and they want to write a wonderful review. Consumers will take that small percentage of people's opinions as gospel. I wish they required people to post their age as part of a review. I know my view of the world is different than when I was in my 20s. My expectations are completely different. Not that a 20 year old's opinion is less valuable than a 40 or 50 year old, it just comes from a different perspective.

My job is to help weed through all the hype and misinformation posted on the Internet. My biggest challenge is managing the expectations of my clients. Once they arrive; hopefully they say this is exactly what I expected. I wish I could say I was 100% perfect in choosing the right resort but that would be unrealistic. I would still rather take my chances on a professional opinion rather than a few hundred people posting reviews online.

So as you plan your next vacation, spend more time on defining your own expectations and less time reading reviews of people that you do not know. The odds of you making the right choice will increase considerably.

Wishing you and your family safe journeys.....


David Rojahn, CTC
DTR Travel Inc.

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