How to To Avoid Booking A Crappy Hotel Online

Here at The White Dove Rockotel it's our goal to meet and exceed guests' expectations. Often this seems to be what happens. We've received many 5 star reviews and positive verbal feedback. There has also been some constructive criticisms which we take to heart and try to improve on.  Why be in the hospitality business if not to make sure people have an amazing time during their precious vacation days? As such we do a lot of reading and researching what works for other small hotels and their guests. One thing I have noticed that seems to lead to what I'll call "miscommunication of expectations" is guests booking through online booking engines such as, tripadvisor or expedia. These sites work great for the average cookie cutter-type of hotel, there is a form a hotel fills out to be included on their site and limited choices of how to present what the hotel has to offer. A boutique hotel such as The White Dove Rockotel has a hard time conveying it's true identity through these sites. Occasionally, because of this we host guests who seem a bit confused by our keyless no hassle check-in, our modern streaming tv system and custom blend of vintage and designed decor.

As avid travelers ourselves, we encourage all vacationers to be proactive about their choice of accommodations. The first thing to do is consider what YOU like about other places you have stayed. No one place can ever be all things to all people. The perfect vacation is made by knowing what the perfect vacation means to you. From there follow the links off the generic booking engines to a hotel's home site. Check out their room options and amenities. Call the front desk, often small places have a small staff. By speaking on the phone guests can get a feel for the vibe of the hotel and the desk can answer any specific questions. Google the name and location of a couple of your choices and see what might pop up. Look in google images as well!

Below are 8 more great tips on finding a place to stay from the website Thrillist! Our additional comments in red!

8 Ways to Spot a Crappy Hotel When Booking Online

Originally Published on 7/17/2015 By Nadia Imafidon

Nothing can ruin a trip faster than arriving at your hotel to find it's located in a sketchy 'hood, falling apart, or plagued with one of these 99 problems. And that the amazing online deal you thought you got actually means you'll be sleeping ON TOP of the comforter and with a chair propped in front of the door.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of online tools and telltale signs (from review sites and Google Maps to weird photos and bed-bug registries) to help tip you off that you might be booking a crappy hotel. Here are eight of the them.

The photos are artsy or distorted...

It's listing a room, not curating an art exhibit. For no reason (other than being sneaky, really) does a hotel need to post creative, artsy images of its rooms. Close-up of a flower vase in the lobby, but no shot OF the lobby? Red flag. And if the photographer used a fisheye lens (which widens the shot), there's a good chance the rooms are probably small. Same goes for the excessive use of filters.

Check out our room photos by clicking on the "photos and details" link on OUR ROOM PAGE

… or the photos are way too good

On the flip side, be wary of pics that look too perfect. A staged, almost Photoshopped shot of the hotel pool or an unobstructed beach with a sexy woman in a bikini seems pretty perfect, right? But what you're not seeing is the construction site next to the diving board or the pesky giant building behind the dunes, both of which have been conveniently cropped out. Take a look at Oyster's Photo Fakeout section to see some examples of deceptive marketing. And always look at actual guest photos on travel review sites, rather than just marveling at how gorgeous the place looks in the hotel photo gallery.

You are not going to find any photo trickery with us. We like to think our unique design speaks for itself!

The website is straight outta the ‘90s

Or is riddled with typos. Or seems belligerent at times. Don't get us wrong, there's nothing like a good throwback Mistral font to elicit fond memories of the early web, but let's put it this way: if the managers/owners aren’t taking the time to present their hotel in the best light online, it’s highly unlikely that they're spending a lot of time tending to the actual hotel either.

We custom built our WEBSITE to match our design and business aesthetic. 

Google Maps reveals the TRUTH

And we're not talking about Paul Pierce. To see how well maintained the exterior of the property is, plug the address into Google Maps. If the outside looks run-down, chances are the interior is in similar condition. Sure, the images may be a few years old but you can at least then call to ask whether the place has been recently renovated. Also, take a look at the surrounding area to see if the hotel really is at the center of everything. They can say all they want about location, location, location, but you can use Street View to verify whether or not that’s a stretch.

Last I checked google maps street view was still showing the property pre our purchase and renovation. It's actually kind of fun to check out the google maps street view as compared to now. See below

pre renovation hotel site

The previous view from Tinker St.

The view from Orchard Lane pre reno!












current photo of the white dove


Duh, the reviews are really bad

Do your homework and see what other people have recently said about their stay. If they are predominantly negative -- and were written last week -- it’s a no-go.

Check out our reviews FACEBOOK Tripadvisor Airbnb Expedia

And the manager is negative online

If the property's managers are responding to complaints on review sites in an aggressive, defensive, or hostile manner, they are likely unhelpful and rude in person as well. Avoid hotels on their worst behavior.

We like to respond to every review online. Sometimes to highlight comments in the review, other times to clarify comments for future guests, occasionally to apologize and note that we hope to do better!

It's listed on the Bed Bug Registry

Nothing's worse than crawling under the covers to find things crawling on you. The Bed Bug Registry is a one-stop database for anyone who's encountered/reported bed bugs at a hotel. Do a quick search -- if your dream resort shows up, best abort the mission.


The website reflects the location and not the lodging itself

Red flag if you’re reading accounts of the surrounding block, neighborhood, city, etc., but nothing about the actual property. And if they're paired with photos of the skyline or beach, and not the rooms, it’s a no-brainer -- the place is a dud.

Our website really strives to introduce our hotel because really, what introduction does the "most famous small town in America" need! But we do offer an in room tablet loaded with local suggestions and day trips in our surrounding area! We are also always available by phone to answer or suggest any local guidance you need. Just give us a ring! (845)306-5419