If you’re not sure how to book hostels in Europe, my BIGGEST piece of advice is to make sure you read the reviews on booking sites! The reviews are left by other travellers and are so crucial to making sure you don’t book hostels in Europe that offer low quality accommodation, bad service, or a boring atmosphere.
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How To Book Hostels in Europe
When it comes to comparing hostels online, the top booking site is Hostelworld.
Hostelworld is basically Booking.com for hostels. It’s the top site out there for comparing and booking hostels all over the world.
So before we get started, here is a run-down of their rating system.
“Our rating system on Hostelworld, has been redesigned to make it even easier for our customers to compare hostels. We know that being able to choose hostels based on the rating and reviews from fellow travellers is super important to our customers, so we’ve been working to simplify the ratings to make it easier to decide which hostel is right for them, and their trip.”
– Paul Halpenny, Group Director of Supply, Hostelworld, 2015
Back in the day, Hostelworld listings rated hostels out of 100%. But a new update means hostels are now rated out of 10.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
Rated 9.0 – 10 – Superb
Rated 8.0 – 8.9 – Fabulous
Rated 7.0 – 7.9 – Very Good
Rated 6.0 – 6.9 – Good
Rated 0 – 5.9 – No classification
How does this affect you?
I think most of us only booked hostels that were rated above 70/80% anyway. So the fact that hostels that now score under 6.0 are not included in the new classification probably won’t affect your decisions much.
But you now need to read reviews more than ever.
What is ‘Fabulous‘ for the majority of travellers may not be ‘Fabulous‘ for you. It all depends on what you want.
Booking hostels that are right for you
As I sit down to write this, there is a conversation going on behind me in the hostel common area between two guests who are trying to determine whether the hostel is meeting their needs.
One is saying that their goal when staying in a hostel is to explore a city and not meet people. While the other is trying to convince him that perhaps he should move to one that is smaller and calmer.
Choosing the right type of hostel for a trip can depend on a lot of factors that are extremely personal to each traveller. And one of the best ways to establish whether or not a hostel will meet your needs is by reading reviews left by other travellers.
So while I would always suggest booking hostels through their own website rather than Hostelworld, I still find Hostelworld incredibly important when evaluating the right hostel for you based on the reviews left on the site.
How To Book Hostels in Europe:
Read The Reviews!
Step 1: Head to Hostelworld
As I said, Hostelworld is like Booking.com for hostels. Which is why I’m using it in this demonstration about how to book hostels in Europe.
However you can take the same steps on Booking.com, Expedia, or any online booking site.
Step 2: List Hostels By Rating
Hostelworld automatically lists hostels according to availability for your chosen dates, so in order to see hostels listed by rating you will need to use the drop down at the top of the list.
Step 3: Check The Number of Reviews
Not surprisingly, a higher rated hostel with less than 100 reviews is likely to be less useful to you than a lower rated hostel with 3,000 reviews.
Of course, new hostels may be fantastic! But they’ll be looking to establish themselves, so you’ll need to use your common sense here.
For example if all the reviews left on a new hostel are left by travellers who have only ever left one review on the site – it may be that these are faked by staff of the hostel.
Step 4: Check The Review Author (‘novice nomad’ vs ‘avid traveller’ vs ‘globetrotter’)
The review author nicknames are based on how many reviews they have written since creating an account on Hostelworld.
‘Globetrotters’ are those users who have left the most reviews on the site. Therefore they’ve stayed in a large number of hostels, and their opinion may count for more than that of a novice nomad who is inexperienced with hostel travel.
Step 5: Sort By ‘Lowest Rated’
By taking a look at the most negative reviews left by travellers for a certain hostel, you will straight away be able to see what annoyed people the most during their stay.
This is especially effective when trying to decide whether a traveller has left a bad review for something that isn’t so important to you. For example, if a negative review mentions that the breakfast is too expensive, but you only take coffee for breakfast, then perhaps you can discount their rating.
Step 6: See How The Hostel Responds To Negative Reviews
In my opinion, the way in which hostel staff react and respond to negative comments is one of the biggest indications of how they will treat you in person once you arrive.
Most hostels will reply with an apology and a request to be contacted with further information so they can improve their hostel.
However any hostel that replies with an insult or degrades the customer in their reply gets crossed off my list.
I also include sarcasm in this. Hostels are homes but they are also businesses and in both circumstances the customer comes first.
When I’m choosing a hostel, I don’t find responses such as the one below acceptable.
I hope you find this demonstration on how to book hostel in Europe by reading the reviews helpful! If you need anything explaining, click here to watch the video or get in touch with me!
Finally, do you have any other tips on how to book hostels in Europe? Let us all know in the comments below!
Lots of love,
Lots of love,
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