The past seven months for me have been in and out of hostels and hotels all around Europe. For the most part, I was changing places every couple of nights. As you can imagine this is an exhausting process, especially when you are trying to stick to a budget and yet you are attempting to avoid the annoyances of dormitory rooms.
In BCM210, we have been talking about media research and what it means to make an informed decision. My lifestyle decisions travelling, has been based largely off research. I kept mainly to two websites I trusted, to help me find nice places to stay around Europe. These sites also have apps, which was made the information very accessible. My favourite sites were hostelbookers.com and booking.com. Searching these websites and apps was ‘informing the personal decisions I made’ (McCutcheon, M. 2015).
A lot of my friends when it came time to choose a place, would click on the cheapest and just go for that. For me however I was ok to pay $10 more to avoid the nasty snorers, the late night loud drunks and more importantly the damn bed bugs! I felt a certain amount of responsibility when it came to choosing a place. My conclusion after it all however, hostels are hostels. You can get lucky or you can luck out. For me I lucked out twice big time with bed bugs, six times with snorers and numerous times with loud noisy drunks. No matter the dollar paid sometimes those things are unavoidable.
To ensure I didn’t go crazy nearing the end, we would choose to stay in a hotel once a week. Some people refer to this as ‘flash packing.’ I would look forward to the nights in a hotel to enjoy the peace of my own room and a have a shower that isn’t clogged up with hair.
Going back to the websites, I judged the hotel/hostel initially off the pictures. If it looked decent enough that was great, I would then turn to customer rating’s to help me decide. From there it was up to the reviews to help with the final cut. By doing this I believed I was making a well-rounded and informed decision.
I tried my best each night we moved, to find the best deal. This would take a fair amount of research in the afternoon before or the morning of. Sometimes it was stressful not knowing where you were ending up the next day, but for the most part it was exciting. Moreover if the place was pox, we knew we could just cancel the remaining nights, jump back on the booking websites and move on.
These websites are largely built off user content. That means every day I was receiving emails to write reviews for the places we had stayed the previous night, so that other people have the most updated reviews. I would say there was a fair amount of hypocrisy in what I was doing as even though I was basing my decision off these reviews, when it came down to it, I never wrote reviews myself.
So, my deduction for this scenario is that everyday research is important however it is flawed, as only a small amount of people contribute to the user content of these websites. Not everyone shared his or her thoughts; therefor the information could be inferred as bias as people who are willing to make a review either had a really fabulous or a really bad time. There was no middleman in this. To conclude, research was important for me, no matter the bias in this instance, as I felt it was better than just rocking up!
McChutcheon, M. 2005. ‘What is Media Research?’. BCM210, University of Wollongong, Wollongong. 18/03/15.