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I recently booked a reservation through hostelworld.com, and everything seemed fine. It was my first (though will be my last) booking through them, and I was initially optimistic. We had scheduled our booking for three nights initially, and shortly afterwards, I had to change the reservation to one night only. Aware of the no-refund policy for cancellations, I did not elect to cancel the reservation, but instead to modify it, and to apply the deposit for the three nights to that one night. The policy shown on hostelworld.com says nothing about modifications, other than something like, "If you wish to cancel OR AMEND your reservation, contact the hostel directly."
Fair enough. I contacted the hostel, and asked them to do it. This was well over 24 hours in advance, and they said they would do it. Well, they didn't do it. Instead, they cancelled the reservation so that hostelworld would refund my deposit, then charged me the full amount.
Upon my return home, I contacted hostelworld, because I had not received a refund (which should have been automatic if the hostel had cancelled the reservation). They said they would look into it, but did not get back to me. I had to contact them again two weeks later, and they said they would look into it again. After a few e-mails, they refused to refund my money, and hid behind their policy, which again, says NOTHING about modifications. For a measly $5 they could have refunded, they wasted all this time and money calling and e-mailing the hostel, and e-mailing me. They were very rude about it all, too. Heh, they might as well be called "HOSTILEworld." Even if it were the hostel's fault, they shouldn't penalize the paying customer, from whom they effectively destroyed what could have been a very long, mutually beneficial relationship.
It also turns out that the hostels don't make ANY money from this (as told to me by the hostel). The 10% deposits that you pay hostelworld.com, plus their service fees, go straight into their pockets, and the hostels themselves either lose money, or have to charge higher rates in order to offset their losses. I don't know whether or not hihostels.com or lonelyplanet.com operate this way, but at least hihostels.com operates an international network and membership, and lonelyplanet.com offers information, forums, and networking opportunities. I'd much rather pay one of these reputable companies to book my reservation than pay hostelworld.com.
More over, Hostelworld manipulate their rating at Trustpilot while selecting only the "good voters" to review them - first they send u an e-mail requiring your review for the accommodation you booked through Hostelworld and if you vote positively Hostelworld, ,,would you reccommended Hostelworld another travellers" then you will receive another request to review Hostelworld, but if your vote negatively for the Hostelworld you've been to you will never get the chance to write your personal opinion about Hostelworld in Thrustpilot.
If I have prevented anyone else from booking through hostelworld.com, I will sleep a little easier.
I used this website quite a few times during my gap year which I spent half on travelling. For a quick summary, it's a very informative website with many different types of budget accommodation (hostel, guest house, B&B etc.) that you can choose from, the pages are usually very detailed and often include photos/videos of the place, plus the customers' reviews are very useful.
I read the story of ms_memory's bad experience with the site, but I used it 10 times and have never had any problem with it. To make a reservation, you will need to pay 10% of the total cost of your stay online plus £1 for service charge, which is fairly reasonable considering the site is very well organised with maps & directions, videos & photos, and free reminder of your stay via text. If you are going to use this site a lot, you can buy a gold card that costs £5 and pay no extra service charge for a year.
After the booking, you will receive a confirmation email from hostel world and in it there usually include a useful city guide, with practical information for your travel (e.g. common phrases, temperature, festivals to look out for, brief introduction on popular tourist spots). The site accepts most credit or debit cards (dependent on the particular hostel though, some accept Visa credit and Mastercard only, some accept a lot more types of cards such as Solo) and I haven't had any problem with online payment with my Visa debit. I didn't cancel any of my booking so I don't have information on the customer service in that aspect, but from what I have experienced this site is an excellent comparison site and I would definitely use it again next time I travel.
Travelling is my big passion as you might have seen from my other reviews. During University time trips like 5months backpacking in Asia are not possible but I can always find time for a quick weekend in a great city.
I'm just about to book 2 nights in Bratislava and you can follow me through the process.
What is it?
www.hostelworld.com is a website to find and book accommodation in over 170 countries. Property types start with campsites over hostels to budget hotels so there's something for every taste.
The website can be used in over 20 languages and with the currencies Pound, Euro and US Dollar.
For who is it?
Everyone can use it, no registration or card is needed. You don't have to be under 26 or a student, no ISIC, nothing. It's free to use, quick, easy and reliable.
They don't even ask for my age or occupation.
How to use it!
So, I want to nights in a cheap hostel in Bratislava. I select on the front page 'Slovakia' and 'Bratislava'. My dates are the 24th & 25th of September, that goes just under the location. I select 2 nights and one traveller.
2 seconds till the results page comes up. It's in Euro and I have to change the currency to Pound. One click and that's done.
The hostel should be cheap so my sorting category is 'price'.
Hostel Possonium comes up with 10Pound per night and an overall rating of 83%. Sounds ok, let's have a closer look.
The Pound is for a night in a 10 bed mixed dorm. If you point with the courser on the price it shows you how many beds are still available. Oh, I have to be quick, only 2 cheapies left.
On the site I can find the description of the hostel, the facilities and photos.
Everything is easy to find and understand, photos are good quality.
That looks fine, now a quick look at the reviews and ratings
The Rating System!
A good - but sometimes misleading - way to judge the hostels before booking is to check the ranking. Percentage points are given on the results page with 100 being the best. This rating is divided into the following subcategories:
These categories are quite open and the results vary from author to author, what for you is an exceptable unfriendliness of the staff is for me inexcusable, what for me are just a few stains on the sheet is for you a major problem etc.
However, this problem is solved with the review section. User can write a short text about the hostel and their experience there. Some are just hilarious (no fresh fruit for breakfast in a 10Pound per night hostel in Bratislava etc) but you'll get the general idea.
The reviews are all ok, so let's go to the booking.
The booking is easy, I have to fill in my details and chose the payment form. All major cards are excepted. You don't pay the full amount now, only a 10% deposit plus 1 Pound service charge. For me that's 3 Pound with 19Pound due on check in.
That was incredibly easy, self explanatory and quick. It took me less than 10min to find and book a decent hostel in Bratislava.
My experience with hostelworld.com was always positive. I used the site to find and book accommodation in Spain, Italy, Germany, England and Ireland. The selection of hostels is great, they vary from cheap & grumpy to luxurious & incredibly expensive. The cheap & clean category is normally the one I'm going for, less comfort for less money is a motto that stick from my time at university.
The navigation is easy and I especially like the feature that you can sort the results by price, rating and availability. The map is also very useful, on my first trip to London we ended up staying in a hostel so far away from the city centre that we had to pay more for the subway card than for our rooms.
Highly recommended, 10 out of 10!
*** EDITED ON 25th May 09: hostelworld.com contacted me today after reading this review and are kindly attempting to resolve the problem i.e. reimburse our money. It seems the hostel itself may have been at fault and neglected to inform hostelworld.com of the overbooking. If that's the case, I will of course update my review to reflect this ***
A few weeks ago a friend and I decided to make a fairly impromtu trip to Barcelona (we were staying in Valencia at the time). I's just a few hours away by train, but I wasn't comfortable booking rail tickets until we were were certain that we had accommodation to go to. So we had a quick look online (I normally use the Easyjet hotels website as it's quick and reliable) and got worried as most of the cheap places to stay seemed to be booked up. Thank goodness for hostelworld.com, then, a very handy site which found us a private twin room in a Barcelona hostel within seconds, for the dates we wanted and in the centre of the city to boot!
Hostelworld is essentially a booking agent with a wealth of useful information about its accommodation, including maps, photos and, most importantly, customer reviews so you can find out at a glance what other travellers thought of the place you're considering booking. The 'hostel' we were interested in seemed to be a room in a private apartment with a (shared) bathroom and looked good-value. We were required to pay a 10% deposit to guarantee our booking, so my friend duly entered her Visa card details and we were taken to a booking confirmation page, which we printed out. We were informed that a confirmation would also be sent to her email account later on and, as an extra precaution, I registered my mobile phone number with Hosteworld so that they could send me a confirmation by text on the day of our arrival.
The day after we'd booked we checked my friend's email and our second confirmation was there in her inbox waiting for us, so with our two printouts and my SMS due, plus the map and other info we'd been given to print out, we could buy our train tickets then relax and look forward to the trip.
Two days later, on the afternoon we were due to leave, my friend checked her emails to find an urgent message from the hostel we were booked into (sent the day before), saying (in VERY dubious English) that our booking had been cancelled. From what we could make out of the gobbledegook in the email, the hotel was blaming hostelworld.com for selling rooms that were in fact already occupied. The email instructed us to phone the hostel ASAP and cryptically suggested that we would only be given back the 10% deposit (which had been booked from a Visa card) if we went in person to the hostel at a pre-arranged time.
As it was about 2 hours before we were due to board the train to Barcelona, we were not exactly thrilled at the news. We hadn't checked the email address we'd booked under for a couple of days, but on the other hand we had two separate confirmations plus we'd registered for SMS confirmation too. Quite why Hostelworld and/or the hostel didn't phone us on my mobile as soon as they were aware of the overbooking was beyond me. We rang the hostel straight away and got through to the author of the email, who didn't seem to speak either English or Spanish, but he managed to get across the message that he would not be refunding our money and would instead find us some kind of room, somewhere in the city or its environs (he couldn't gurantee we wouldn't have to share bunks with randoms though). As you can imagine, we wanted a say in where/with whom we slept, so began phoning round hostels and hotels ourselves, but everywhere affordable (i.e. under 400 euro per room) was already full.
With the time ticking away until out train was due, we decided not to go to Barcelona. We'd both been ill and had been counting on heading straight to our hostel in a taxi and relaxing upon arrival that evening in Barcelona, not traipsing around a strange city with our luggage, looking for a room as it got dark. I'm happy to go with the flow and rough it a little when backpacking - last year I did the traipsing round looking for a bed thing in South America - but this was a supposed to be a relaxing city break.
It cost us almost 50 euro in lost deposit and train cancellation fees for our weekend to Barcelona that never happened. We have since written to both the hostel and hostelworld.com to suggest that we be reimbursed. The hostel has laid the blame on hostelworld's booking system and made several different excuses about why they can't reimburse our deposit money, while Hostelworld has not deigned to reply.
I can understand that mistakes and errors happen, but surely this is why email confirmations exist. As soon as the hostel/hostelworld were aware of the mistake, they could have simply phoned me (they had requested my mobile number!) and reimbursed our deposit money, and we would have maybe had time to find alternative accommodation. As it is, they've left us out of pocket, disappointed and lost two potential repeat customers who travel a lot, and our friends and family are all aware that Hostelworld has ripped us off and so probably won't use the site either.
The site really seems like a good idea and a convenience for those travelling overseas and looking to book hostels in advance, but I will be relying on the old-fashioned telephone call in future.
Wouldn't it be great if there was a place on the web that you could search for cheap accomodation, book it, review it, read reviews and see what nights are available? Well guess what? There is!
Yes, Hostelworld is the most complete of several sites that do this function (travelbag, bootsnall being two of the others) but this site seems to have encompassed reviews from all over the web and put them in the same place. This means that searching for hostel info is easy and quick, as is picking dates and type of room.
When it comes to paying you do not pay any extra for using the service. Instead Hostelworld seem to get their cut directly from the accomodation booked (ten percent which confirms your booking) and whether it's one night's stay in France or a week in Thailand you have confirmed everything and have accomodation booked within the click of a button.
I have used Hostelworld on many occasions, though generally the way I travel is very loose so it is usually only for a night or two in a specific location, ensuring I have flexibility to go where I want. Stillit is a highly valuable website to me.
Hostelworld.com is a brilliant site to use for booking cheap accommodation anywhere in the world. It searches over 20,000 hostels in more than 170 countries.
To search for a hostel you simply enter the country and then the city and enter the dates you want to stay on the homepage. If you wish, you can also enter additional search options (or you can add these in once you've entered the main search) such as the type of accommodation, type of room and property facilities you require. You can choose which currency you want the prices displayed in and from the list it looks like they do almost every single currency. You can then sort your results by price, availability, rating or name to make it easier for you. The list will show a small summary of each of the accommodations including a small picture, a brief description, the amount that prices start from and the percentage rating from customers. You can also open up a large map which will show you all the locations of the search results so you can pick out certain ones if you want to stay in a particular area.
When you select a certain hostel, the details are expanded onto a new page and you can view a larger description of the place as well as viewing some more photos. A pricing table will appear where you view the prices of different types of rooms for different dates (prices per person are showed). You can view a location map of the accommodation as well as read (and write) reviews from other members who have previously stayed there. Most of these reviews aren't too brilliant and are really only a couple of lines so I tend to use other review sites such as tripadvisor more than this.
The great thing about this site is that it doesn't just provide you with hostels. You can also find cheap accommodation on hotels, guest houses, apartments and campsites. I've been using it a lot at the moment as I'm hoping to take a trip to Rome in the next couple of months. We don't want to stay in a hostel but accommodation on other websites are too expensive so hostelworld has been brilliant as we've been able to find budget hotels and guest houses that I haven't found anywhere else on the internet.
Once you've chosen you're accommodation and confirmed the booking, you can sign up (or log in if you're already a member) and you pay 10% of the accommodation fee to hostelworld. The rest you pay on arrival at the hostel. This can sometimes be a pain though as the hostelworld payment is made in the currency you selected but this currency may be different to the hostel's which can make it a bit difficult to work out. You will be sent a confirmation email though confirming the booking and telling you how much you have paid and how much you still owe.
I used hostelworld when backpacking for 5 months and I was always happy with the services. They always offered the best known hostels as well some smaller less well-known ones and I always had a wide range to choose from. I found hostelworld to be a lot better than hostels.com as, although prices are very similar, hostelworld is simpler to use and offers a much wider range.
This is a website for reserving beds in hostels. Its basically an agent that organises all the hostels in a useful order, with reviews and ratings. If you book direct with the hostel you avoid a £1 booking fee.
I am debating with myself wether to use this website or book direct with the hostel. The problem is that things like minimum stays are not stated on the website but they are on the hostels own website.
Also the £1 booking fee is silly, as Im going to be booking about 10 hostels, and will not be willing to pay that. If you book through hostelbookers.com there is no admin fee therefore saving me much needed money.
THe site is useful for showing you availability at certain hostels, particularly important as Im booking xmas and new years eve in australia and it seems to change every 5 mins with people desperate to have accomodation confirmed.
The reviews are also very useful as they provide a different angle to the perfect pictures and description by the hostel. They also rate the hostel out of stars which helps to organise them.
I think if I do use an agent it will be hostelbookers rather than this site, because of the no admin fee, and the fact I can go through a cash back site and get money back on the full cost of my bookings.
I have just finsihed an around the world travelling experience and used this site to book my hostels throughout Europe and SE Asia, A friend that recently did the same kind of experience recommended this site to me. My girlfriend and myself went off making our plans and started using this site extensively. Signing up to the site was simple and only needed basic information about you, which included a contact number, address and email address.
On the sites homepage it boosts 17,000 hostels in 168 countries so it is more then likely that you will be able to find a hostel in the place that you want to travel to. The homepage also gives you links to useful information if you are planning a travelling adventure like how to make your pounds reach as far as possible, tips for which injections you need for the locations you are visiting, a free pocket guide for any city that you are staying in and pod casts which are submitted by other members of the site for places that they have stayed.
Looking for Hostels
Now to the fun part of the site! Searching for hostels couldn't be much simpler. You have the option to type in the place name, specify the dates that you wish to stay there and then select how many people it is for.
After searching for your destination with your required criteria. It then displays the hostels on a single page. You cant filter the hostels by Price, Availability or even Name if your have already stayed there once before.
Now choosing the hostel you want to stay is surely going to be the tricky part, isn't it? For example doing a search for Paris provides 173 results. So potentially choosing could be a nightmare. However one really well thought out part of the site is that the hostels also have a rating. The rating is not posted on the site by the site owners or the hostel itself but by other fellow travellers. Obviously not everyone is happy, but it makes it easier to see hostels that score highly from many ratings as opposed low rating hostels from only a couple of ratings. The ratings are broken down into 6 categories comprising
Another important part of the ratings is that each rating displays the age range of the person leaving the comment and also the sex of them. For example myself and my partner changed our minds about a hostel in Prague as Guy's liked it but girls hated it. After clicking a hostel on the page it gives you a brief description of the hostel and the facilities it offers. This is uploaded by the hostel themselves is a bit lost in translation in a way that brings a little smile to your face after looking at hostels throughout the world all day.
Finding the hostel
Another nice feature is the option to place all of the hostels on a map. If this is a place where there are only a few hostels it makes alot of sense but if its somewhere like Paris, Rome or even London then you may as well not bother. Each review of the hostel does give you the chance to look at a map of the city and the hostels location.
The hostels also give you instructions of how to get there by road, rail, air or even ferry's depending on the location
When you become a member of the site you get an account, which allows you to look at any of the reservations that you have made for your travels. While one of my favourites features is the grey map, which turns a country blue when you have visited it - Mine is slowly getting there! Within your account you can upload photo's to show your travelling friends, review the hostels you have stayed in, Make friends (much like facebook) and send messages between each other.
The dreaded P word
Basically paying for the hostels is really easy as well. When booking a hostel you pay an upfront 10% deposit securing your place. There is also an administration fee of about £1 per transaction. Which baring in mind the transaction may only be £10 anyway is quite a high percentage. You do get the option to buy a gold card for £5 which basically means all of your admin fees are paid for 12 months, which I personally think is very good value as we are planning on staying in about 50 hostels or so.
The site accepts any credit and debit cards and you also have the ability to pay for your stays via pay pal if you wish
Is it rewarding?
Many travellers don't have much money to spare so every little helps. One thing that I have just found on the site is that each night at a hostel, regardless of the price, gives you 20 points to redeem things. The only thing that is not clear is if this is for 20 points per booking or 10 per person per booking. You can buy a gold card here if you have the points, an itunes voucher or some Amazon gift vouchers. The Itunes voucher works out to be 3000 points which works out as 150 bookings. So basically its not really worth doing for the rewards.
Overall a very well thought out website that is easy to navigate and helps you plan your traveling adventures wherever they may be. I personally like that fact that you can use this website as a social networking site to find any travelers that you have met around the world as well. Generally the hostel live up to the reviews which are given to them although there might be a few surprises along the way.
Thanks for reading
When my partner and I spent 6 weeks travelling round Europe in 2007, we booked all of our hostels, without exception, through Hostelworld.com. The reason for this is a feature probably very close to most dooyoo user's hearts - the reviews. The honest and detailed reviews posted by travellers influenced our choices, and there was only one instance (which I shall cover shortly) in which the hostel did not come up the high standards we expected. The booking also proved incredibly simple, with how much we had left to pay being detailed for us and the hostel, meaning that we didn't encounter any haggles over exchange rates and how much we owed as sometimes happens when you book direct months in advance and only pay a deposit.
So, the negative experience? We booked a very popular and well-rated hostel in Budapest - the Basilica Hostel, but on arrival were moved by the owners to a dingy apartment in a horrible street. When we tried to review this fact, we found that the hostel owners had actually removed our booking from the site so we were unable to leave feedback. Eventually after contacting Hostelworld we got this reinstated and left as scathing review, although the overwhelming positive reviews for the actual hostel we never got to see hid this pretty quickly! It seems to me that if owners of the hostels can remove customer bookings from the site in cases such as these, negative reviews may not make it to the site. Certainly if we had seen even one review advising of this couple's tricks we would not have booked or at least been on our guard, but people who had also been in our position may have found themselves as we did unable to place a warning review.
However, overall I think the ease of use of the site (you can see available dates, change the currency prices and so forth with ease) and the huge wealth of hostel reviews in one place make this a very valuable travelling resource for any backpacker or budget traveller, and I shall be using it again.
I have just recently used HostelWorld for the first time, to book accommodation for my six-week trip around Asia coming up this November. We are visiting Tokyo and Hong Kong, which are really expensive for hotels, and I was starting to panic that we weren't going to find anywhere to stop within our budget. But then I stumbled across HostelWorld, where I found basic accommodation at very reasonable prices. We weren't fussed about staying in hotels as such as we will be spending most of our time out and about and really only wanted a bed for the night. So this site has been perfect for us. You have to pay 10% of the booking as a deposit, but you get email and text message confirmation and I also got direct confirmation from the hostel themselves in most cases. I say most cases, because I recently had a bit of trouble with my booking. I booked all my hostels in November 2008, but I don't travel until December 2010. A couple of the places emailed to check that I meant the following December, not the one that was then approaching. I didn't hear from the one I booked in Tokyo, so assumed all was ok. The other day, I noticed that the hostel had taken over £200 out of my bank account. So I emailed to see what that was all about, and they said that it was the first night's accommodation charge as a penalty for not showing up! They had not read the reservation carefully enough and put my booking in for December 2008 not 2009. So once December 2008 had passed they charged me because they put me down as a "No-Show" they are in the process of refunding me (they did offer to knock it off what I owe for the balance of the room, but I wanted my money back now to pay my rent!) but its by way of bank transfer and this will take around 5 days. They have apologised sincerely for their mistake. Other than that, I think the site is good for finding budget accommodation, and I'd definitely use it again, but my words of advice are MAKE SURE YOU GET DIRECT CONFIRMATION FROM THE HOSTEL ITSELF!!!
Last September (2007) I went travelling with some friends to Eastern Europe - we went to Prague, Vienna, and different cities in Poland. Though we had the first hostel booked, we booked the other ones by finding an Internet cafe when we were ready to move on, and browsing the Internet for places to stay next.
Hostelworld.com was the best site we found. Obviously being in unknown places with unknown languages (apart from my rusty GCSE German), we were reluctant to just walk into places, or even know where they were to walk into! Hostelworld is easy to search by location, and after that it was a breeze reading through the reviews. Each hostel (or b&b, or similar), is given an overall percentage based on how people have rated it, then it's broken down further into different areas, for example a rating for location. Obviously, different things are important to different people, which is why it's so useful to look at individual ratings - we didn't mind the nightlife around the hostel so much, but we did care about what kind of breakfast it included, for example! Places that had poor reviews as well as poor ratings we avoided like the plague, and the places we ended up staying at turned out to be very nice, such as the Strawberry Hostel in Vienna which turned out to be newly built student accommodation for the uni, with great facilities.
Hostelworld.com was also good for showing you what kinds of rooms were available on what days, because we also had that to consider - and we weren't keen on sharing a 12 bed room with people we didn't know! Overall, the hostels only cost us about £12 a night each - much cheaper than your average accommodation in big cities generally.
The only disadvanage was the problem with the last hostel we booked in Poland. For some reason the booking hadn't gone through (you sign up with hostelworld.com then book online, and then they contact the hostel owners/management and arrange it), and the woman knew nothing about it. However, luckily we were able to get a room anyway, but that was the only hostel in the area so if there hadn't been a room free I'm not sure what we would have done?! Risky, but probably our fault for leaving it so much to chance and trust anyway!
I'm not much of a hosteller anymore, tending to use hosting exchange websites like Hospitality Club or Couchsurfing and more recently having a bit of a thing for camping. When I was backpacking though, I used to generally just look for a hostel when I turned up in the place, now that I'm working more often though - I sometimes have to plan trips more carefully and whilst traipsing around the new destination with a backpack looking for somewhere to stay is generally fine by me, the wife doesn't really enjoy it very much!
That's where hostelworld.com steps in, thousands of destinations with hostels or cheap accomodation are on hostelworld and searching through it, it is easy to find somewhere to stay and compare prices. It also quite often has a map of the location of your future abode. The downside is that reserving comes at a cost, generally 10% of the reservation cost which providing your frugal and stay at the cheapest could I suppose easily be made back by reviewing the accomodation on dooyoo!
They also offer a map where you can pin point your destinations and future places of stay which is either fun or maybe useful to the less geographically aware and have the occasional promotion for registered members. You can pay by bank card or by paypal but a downside of paying by paypal is that if you do not re-confirm before midday to say you will arrive later in the afternoon.. they are not forced to hold your room. This may prove difficult to contact them, while you are on the road.