I have decided to write this blog post out of sheer frustration. I have been emailing hotels/guest houses to enquire if they have a room suitable for 5 or more people in the UK, Europe, Usa etc and these problems are common throughout the different countries. Here are a list of problems I have faced when visiting a hotel/guest house website:
1. No Email Address
No email address at all, nowhere!!
Email is a very popular form of contact. For one thing its free! Why would we want to spend money on a phone call when we can ask a question by email for free??
It is also preferable for foreign guests as they can use an online translator to ask a question and translate your reply in the same way. I find it shocking that some websites don’t have an email address and its not just limited to small establishments, in fact some of the big chains are guilty of it too.
2. An Email address but no link
This is a very big pet hate of mine. The website does have an email address but you can’t click on it. This is just laziness on behalf of the designer, it takes 10 seconds to convert plain text/images to an email link.
If you leave it up to the customer to type in your email link and they type it in wrong (especially those with long email addresses) then you risk losing business. Ok, sometimes email addresses can be copied and pasted but a lot are actually images and can’t be copied.
If you need to know how to add an email link simply add this code to your website in place of the email address: [a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"]email@example.com[/a]
Replace the [ and ] with a < and >
3. An email address that is invalid
They have an email address, excellent!! It is a hyperlink, awesome!!! Your message has sent, fantastic!!!
Two minutes later you receive an email that says ‘mail delivery failed: returning message to sender’ . That means one thing, the email address is not valid. It is either no longer used or it was typed wrong. You would not believe how many hotels/guest houses have invalid email addresses on their sites and again, I’m not just talking about the small establishments either. C’mon hotel/guest house owners, get your act together, check your email addresses on your websites regularly, make sure they are working, it is you that is losing business!!
4. Contact Forms wanting too much detail
Ok, there’s no email but there is a contact form (most websites use these to prevent spam). Great, we have a form of contact that is free but why do they need to know so many personal details about me? I just want to ask a quick question, why do I have to provide my address? If that’s not enough, some forms actually have dates that you have to input! Believe it or not a lot of these are requirements too, you can’t submit the form without entering these details. A simple Name, Email & message contact form is all that is needed. Then all you have to press is submit, which takes me to number 5………
5. Broken contact forms
You’ve spent a while typing out your well thought out message, you click on the submit button then……………………
nothing!! There is an error page saying there is a problem, you click back and your message is gone, type it out again and the contact form still does not work.
Again, please check your contact forms regularly, it’s you that is missing out on business.
6. Not enough information
Most of the rooms on room for 5 are not shown on the hotel/guest house owners website. They state “family room”. What does that mean? Is it a family of 3 (which is the case with most places) or 4? How are we supposed to know? If you have a double room but have a guest bed you can put up for the night, why not put that on the website? If you have a family room that sleeps 3 but you don’t mind another child top & tailing, put it on the website. If you have a family room but don’t mind people bringing sleeping bags for extra children, put it on the website!! A lot of families just need the room for one night, maybe they are attending a family event or need a room before catching a flight? I know we don’t mind ‘roughing it’ for one night.
This only applies to a very small minority as most of the hotel/guest house owners I have encountered have been nothing but polite. There have, however, been the odd few that have been downright rude. I have had messages from people who don’t have room for 5 say under no circumstances do they accept children and if I had read their website properly I would’ve known that, some say only well behaved children (is there such a thing?:)) Others have taken great offence that their accommodation is not suitable for the site and had no problem telling me what they thought of me (see this blog post).
If you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all, ignore the email and delete it. After all, you are supposed to be in the hospitality trade and hospitable is far from what I am seeing, we also have friends and family that would need a hotel like yours that doesn’t accept kids but we certainly won’t be recommending you.
8. Lack of Pictures
All we want to know when we book a hotel is, where it is, what facilities it has to offer, how much it is and what our room will look like. There are lots of websites that do not show the interior or if they do, they have one picture that is supposed to represent what their rooms look like. If you have a family room, it would be great to see what it looked like instead of seeing the standard double, that way, I’m not going to be completely shocked when it is completely different.
9. Price per person
Why can’t it just be price per room? This would be so much easier. The tarrifs on a lot of web pages are very confusing. The guest just wants to know what they will be paying for their room, they don’t want to have to do a mathematical equation!! It’s enough to give anyone a headache, what with child 0-5 pays third, child 5-12 pays half etc!
Ok, not really a mistake but I just have to say why??? Answer honestly, if you go on a website and music starts playing what is the first thing you look for??? The off button!!! Please don’t put music on websites:)
If anyone has anymore to add to the list that they have come accross when visiting these sites please comment below:)
So your on holiday or visiting the Lake District and you want some ideas on what to do?
Find below a list of family attractions in the Lake District for families to enjoy:
The Alpaca Centre, Snuff Mill Lane, Stainton, PenrithSituated close to beautiful Ullswater, The Alpaca Centre, owned by the Stevenson family, is a unique and most delightful visitor attraction. It superbly combines….An extensive shopping area where you can browse through exquisite items crafted from the luxurious alpaca fibre – coats, jumpers, cardigans, scarves and hats, complimented by beautiful handcrafted pieces of jewelry, handbags and South American artefacts.The opportunity for you to view the alpacas in their paddocks and find out more about this lovely animal and why its fibre is sought after by the world’s top designers.
Eden Ostrich World, Langwathby Hall, Langwathby, PenrithWe have a wide variety of animals to see and interact with from those situated in our out door paddocks to those in the Ratite Centre, The Arc and The Animal Barn all either indoors or undercover. Polly’s Paddock is also a fun place to visit where you can enter Polly’s pen and interact with her and her friends from sheep to Goats and other friendly creatures.
South Lakes Wild Animal Park, Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria,…come along to South Lakes Wild Animal Park , Cumbria, where education, conservation and fun go hand in hand!
Trotters World of Animals, Coalbeck Farm, KeswickWith hundreds of animals and a breathtaking setting our award winning wildlife park is home to a wide variety of animals from every corner of the world ranging from the critically endangered to the more traditional favourites.
Eclipse Leisure Centre, Unit 4, Derwent Howe Estate, WorkingtonPlay ten pin bowling and Quasar Laser Elite Tag Games
Ducky’s Park Farm, Moor Lane, Flookburgh, Grange-Over-SandsA warm welcome awaits you at Ducky’s Park Farm visitor centre.
We have created a friendly, safe environment for families and schools to enjoy themselves
whilst learning about farming methods.
Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass, CumbriaWelcome to Muncaster Castle & Gardens, one of the best places to visit in the Lake District for a fun family day out! The Muncaster Experience is different for everyone…
Holmescales Activity Centre,Old Hutton, KendalCome and experience the exhilaration and adrenaline at Holmescales. You will be amazed by the host of outdoor activities to choose from: Quad biking, 4×4 off road driving, paintball, archery, clay shooting, target golf, rally buggy, abseiling, tank driving and rifle shooting are just some of the many activities we have to offer. Holmescales also provide a range of Activity Packages, including Secret Agent Days, Multi Activity Days, Family Adventure Days, and more.
If you know any more family attractions in the Lake District please contact me and I will be sure to add them to this list!
The Lake District is Britain’s premier scenic area. The Lakes, fells and mountains were shaped by melting and bursting rocks in the unimaginable heat of millions of years ago, slaked by the sea, smothered in dust-storms and sculpted by deluge and glacier.
There are three scenic types: in the south the softer tree-clad landscape of the Silurian slates; in the North the angular landscape formed from the shales of ancient sedimentary Skiddaw slates, in the centre, the craggy heights of Borrowdale volcanic series. The enclosure of the open fells with dry stone walls, creating a pattern of fields, took place 1750-1850.
No rural area is richer in literary associations Wordsworth; Colerididge; Ruskin; Beatrix Potter; Arthur Ransome and Melvyn Bragg have all made their homes here and many more visited.
Keswick is the North Lakes’ most popular holiday and day trip destination. Nestling between the Skiddaw Mountains and Derwentwater Lake, the town is situated in an idylic location in the Lake Distric National Parkt. To cater for the needs of tourists, visitors and holidaymakers there is a wide variety of shops, cafes, tea and coffee rooms, pubs and restaurants.(source: Keswick Plus)
Hotels and Guest houses in Keswick with rooms that sleep 5 or more:
The town of Windermere in Cumbria, England is situated in The Lake District National Park ands lies 1kilometer from Lake Windermere, the town itself dosn’t touch the lake, and is sometimes confused with the older town of Bowness On Windermere, over the years both towns have grown in population and are sometimes mistaken as one. (Source: Visit Windermere)
Hotels & Guest houses in Windermere/Bowness on Windermere with rooms that sleep 5 or more:
Do you plan on visiting Cornwall? Perhaps you would like to go to Eden Project, Lands end, Lost gardens of Heligan or one of the many castles in Cornwall? Find rooms for families of 5 or more in St Ives, Penzance, Looe, Newquay, St Austell, Liskeard, Falmouth, Launceston, Lostwithiel & Truro.
Porth Avallen Hotel- St Austell
With our spectacular cliff top location and stunning 180″ sea view over St Austell Bay, The Porth Avallen Hotel is the ideal place to stay and explore Cornwall’s many attractions.. . from the popular Eden Project, The Lost Gardens of Heligan,the Charlestown Shipwreck Centre to the wonderful National Trust property at St Michael’s Mount to name but a few.
White Hart Hotel – Liskeard
The White Hart Hotel is a 17th Century inn situated in the quaint Cornish village of Menheniot. We have seven letting rooms all of which are en-suite with colour televisions and provide tea and coffee making facilities. Freeview television is now available in all bedrooms with a variety of popular channels. We have a lounge bar/restaurant and a separate public bar which have been recently refurbished to a high standard. We are well known for our hearty full English breakfast and serve food every evening from our a la carte menu which also includes many homemade specials.
Ocean Lodge – Newquay
Ocean Lodge, is ideal for families on a budget. Our family rooms can sleep between 5 and 8 people (bunk beds), these rooms are also ensuite. The rooms don’t have any special facilities like tea or coffee making, TV’s etc but will provide a base for families to enjoy the surfing and activities in and around Newquay.
There is also free parking at the hotel which, if you know Newquay at all, is an absolute premium!
All prices are based on a minimum of a 2 night stay except Bank Holidays where the minimum is 3.
The Wellington Hotel – Penzance
The Wellington Hotel is an imposing granite building that was built before the Battle of Waterloo. It was converted into a hotel in 1813 and named after the The Iron Duke (Arthur Wellesley; 1769-1852) after he allegedly stayed here. It has been extensively modernised in recent years. The bar is popular with the locals and is a centre for much of the social life of this small friendly Cornish town. If you have a good joke to tell, this is the place to do it!
The Family Suite comprises of a double bed, adult size bunk beds & adjoining door to another room with double bed which sleeps 6.
A family of 5 costs from £127 per night.
Please visit www.roomfor5.co.uk for more hotels in UK, Europe, USA, Australia to sleep 5 or more!
There’s a lot more to see in Whitby than just Dracula and The Whales Jawbone;) Here are a list of the top tourist attractions in Whitby
The moody and magnificent ruins of Whitby Abbey have drawn successive generations – from Saints to Dracula – to this site of settlement, religious devotion and even literary inspiration.
Captain James Cook material, fossils, ship models, Whitby jet ornaments, whaling, the Scoresbys, local history, geology, archaeology, bygones and costumes.
The Whitby Wizard is the first science centre in North Yorkshire and has one hundred hands-on experiments of real science, made to be handled safely and freely by both adults and children.
Captain Cook Memorial Museum
Award winning attraction – Yorkshire’s White Rose Awards 2005 – celebrating the life of Captain Cook.
Museum of Victorian Science
Showing the education of the young Victorians, with Dr Frankenstein’s Laboratory. Strange glowing bulbs, Jacob’s Ladder, crackling sparks, electric flames and much more!
Robin Hood’s Bay
The old village of Robin Hood’s Bay is a magnet for visitors. The village road runs steeply down to the very edge of the rocky shore and there are intriguing alleyways weaving between tightly-packed cottages and houses.
The Bram Stoker Dracula Experience
Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ is brought to life in this walk-through attraction – a series of 10 scenes using sounds and new electronic special effects, models and live actors.
Whale Bone Arch – West Cliff
Original Whale jaw bone arch was erected some time after 1853 & is now displayed in the Whitby Archives & Heritage Centre. A replica was presented to Whitby by Norway in 1963. The current replacement was donated by Alaska in April 2003.
There are some must-see places when visiting York. Here are a few of them:
National Railway Museum
The National Railway Museum in York displays a collection of over 100 locomotives and nearly 200 other items of rolling stock, virtually all of which either ran on the railways of Great Britain or were built there. Also on the 20 acres (8.1 ha) site are many hundreds of thousands of other items and records of social, technical, artistic and historical interest, exhibited mostly in three large halls of a former motive power depot next to the East Coast Main Line, near York railway station. It is the largest museum of its type in Britain, the largest in the world being La Cité du Train in the french town of Mulhouse. It also has more visitors than any other British museum outside London. (Source: Wikipedia)
Jorvik Viking Centre
Welcoming 15 million visitors over the past 25 years, visitors can journey through the reconstruction of Viking-Age streets, as they would have been in the year AD975. JORVIK Viking Centre also offers three exciting exhibitions and the chance to actually come face to face with a ‘Viking’.
Due to refurbishment JORVIK Viking Centre will fully reopen to the public on the 13th February 2010
It will re-open to the public from the 1st February until 9th February. During this time elements of JORVIK will remain closed to the public and a 25% discount will apply.
JORVIK Viking Centre will be closed on the 10th, 11th and 12th February.
(Source: Jorvik Viking Centre)
What better than to spend a day at the races!! York holds the famous race meetings, The Ebor & The John Smiths cup.
York Minster is a Gothic cathedral in York, England and is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe alongside Cologne Cathedral. It has a very wide Decorated Gothic nave and chapter house, a Perpendicular Gothic choir and east end, and Early English north and south transepts. The nave contains the West Window, constructed in 1338, and over the Lady Chapel in the east end is the Great East Window, (finished in 1408), the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world. In the north transept is the Five Sisters Window, each lancet being over 16 metres (52 ft) high. The south transept contains the famous Rose window.
The Shambles is an old street in York, England, with overhanging timber-framed buildings, some dating back as far as the fourteenth century. It was once known as The Great Flesh Shambles, probably from the Anglo-Saxon Fleshammels (literally ‘flesh-shelves’), the word for the shelves that butchers used to display their meat. As recently as 1872 there were twenty-five butchers’ shops in the street but now there is none. There is still a butcher in the adjacent Little Shambles which leads to York’s open-air Newgate Market.
If you need a hotel with a family room that sleeps 5, 6 or more when staying in York there are lots available at www.roomfor5.co.uk