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THE ACCIDENTAL HOTELIER

Blog: I’m obsessed with review scores!

What confuses me to no end is that guests will come, have a great time, write that “everything was wonderful, just like home,” and then give us a score of 8.5 out of 10.

(Source: Thom Kolton)

When choosing a place to vacation, most people today go to one of the popular websites to find their perfect spot. Price, of course, is certainly a driving factor that a person uses in the selection process. But, in addition, filtering results based on desired criteria helps find the perfect locale.

Osturňa is at a disadvantage right off the bat. Virtually no one types “Osturňa” as their destination, and why would they? We are surrounded by many popular tourist resorts with thriving tourist businesses of their own and which do well almost all year round. What does Osturňa have to offer?

Read also:Blog: How I became a guesthouse hotelier

In terms of organised tourism, Osturňa has nothing to offer. The village is made up of less than 300 citizens. We have one potraviny, one krčma, one church, and one penzión. Except for summer, when older adults return to relax in their parents’ now empty homes and bicyclists venture over the Magura mountain range for a thrilling view, the village is amazingly quiet and peaceful. As one often hears, Osturňa is at the end of the world.

Herein lies the paradox. Our lack of an organised tourist business is precisely our strongest selling point. This is a place to get away from the masses of people. Hike into the forest to pick mushrooms and blueberries, walk the road and examine our many historic wooden houses. Look to the sky after a brief summer shower to catch a frequent rainbow. As I’ve said before, Osturňa is a magical place.

Some people discover Osturňa only by accident, or because other “more desirable” locations were fully booked. Others base their search on reviewers’ ranking. And this is where I have become obsessed.

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Topic: Tourism and travel in Slovakia


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