Hotel planning before the Internet

Jan 22nd, 2007, 01:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi rhapsody
>Thankfully I am too young to remember of the dark days you mention !<

Well, the internet has made it more efficient to search, to book train tickets, etc

BUT, as lot of the adventure and romance has gone.

ira is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 01:17 PM
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ira, I agree.

Though I can't help wondering: if I were taking my first trip to Europe (or wherever), and I had no previous experience planning/travelling in the manner that I once did, wouldn't it feel just as adventuresome? I.e., don't you think that we feel as we do simply because we associate that kind of planning (internetless, etc.) with our first big adventures?

Maybe it's like they say about crack cocaine: the addict keeps doing it only because of the incredible thrill of his first high, something which he can never attain again. (Not to make light of crack addiction -- nor to imply that travelling is a self-destructive addiction, by any means!)
LucieV is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 01:19 PM
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My university had a "Travel Industry" program, so its main library had a reference section on the travel industry. It had huge books - like phone books, only bigger - of most hotels anywhere in the world. It gave rates, ammenities, locations, travel agent commission amounts, photos, pretty much anything you would want to know about a particular hotel. You couldn't borrow the reference books, but I'd spend hours in the library researching. I thought it was fun (I was a boring nerd, obviously).
Jolie is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 02:17 PM
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Writing away for hotel brochures also provided the added pleasure of seeing the rich variety of foreign "postage stamps" in return. Even though I am not a stamp collector, the stamps added to the sense of pending adventure. I still have some of them!
dertravelmeister is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 04:14 PM
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Was your romance made into a film? It sounds very familiar.
Underhill is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 05:37 PM
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I still marvel at how easy it is to get information today compared to "the good old days." For my first trip to Europe (six countries in a month) we mostly winged it. Sometimes it worked out and sometimes it wasn't so great. But the memories! I also traveled to Greece the same way once. And then there were the times wheen serendipity led us to marvelous discoveries.

Now there is so much information available, I wonder how the hotels deal with it? I would not want to be in the lower half of hotel ratings for a location on Does this make them try harder? Do you think the hotels read about their guests' experiences and work to change those things that are not quite right?
luvtotravel is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 05:45 PM
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Some hotels do try harder. I know that the co-owner of the Hotel de la Porte Doree in Paris (which we loved) responds sometimes to guests who write on Trip Advisor. I think that is great! But I also think there are other hotels which don't really care. It in't like everyone goes on Trip Advisor, and even when they do, sometimes the guests book low-rated hotels anyway! I love the comments like "well, it had bad reviews, but I chose it anyway". Why? Why, if a hotel is mostly badly reviewed, would you not figure out somewhere else to go? Oh, well.
nbodyhome is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 05:53 PM
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Does this make them (the hotels) try harder?

Apparently, it makes some of them submit positive reviews of their own hotels. There was a thread about this last year following up some newspaper stories of planted/bogus reviews, with respondents analyzing writing styles and so on.

And as far as hotel planning before the Internet, I think we used a newspaper advertisement for the Kenilworth Hotel in London, now the Raddisson Kenilworth and lovely even then. I remember how screamingly excited we were and how fabulous that first trip was as we stumbled around not knowing anything really (no guidebooks for the know-it-alls). It's breathtaking how the Internet has opened it all up.
Fidel is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:08 PM
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My husband has not let me forget the apartment (he lovingly refers to as The Dump) I picked in London from a NY Times classified ad. I was looking for something REALLY inexpensive and didn't have all the internet reviews that we have now.

He still talks about how the main TV channel in the apartment building was Al Jazeera Television (it really was!) but we didn't think anything of it in those days. And if you think pre-internet research was ancient history, this was in 1998!
vinolover is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:32 PM
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Way back in the dark ages, 1968, my wife and I arrived in Bergen asked a taxi driver at the SAS office for a high quality hotel and ended up at the Bristol. A couple of days later we flew to Oslo and again stayed at the Bristol because we liked the one in Bergen. We then flew to Copenhagen and asked a taxi driver to help us because the next day was May 1 when Tivoli opened and rooms were difficult to find. We flew to London and ended at a small hotel in Sloane Square. All without reservations or guidebooks or any other research. Sort of a Lewis and Clark approach.
jsmith is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:40 PM
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I think maybe people used newspapers? I remember looking at ads in the newspaper for airfares back in 1988, in the Travel section. There were some really good fares to Asia that you could find in the LA Times and SF Chronicle. I think the Sunday paper was especially useful.

I can see why people might have needed a travel agent back in the day.
fishee is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 07:00 PM
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I too remember the Kenilsorth, as it was then--not bad at all for the price.
Underhill is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 07:08 PM
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The days before the internet. Our first trip to Italy in the 1970's, I went to our local travel agency and they booked us on an Alitalia flight (that airline was great back then). We arrived at the Malpensa Airport. We had a hotel reservations for the first two nights but no idea how to get there. I found a counter which sold bus tickets. The bus (the Malpensa Shuttle bus) we took into the Centrale Train Station in Milan. We than got a taxi and went to our hotel. A couple of days later the hotel told my husband where the car rental place was and we picked up the rental car that we had reserved from home. We travelled around Italy for two months..and got hotels along the way. Such fun! Way before one had to have reservations and buy tickets to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to go into museums, the coloseum etc. A two months that I wish I could relive!

We got lost more than once, we checked out more then one hotel before settling on one, we could stay longer or leave the next day, we never did find the autostrade from Pisa to Florence but enjoyed the country road, we stayed in everything from what I would call 2 star places to luxery hotels. Bari, a story and a half.

Good times..I almost feel sorry for people now as it seems like they have to organize and plan every moment of their trips due to reservations etc. It seems to me like there are no surprises left in travelling.
LoveItaly is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 12:46 PM
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I've been booking hotels over the last 25 years.

We used to have a hotel guide & a phone, or use a travel agent.

Much easier now ?

mpprh is offline  
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