Not sponsored. No affiliate links. 100% my Perth staycation review style!
Like most people at this time of year (or any time really) I’m in need of a good holiday. An extended holiday, preferably somewhere sunny, where every little detail is taken care of. No cooking, no cleaning. Just lots of relaxing. Are you with me?
Ideally, if someone could arrive at my house and organise my three teens and hubby, so I really didn’t need to pack for five people lift a finger and then magically reappear when we return to unpack, wash and have the fridge fully stocked and ready to go. Even better.
Reality and the fact hubby is generally either at sea with work or on call during school holidays means we really only manage to grab a quick night or extended weekend here and there. It also means I’m not keen on factoring in a huge amount of travel time. It just ends up eating into my precious relaxing and unwinding time.
Which is why introducing a Perth Staycation series here on the blog is so damn appealing right now. Truth be told, it’s been on my blogging wish list, even before I started blogging way back in what now feels like the dark ages.
There were however, one or two things standing in my STAYCATION blogging way. Mainly my mystery shopping work and the fact that on occasion I’m required to audit hotels undercover, so to speak, as part of this service.
Auditing or mystery shopping hotels are great gigs if you can get them. It generally includes a night (or two) in a motel with room service or a restaurant meal thrown in. Although, not as glamorous as it sounds, these reviews can be a lot of hard work.
Take my first experience with a hotel review in country NSW, where a fire alarm had us up at 2am and 4am (both false alarms) and I almost over slept the mandatory breakfast review in the restaurant which would have meant no reimbursement of my costs and no payment for my time and services.
The main thing with any mystery shopping or review work, is confidentiality. Working under cover, retaining minute details and reporting facts not opinions. It kind of ruins the review and the real experience if you announce yourself or they suspect you are a mystery shopper and you obtain special treatment as a result. In most cases it voids the job completely.
The fact you need to hand over credit card (or in my case debit card) details at check in for hotel mystery shops, rules out giving a false name. So lately, now that I’m more known about town as a blogger, I tend to only take on hotel audit jobs when I travel interstate. So not a lot.
When it comes to being asked to review hotels for the blog in a sponsored capacity, I’ve been a tad conflicted there as well. In the end though, most of the reviews that will hit the blog will be my personal holiday experiences. Funded by myself.
Hotels will not warned in advance; I won’t go in looking or asking for special treatment. I’m just planning on being a regular customer, looking for a real and regular experience that I can report back on.
There will be occasions where I’m reviewing a hotel or a restaurant in an official blogger capacity but you can guarantee that this will be fully disclosed at the top of the blog post. As not all bloggers are as transparent, I also feel I need to disclose when a post isn’t actually sponsored.
Like all my reviews, anything overly negative just doesn’t make it on to the blog. I’m not in the game of naming and shaming. Instead, I send this type of feedback straight to the hotel and move on to the next review.
Unlike my brunch reviews, where I prefer to have ‘cased’ a particular venue on at least five occasions before a review makes it to the blog, hotel reviews are one off experiences. As much as I would love to ‘case’ each hotel five or more times, it just isn’t feasible right now. How I wish it was.
At this stage, I’m not entirely sure of the frequency of this series. If I had my way, it would be one Perth staycation a week. Reality means it will probably end up being one a school holiday or less. Time will tell.
My first Perth Staycation review hits the blog this week, with my visit to Sage Hotels in West Perth, with an offer even I’m finding hard to resist.
Now speaking of reviews…
Our Aussie Review Crew linkup kicks off this month with a giveaway, as I look for more ways to support my blogging favourites as well as newbie bloggers making their way in this oversaturated blogging world. Keep an eye on the blog later this week for more details.
What would you like to see when it comes to a hotel review? What do you look for in a hotel? Have you ever tried a staycation?
I am all for staycations. They are a lot less expensive than traveling far away.
And you get to spend more time relaxing!
Oh how exciting. Before we came to live in Sydney we would vacation here and stay in some wonderful hotels. We never do now we live here but I wish we did. A staycation sounds just dreamy! I can’t wait to tag along…
We still feel like tourists, even though we’ve been here a few years. So staycations just make sense.
How fun! I just don’t know about a staycation in Brisbane. We’re already so central to everything where we live. We’d consider it at the Gold Coast though, just an hour from where we are. God, I can’t imagine being woken at 2am and 4am. What a nightmare! Ps. I meant to wish you a happy birthday the other day, but kept forgetting. Hope you had a fab day.
Thanks. I’m sharing my birthday shenanigans for Worth Casing Wednesday this week.
This sounds awesome. I love staying at a hotel anywhere really cause it’s something different from home. But I ironically LOVE reading about people’s travels and where they stay. I feel like I’m experiencing it with them.
It was one of my favourite perks of mystery shopping. Any excuse for a night away.
It’s a bit like reviewing a book. Usually we get the book for free (sometimes if it’s electronic it has an expiration date though so you don’t keep it!) and reading it is enjoyable (if we’ve requested it) but writing the post etc can sometimes take the fun out of the reading process.
Except I suppose the mystery shopping side of things means I also get paid for my efforts. But yes you are right, adding another element does make it seem like work.
The Builder and I often talking about reviewing where we have stayed or where we have eaten. I do share what I find on Trip Advisor, but this sounds like so much more fun!
You know, I’ve never visited Trip Advisor. I tend to look to my blogging friends for their recommendations first.
I like reviews just like you said – an regular person with a regular experience. And just honesty and balance. There’s nothing worse than a review that is skewed one way or another. Balanced reviews are more trustworthy.
Couldn’t agree more. I also question some of the anonymous online reviews that seem skewed one way. You wonder if it is the competition if it is a really negative one or if it is family or friends of the establishment if it is too positive.
I like your plans and you are certainly well-versed in how to approach this. I’ve stayed in 4-5 star hotels and have given reviews via Trip Advisor. I think that reviewing from your own perspective is helpful rather than perhaps trying to cater for all kinds of groups – e.g. families with little ones, seniors etc. You could make a niche in itself because every mama with kids wants a get-away of sorts to be spoilt !! Wishing you well in this new venture. Thanks for linking up to Life This Week 4. Denyse
I always forget your #teamIBOT. Not sure where you find the time to keep up. Especially now you have your own linkup.
It doesn’t feel like a new venture to me, having worked as a hotel auditor for over ten years, but yes definitely a new venture for the blog.
I’ve never actually visited trip advisor. I suppose getting paid to review hotels and having a review blog means I would be better following these avenues first than reviewing for free for another platform.
I’m definitely not planning on making this a niche hotel blog review, where it’s just for me. Most of the time the entire family will be joining me on these ventures. So I should be able to cover all angles, depending on the hotel.
I love writing hotel reviews and have penned several on the blog. I haven’t had any offers for a while though. Never mind. I just go and pay for my own accommodation in the meantime. We’ve got a couple of sleepovers planned this month.
I’m trying hard not to think about all the blog offers I’ve turned down while I was still mystery shopping. Can’t wait to hear more about your sleepovers.
I have left a couple of reviews through Trip Advisor and have used the site to seek reviews of potential stays. I like to know about how clean the hotel is, and if it is an apartment style, if it has a full kitchen as I prefer to cook than eat out whilst holidaying.
I’ve never visited trip advisor, I tend to head to my blogging friends first. I prefer a review that has a face I know and trust behind it. If that makes sense.