" Odmor u privatnim apartmanima u Zadru, Hrvatska, to je sve što želim "
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  • Private Accommodation in Croatia and how to pick one

    Finding accommodation that suits your needs and has great value for money is a very daunting task. While internet gives us a lot of ability to choose between different options, it is true that pictures can be deceiving and you never really know what to expect. I speak as a professional travel agent from Zadar, Croatia.

    Directly with owners vs small agencies vs big agencies

    Booking apartments directly with owners can be hit or miss. Part of the owners take tourism very seriously, putting giant effort and money to increase customer satisfaction with a goal to increase the base of repeat business and word of mouth recommendations. But, there are also apartment owners that see the business as an easy money coming from the properties they do not currently use. Those kind of owners do not understand that apartments inventory deterrents much faster than their homes and change it too rarely, making pictures that they took few years ago completely unrealistic. Also the inventory itself is mostly the one they don't need in their home. These owners often don’t offer good service during check in, and fail to understand that the apartments they rented are off limits for them during rent period.

    While booking with big agencies can also be big hit or miss, big agencies often offer different methods off rate payment, insurances and advanced cancelation policies since they can easily push around apartment owners with sheer amount of business they provide. In most cases they offer same price as going directly with the owner, while some of them have up to 40% higher prices. But, they are working with such database of accommodation that they physically cannot check all of them regularly, and the owners don't need to care about customer satisfaction since that does not directly influence the number of future bookings from the agency.

    Small agencies are usually more pricy then going directly with owners from 5% to 10%. But in most cases they are very picky with which owners they work with and what kind of an accommodation do they offer. Usually they work from the same place from which most of the accommodation in their offer is and they regularly inspect those apartments personally. They take extra efforts to make customer happy since about 80% of their business is in fact repeat business. With smaller agencies you can hardly get less then what you were promised, and you can expect great service but at slightly higher price.

    What to look at in private accommodation to differentiate good one vs bad ones

    1) If the accommodation has professionally made photos it indicates that owner is ready to invest and takes his business professionally.

    2) Large number of different pricing periods and large differentiation between them means that owner took time to really set the prices that are result of relationship between supply and demand. This is contrary to method of subjectively evaluating their own ownership and in 99% overestimating it.

    3) High prices on accommodation with old listings mean that they are working well so that they can afford having such high prices. Working well in this business means either repeat business or word of mouth. Both of it indicates on high customer satisfaction.

    4) Customer reviews, very often they are faked and written by the owner. Trust them only if they are 6+ and most of them have similar things they praise or complain about.

    Last word

    If you are one of the people that work hard whole year long and have time and money to afford one to two vacations a year, don't risk your vacation by booking either an apartment or a house for rent that will disappoint you. Take time to find ideal accommodation to your desires, and spend little more if needed. Paying 5% more for your vacation to make it perfect is worth it.