South African Vacation Accommodation : Choosing accommodation : How to choose holiday accommodation

Umhlanga Coastline

Choosing Your Holiday Accommodation

Whether for a weekend break or a two week destress, when you're going somewhere new, a lot of planning is needed to make sure that the relaxing getaway doesn't turn into a stressful nightmare.

Finding the right locoation that offers what you want, making sure that you get there safely, getting the packing organised, finding pet sitters and house sitters and remembering the hundred and one things that need consideration.

But what about where you'll be staying? The most idyllic holiday can turn into a horror story if your accommodation lets you down. While it may give you something to talk about, it's certainly not what you want.

Normally when you book holiday accommodation, you're shooting blind, trusting the brochures or the websites or perhaps a reccommnedation from someone who stayed there 5 years ago.

The problem is that none of these are really completely reliable. Places change, brochures can be outdated and establishments can just out and out misrepresent themselves.

So what is a person to do?

  • Get a reccommendation from someone who has recent and valid knowledge of the establishment.
  • Ensure that the person doing the recommending measures by the same standards that you do.
  • Check the age of the brochure or website.
  • Use establishments that belong to a reputable body or association who have some sort of quality control in place and a reputation to preserve.
  • Use sources that not only list accommodation establishments, but also endorse them.
  • If you have a friend in the area that you're going to be visiting, have them pop in and assess the place for you.
  • Contact the establishment and get a feel for the owner/management. How helpful are they? How realistic are they in answering your questions? A gushing and over-hasty "we can do anything" attitude may not always be sign of good service. Establishments who will do anything for Business are often willing to cut costs on serious issues and tell blatant lies.
  • Once you have all the facts, trust your gut.
  • If the establishment boasts accolades, awards and memberships, check these with the actual associations or bodies where possible. Make sure that the claims are both real and recent. Remember that most valid memberships require annual renewal.
  • If they make claims that you do not understand, ask questions. For example, if an establiehment claims to have won the "Official Crab-Apple Accommodation Award", check that this supposed awarding organisation is not a self-created entity (it has been done!).
  • Please, please, do not blindly believe everything you see, read and hear. Ask the tough questions and verify as much as you can.

Of all the above guidelines, probably the one that will give you the greatest peace of mind is to source your accommodation through an organisation or body that endorses their list and is prepared to step in if something does go wrong.

For this reason, only NAA (National Accommodation Association) members are listed on this site. These are establishments that have been assessed, approved and graded by the NAA and often various other bodies as well.

These other bodies include the South African Turism Board and the AA. With all three organisations it is possible to verify membership as well as grading status, awards and the current validity of both.

For more information on the NAA classifications and Star Grading systems, please click here

We wish you a happy, hassle free stay!

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