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Croatia & Slovenia hotels 50% more than Book

Hi. Is anyone else seeing this phenomenon? We are using Rick's Croatia and Slovenia 2018 guide book to plan a trip from Bled to Plitvice, Dubrovnik, Mostar and others. Most hotels and pensions we contact are commonly 50% more than in the book, and they are not honoring prices when we mention Rick :-(. Example 60€ per night are pricing as 90€ per night, etc. It seems the word is out on this area. Most of the decent places are $100+ for 2 people in a double room. Sure there are still cheap places, but we are having to do our own research and bookings. With the Euro rising against the dollar, this can be an expensive trip. Still going, though!

Posted by
6060 posts

Unfortunately, you can't rely on a single guidebook for lodging prices because the internet and dynamic pricing have upended the travel industry. It's always better to do your own research (I use booking.com to compare hotels). Unless Rick's hotels are truly of the mom and pop "fixed price" room variety, many hotels use variable pricing based on season and demand...that's why it's hard to replicate prices seem in a guidebook (there are several ladders of price levels and they vary even based on how you book - whether on hotel's website, third party website, by e-mail, etc). Different booking platforms also have different discounts (similar to guidebooks) which also affect the total price you pay.

Posted by
329 posts

I figure the guidebook prices may be off a bit but 50% is quite a jump. I suggest filling out the guidebook feedback form on this website with your findings.

Posted by
16563 posts

I'm with Agnes. I don't even like to look at the lodging prices in guidebooks, because decades of experience have taught me that I'll just be surprised and disappointed by what I end up having to pay. I suspect that sometimes the mere inclusion of a place in a guidebook causes an uptick in the rates.

I suggest looking at booking.com, where you may find small accommodations (single apartments, etc.) that are substantially cheaper than hotels. Although I find hotels more convenient during the check-in/check-out process, the price was right for the alternative accommodations I used in Zadar and Zagreb in 2015.

Posted by
1005 posts

There is no 2018 edition of Rick Steves Croatia and Slovenia. The latest edition (the 6th edition) was published in June 2016. According to his website, the next edition won't be out until July 2018. Also, he lists both low season and high season rates--perhaps you were just looking at the low season prices?

Posted by
54 posts

Definitely agree Re the difference in prices between high and low season.

Unfortunately it’s just a fact of life though?

Have you looked on air bnb? I found lots of very affordable accomodation on there? Often, registered bed and breakfasts will also advertise on there so it’s worth a look?

Posted by
1397 posts

I believe the popularity and limited number of hotels in Croatia has caused the prices to skyrocket. I am paying more for one week on the coast then my 2 weeks in Poland this summer.

Posted by
1863 posts

When we started searching for accommodations in Ljubljana for September 2018, we were shocked not only at the pricing, but availability at the several places that were in our budget and location. We started searching last Dec. Fortunately we secured an Apartment recommended by a friend. It was within in our budget and was the last unit available with a river view. We booked on booking.com. Excellent reviews as well.

Posted by
6060 posts

I know a lot of folks here book almost a year in advance but, to me, that's not a good strategy for getting a reasonable price (or getting an accurate feel on availability, since a lot of properties may not even have their rates available yet). If you're flexible (and provided there is no special event going on affecting availability), you can always find something in your price range (whatever it is), and there are many comparison websites that allow you to compare hotels across a variety of criteria. Of course if your heart is set on a small mom and pop place that Rick recommends, then you'll join all the other book holders vying for the same limited number of properties and rooms. In reality though, there is a lot of choice out there for lodgings if people just expand their search options and they have flexibility in their plans.

Posted by
1863 posts

Agnes points out some good strategies. We found out early on that our RS hotel was already full for our 2 nights pre tour. As far as waiting closer to the tour date to receive "better pricing etc.", we knew that the Apartment we chose has a set fee for every season. Even though we booked early & in high season we knew it was reasonable and fit our needs.

Posted by
11676 posts

The current edition came out June 2016 and the prices were probably determined in 2015. Prices have gone up since then.

We stayed at Penzion Kaps at Bled for three nights last September. (Highly recommended, by the way). We paid 85 euros a night. Price for 2018 high season is 90 euros for a double room. I am curious what the book says; maybe 80 euros? If so, that would be a 25% increase, not 50%, and is simply due to across-the-board price increases, not to inaccuracy of the book.

As Slovenia becomes a more popular destination, you can expect prices to rise.

Posted by
11676 posts

I will add that the prices in the RS guidebooks are not anything that the hotels have to honor. Especially when they are three years out of date.

What they may honor is an offer like “10% discount with this book” but one must have the current year’s book to get that. And you have to carry the book to show it.

Posted by
546 posts

In addition to all the good comments above about how out of date the book and thus the prices are which is all true. Understand that Croatia is a WILDLY popular place for Europeans to vacation and has been for many years. If you are looking for July or especially August it will be packed and prices high. Any time during the summer is high season. But August is peak.

The "word" has been out on Croatia for a very long time, it's America that is just now coming to the party.

Dubrovnik was always very popular even back in the 80's and before. (outside of the War years) Since Game of Thrones used it as the setting for Kings Landing things have gotten even crazier.

Posted by
72 posts

Every American visiting the same spots at the same time. Prices in Croatia are obvious. If you want to stay cheaper try June and September. RS gave you the story where to go 20 years ago. Now you need to be modern. Install Booking.com app and pick the hotel by your budget, not by the name or score. Simple and easy.

In addition to that, visit Dubrovnik as a day trip and stay longer on island Korcula.

I am in the tourism sector for over than 10 years and also when I travel I also search by my budget. Hope it helps. Have a save trip.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you. We are experienced travelers. This topic was not about finding accommodations. We are all set finding places to stay. It was about the validity of the guide book pricing. It appears that is is so far off as to be useless. Regardless, we love Rick! Thanks.

Posted by
4684 posts

I have always suspected that a "Rick Steves recommendation" usually leads a proprietor to raise his/her prices. And why wouldn't they? A mention in the Rick Steves book means fewer vacancies...supply and demand. Why not?

As for prices: I don't remember them ever being cheap since I first visited the region in 2009. I've been to Ljubljana four times - it's always seemed expensive with not many conventional hotel options there. Deals can be had here and there if you look - but probably not starting with the Rick Steves book. I use Booking.com as my starting point.