Sorry the interactive part of Google Maps (on HostelBookers.com) doesn’t seem to work. (2/6/2007)
Maps of cities - at least in California - do appear but the locations of the hostels are not pointed out. “Google Maps” and “Google Earth” does have the capability of showing exact locations, but the folks at HostelBookers have yet to figure that out.
Another downside to most all Hostel booking sites is that most only list hostels that sign up with their own booking service. The booking fees generate the revenue to keep the sites alive and to proliferate. While larger hostels have sufficient knowledgeable staff to list with numerous booking services, smaller hostels don’t have the bed capacity, nor sufficient staff to oversee all these booking services, all using different formats, on a daily basis. Consequently only a few hostels are listed by each booking service.
The largest world-wide hostel chain, Hostelling International, has its own free booking service, so many HI-affiliated hostels will only be listed at HI web sites. Since HI-affiliated hostels have to meet and maintain minimum standards, are inspected at least annually, they generally have the highest quality ratings for cleanliness and safety. Any customer complaints are taken seriously and can be appealed up to national headquarters. Many small independent hostels have a “friendlier feel” since they are more lenient when observing normal hostel house rules. However, many are derelict when it comes to cleanliness, fire safety, personal security and customer satisfaction.
Hostelz.com is one private booking service that strives to list all hostels, even if not signed up with their booking service. They also post independent hostel quality reviews on their web site. It’s best for the budget traveller to seek out several hostel booking sites to ascertain a complete list of hostels to select from.
(UK-based HostelBookers.com has partnered with Google Maps to launch what it calls a pioneering tool allowing visitors to locate hostels and budget hotels with maps, photos, and a sophisticated hybrid of the two).