Frequently Asked Questions
- How did you come up with this idea?
- Why did you choose the name Oyster?
- Where are you based?
- How many people use Oyster?
The Oyster difference
- How is Oyster different from sites such as Hotels.com and Expedia?
- How is Oyster different from TripAdvisor?
- What destinations do you cover?
- What destinations will you cover next?
- Can I request a destination to be added?
- Does Oyster cover anything besides hotels?
Advertising on Oyster
Oyster in the Media
- I love your ads on TV. Where can I see more?
- What is your relationship with the Travel Channel?
- Where can I read about Oyster in the news?
- I saw some content produced by Oyster on another site. What's that about?
- The photos on your site are awesome. Who took them?
- Can I use Oyster's photos on my website?
- Do you retouch photos?
- How do you obtain the GPS data for your maps?
- Why do some booking engines have lower prices?
- Why is the price on the booking engine website different than on yours?
How did you come up with this idea?
The idea for Oyster came from our own travel experiences. We grew frustrated with hotel websites, as well as with Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity, when hotels consistently turned out to be different from what those sites had suggested. We eventually decided that we needed to solve the problem ourselves. Check out our Oyster Story page for more information.
Why did you choose the name Oyster?
As Shakespeare wrote, "The world is your oyster" -- meaning that its possibilities are yours for the taking. At Oyster, we help you take on the world by making it easy to find the right hotel. Through independent reporting and honest, undoctored hotel photography, we deliver the "raw" truth so that you can find what you're really looking for. Boris Fishman, an early adviser to the company and former employee, gets credit for coming up with the name.
How many people use Oyster?
More than 10 million unique customers a year use our expert content to make hotel decisions -- and that number is growing fast!
How is Oyster different from sites such as Hotels.com and Expedia?
Oyster's expert hotel investigators visit every property in-person and take every photo, and our written reviews are always objective. In contrast, sites such as Hotels.com, Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity rely heavily on hotels' marketing materials for both the text and images that appear on their sites. We want you to find and book the hotel that's right for you, so we're completely honest about what you should expect when you arrive -- if a hotel is dirty, or noisy, or in a seedy neighborhood, we'll let you know.
How is Oyster different from TripAdvisor?
Our reviewers use a consistent set of criteria to ensure they apply the same standards to each hotel. TripAdvisor relies on the opinions of a community of semi-anonymous users with inconsistent, undisclosed, and unreliable expectations. On any given TripAdvisor hotel page, you can usually find 50 people who thought it was the greatest place they'd ever stayed and 50 others who wouldn't send their worst enemy there. In addition, the scope and quality of TripAdvisor's user photos are inconsistent.
Oyster, on the other hand, offers one clear, expert opinion. And our photo coverage blows other online sources out of the water; we offer extensive, high-quality photos for every property, organized into logical albums.
What destinations do you cover?
We currently cover nearly 200 destinations around the globe, all of which can be viewed here. Expect many more to come in the near future!
What destinations will you cover next?
We don't disclose the destinations that we are covering next. If, however, you have a destination that you'd like to see us cover, please let us know.
Can I request a destination to be added?
Of course! Oyster is rapdily adding new destinations, so if you don't see your favorite vacation spot on here yet, not to fear. We visit every destination and hotel in person, so it may take a little time, but we think the results are worth it. Let us know your request at email@example.com.
Does Oyster cover anything besides hotels?
Oyster currently focuses primarily on hotels. Food is an important part of any trip, so we also eat at and photograph restaurants at or near every hotel we visit. We then report our findings in each review's "Food" section. Check out our review of BLT Burger in the Betsy Hotel in Miami. We even photographed the steak we had for dinner.
Can I request a hotel to be added?
Absolutely! We love to hear what hotels our users are most excited to see. We can't promise we'll get to it right away, but we value your feedback. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
I am a hotel. How do I get added?
If you're a hotel, we'd love to hear from you. E-mail us at email@example.com.
I'd love to advertise on Oyster. How do I find out more?
We're glad you asked! You can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more info, and learn more about why Oyster is a great place to advertise here.
I liked your ads on TV. Where can I see more?
What is Oyster's relationship with the Travel Channel?
Oyster.com and the Travel Channel are partners! The Travel Channel uses our hotel content across their site, and features us in their TV shows, such as Hotel Impossible. (Check out Oyster's Hotel Impossible coverage here!) We're an affiliate of Scripps Networks, which also owns the Food Network and HGTV.
Where can I read about Oyster in the news?
Oyster has been written up in a lot publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Frommer's, USA Today, and more. You can see all of our stories here.
I saw some content written by Oyster on another site. What's that about?
We syndicate our curated hotel content to a variety of partners, including the Huffington Post, Fox News.com, Business Insider, Reuters, and McClatchy. And you can always read our freshest content on the Oyster Blog.
The photos on your site are awesome. Who took them?
Oyster's hotel investigators take all of the photos on our site. We don't use any stock photos or photos that are provided by the hotel. All of the photos you see are taken with high-quality digital cameras so you see the hotel exactly the way we do -- warts (and stains and cracks) and all.
Can I use Oyster's photos on my website?
Other media websites and individuals can use individual photos for noncommercial purposes provided you do not alter them in any way and include a standard link back to oyster. To use more than five photos, or to use them for commercial purposes, please contact us directly with your specific request.
How do you obtain the GPS data for your maps?
We use sophisticated di-GPS Pro units to record the position of every photo we take, and this data allows us to pinpoint the exact location of the hotels we visit. Since we actually go to the hotels and gather the GPS information independently, we are confident that we have the most accurate data available.
Being an Oyster reviewer seems like the dream job. Are you hiring?
Thanks for your interest! Check out our Jobs page to see our current openings.
Why isn't this link/photo/page working?
Oyster is growing very quickly, and with that comes a few growing pains. We are human, and we make mistakes. If you see something that needs to be fixed, please let us know by contacting us.
Why do some booking engines have lower prices?
Competition between booking engines is real, and it's possible that one will have a significantly lower price than another. We created our pricing search engine for the sole purpose of finding you these kind of deals -- we want you to find your perfect hotel at the best possible price. However, sometimes prices are different due to errors, either on our end or the booking website's end; if you find one, please let us know so that we can investigate. We're working hard to make our price comparisons as accurate as possible.
Why is the price on the booking engine website different than on yours?
Hotel rates fluctuate frequently, and while we're working hard to make sure our rates always reflect live prices, once in a while the booking website will have a more current rate. Or occasionally the rate might be different due to an error, on our end or on theirs.