Photo Gallery 040: Sleep-Testers Near The Wild Great Wall
摘要： Travel journals and hotel reviews you might often go through before going on a journey are most likely to be written by a group of people called “sleep-testers”.
Before going on a journey, most tourists have to first make several decisions, for example, where should they live? Therefore, travel journals and hotel reviews on major tourist websites will become crucial when tourists make these decisions. Authors of these journals and reviews are known as sleep-testers.
Most sleep-testers are high-end business people who travel a lot from places to places, such as CEOs and managers in foreign enterprises, while the rest might just be people who are fond of travelling or living in hotels. However, they all have one thing in common: they are all senior or top-level VIP members of major hotels.
Jolly is a marketing specialist at a foreign enterprise. Around a year ago, she began to write hotel reviews on major tourist websites. Yet, it is only when she saw an ad from Tujia.com that she sent her resume and became a sleep-tester. “When they heard that I am a sleep-tester, most people would ask me some really hilarious questions, such as: Are you supposed to sleep-testing for beds or people? Do you go sleep-testing alone or with others?” she told TMTpost, “As a matter of fact, there aren’t much requirement to become a sleep-tester. Some hotels might make us super VIP members, others would even let us do the test for free. However, we are not necessarily well-paid. The first bunch of sleep-testers in China emerged simply because they enjoyed living in hotels.” In the above picture, she accepted the invitation from Tujia.com (one of the major Chinese online homestay booking platform) and was waiting for the car to do sleep-testing for a homestay in Huairou District, Beijing.
Jolly put away part of the photos, receipts and notes she collected during both business trip and travelling. She’s been to many European countries and stayed in many different kinds of hotels. “After graduation, I’ve gone on quite a few business trips around the world for the past four years. I can no longer remember how many hotels I’ve lived in. Our company treat employees quite well, so we generally would stay in five-star hotels. To some degree, my rich experience in hotels and their services has made me a competent sleep-tester,” she told TMTpost.
Jolly (the first person from the right) was accompanying other tourists to look around the homestay and check the traffic conditions. She believed homestays were mostly quite remote, so it would be crucial if it is convenient for tourists to drive to the homestay. She had to take into consideration of lots of stuff: How should tourists from Xicheng District or Dongcheng District come to the homestay? How much time would it take? Is the traffic condition good enough? Is it easy to get sidetracked?
Jolly was testing how much time it was needed to get hot water, and if the temperature was appropriate enough. She told TMTpost that sleep-testers needed to be very careful, spot details normal people couldn’t and review hotels from the aspect of by-standers. Information such as neatness, surroundings, cultural background and facilities should all be included in the review.
Jolly was taking pictures for each room of the homestay with her smartphone. “This homestay is more like a youth hostel since the bed size and number of different rooms are also different. At first, I only enjoy staying in five-star hotels. However, after I started doing sleep-testing, I began to fall in love with homestays which more often have a stronger cultural atmosphere. Recently, some home owners in downtown Beijing would vacate a room and share it with tourists who want to get immersed in the everyday life of Beijingers. I’ve also tried some of these homestays. This kind of house-sharing is actually quite popular overseas right now,” Jolly explained.
“Comparatively speaking, you can’t have too much requirement for homestays after all. As long as it is neat, that would be okay. For five-star hotels, however, we shall spot details normal customers wouldn’t notice. For example, pillows of different hotels are actually quite different. Some hotels would even provide nine kinds of pillows made with different material and of different size for customers to choose. In fact, pillows have direct impact on sleep quality, so these details do matter a great deal,” she explained.
Jolly was taking a picture for the breakfast of the homestay. “We have to grasp well the light and composition of each picture. Sleep-testers need to be good at writing and taking pictures. These qualities are very essential for us,” Jolly added. As a matter of fact, some hotels would invite popular internet celebrities or CEOs to do sleep-testing to gain more publicity.
Jolly was communicating with the owner of the homestay to find out the management philosophy of the homestay. “I became so curious about the homestay when I heard that its owner’s name is ‘General Guihuai’ and the homestay is called ‘Qiangjinjiu’ (title of a popular Chinese ancient poet Li Po’s , which literally means “Bringing In The Wine”). General Guihuai, known for both her beauty and bravery, is actually a character in Dream of Red Mansions, while her favoriate poet is Li Po. I am so attracted to the homestay due to the rich metaphors under the homestay’s and its boss’s names. I shall also include cultural background in my reviews of this kind of homestays, because it is actually very important for them,” she said.
Jolly walked for a few kilometers to a place of interest near a section of the Wild Great Wall. “The homestay, located at Jiuduhe County, Huairou District, Beijing, is very near to the Wild Great Wall. This section of the Great Wall is kept the way as it was back in the Ming Dynasty and was of high historical value. Many foreigners and tourists would come and visit here, thus I have to include such information in my reviews,” she mentioned.
The Wild Great Wall was still not developed and well-protected yet, so a red army veteran volunteered to ensure safety temporarily. Jolly had a chat with the veteran to learn about his life experience and everyday life. For her, local residents and their stories were also of high value to her reviews.
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[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @Zhu Lingyu, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.