I've had the pleasure of staying it some very nice Holiday Houses, in German they call these Verein Wohnung VeWo pronounced Fay Vo. I mentioned before a web site called Home away. I learned of this site while on my trip through Germany. If you plan to stay anywhere in the world this site is supposed to help you with finding a house or apartment.
Many years ago I stumbled upon a different site and that was Map 24. What I found helpful resource wise was that it was possible to view towns I was interested in visiting. I also discovered that if you zoomed in close enough you could find hotels, and other places of interest that were located in that town. When I rolled my cursor over many of the hotels shown on the map I got their information and was able to look them up on the Internet. While using Map 24 I set up an account that I can log into and retrieve any saved maps from my account on any computer anywhere.
Using the map I was able to locate hotels that fit my travel needs. These needs have varied on different trips. I drove one trip so I wasn't worried to much about public transportation. My last trip I relied entirely on public transportation so when researching places for my trip I could find hotels or rooms close to the train station or in some cases the bus. I wasn't always successful in getting some room close to the train. Then again the people I rented from were willing to come and pick me up from the train station and take me to the room. This was very helpful to me. We all know that sometimes maps just aren't entirely correct no matter how many times they get updated.
I've used alternate methods of locating places to stay. I have to say that I keep coming back to Map 24. I must also say that I tend to do a lot of research quit far in advance. I know when I am getting ready to take a trip. I try to get everything arraigned as far out as possible. I get my plane tickets at least a year in advance. I also have a list of places that I am interested in visiting. This list is my starting point for seeking out accommodations that fit my needs. I tend to look at three or more places that will work for what I want to do. I then send letters expressing my travel plans. I use a calendar and I start filling in the hotels with the dates they will be open. Through experience I've learned that I need to put as much information on this calendar as possible not just the date I'll be at that hotel or place. I include also the address and phone number. If it is possible I get a photo of what the place looks like from street level. Along with that I also put the amount I've agreed to pay for my stay. I put all of this information onto a jump or thumb drive. I also print out some maps of how to get there as well as the printed turn by turn directions. All of this information goes into my money pouch that I carry around my neck. Once I've gotten to a hotel the printed maps and contact info stay with me until I go to the next hotel. I keep all the electronic info just in case I want to keep in contact with the people I've met.
So far I've been very lucky with the places that I've found. The last trip I stayed in two VeWo's and two hotels. My experiences in all of them were very good. I have some very fond memories because the people were very nice and accommodating to me.
Here are a couple of other things that I learned by observation.
If you plan to stay along the Rhine or any major river way remember this. Trains run 24/7 on both sides of the river, so if you check your map and see that the train track is right next to your hotel it might be a good idea see if you can locate a different one a block or so away. The tourist traffic on the Rhine also goes up and down the river 24/7. Those barges are one cylinder diesel motors chugging up and down the river. I've seen some hotels that were literally two meters from the track! You may have a very nice hotel room but then again the constant noise from the trains and river traffic may get to be a little much.