5 Ways to Choose Your Hotel
By: Erica Johnson
You are planning a holiday abroad for your family, and want everyone to have a good time. You surf the internet for hotel descriptions, but from the pictures that you see and what you read, all hotels project a perfect image of themselves. How can you tell which ones are better? You have never been there and know no one at your destination. At the same time, you don't want a hotel room that will bust your budget. How do you choose?
Check Independent Hotel Ratings
Well, the first step you can take is to visit hotel search engines for guest ratings for hotels represented by the search engines. In addition to pre-negotiated rates with individual hotels, most agents ask for ratings and comments from previous guests. Reading their comments will give you a fair idea on what to expect from the hotels located in your destination. Be sure to read a few comments in order to get a fair overview. Certain incidences described may only be rare occurrences that may already have been corrected.
Hotel Chains and Facilities
Are they part of an international hotel chain? Most international chains have stringent standards that are adhered to as well as a standard theme across all chains. They may have similar facilities (health clubs, spas, business centers, etc) which are important to maintain the hotel's high standards. Other things you can look out for include concierge, shuttle services to the city, airport transfers as well as good laundry services.
Perhaps one of the most critical things when selecting a hotel is its location. Hotels that are near to shopping areas, train stations or the city center charge higher rates as compared to those located elsewhere. Analyze a map of the area before you book to determine the nearest shopping areas or access to trains which will give you much convenience in moving around. Also, check with the hotel if they have any large tour groups coming in at the same time. Hotels charge higher rates during high occupancy periods and do not have the flexibility of late check-outs. These are important aspects which, if overlooked, may affect your tour schedule as well as your impression of the hotel's level of hospitality.
Rates and Discounts
Hotel rates are a huge factor when it comes to choosing a hotel. However, paying more does not necessarily mean that you will receive an equivalent level of service and standards. One of the ways to maximize on prices would be check if they are part of an alliance with flights or car rental companies, which offer discounts to customers of their allies. Sometimes, credit card companies offer their cardholders exclusive rates to special hotels which can be pretty attractive. Additionally, if it's possible to use your frequent flyer points to redeem hotel discounts, this could help reduce hotel costs as well.
Finally, apart from chain hotels, boutique hotels may are great alternatives for romantic getaways for couples or families seeking hotels of a more distinctive theme. Many boutique hotels have fewer rooms but offer more value added services such as spas within the bedroom, breakfasts in bed or even in-room massages. In the end, your choice of hotel really depends on what you want out of your holiday.
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About the Author
Both Erica Johnson & her husband David love to travel, ski and meet people from different cultures. They have traveled all continents to experience hospitality, adventure, sports, exotic foods, learn new languages and understand history.