When searching for accommodation, choosing the right hotel can be very trying at times (well, most of the time). Considering the number of deals, programs, and promotions available, it can be quite overwhelming. It does not help that a majority of hotels today have websites full of slick promotional copy and enticing photos that make you believe that you will be bathing in luxury once you step into the hotel lobby. But how do you tell if a hotel lives up to its hype? Also, how do you know if it is the right hotel for you?
Each traveller has unique needs. As a person looking for boarding options, you need to ask yourself what is important to you. Are you looking for unique deals, a great bed and breakfast, or a unique location? If so, read this hotel selection guide for an easier time finding and picking the perfect hotel for your next trip.
What Matters Most?
Before starting your search, take time to think about the type and quality of accommodation you want and if your budget allows it. Are you limited to £150-per-night hotels or does location trump price? Would you rather lodge at a small, cosy property full of local charm or do you need a hotel with a fitness and spa centre, like the Savoy Palace in Madeira?
Determining your priorities will allow you to start a more targeted search. Here is a look at the most common factors most people use when choosing a hotel plus tips on how to find properties that best suit your needs.
Almost all major booking engines allow you to sort results by pricing. Use booking engines to see what is available and the test rates of potential hotels and lodges; after you have identified a hotel that best suits your needs and budget, head straight to their hotel’s website and book. Most hotels will offer you low rates when you make a booking on their site and will even match lower prices found elsewhere.
All major booking sites allow users to view search results on Google maps, which makes it easier to see which properties are in the neighbourhood you prefer or right on the beach. Old-fashioned guidebooks can also be quite useful when searching for hotels in specific locations since hotels are often listed by location/neighbourhood and are plotted on the city’s map.
Most major hotel booking engines let you specify the amenities you want (restaurant, fitness centre, swimming pool, etc.) when making a query.
Frequent Flier Miles and Loyalty Programmes
If you have frequent flier programme membership or travel a lot, it might be worth your while joining a hotel loyalty programme. Doing so will not only allow you to earn points through future hotel stays, but you could also accumulate airline miles if the establishment you are staying at is partnered with the frequent flier programme you are a member of.
If you are conscious of the environment and want to minimise your impact on the environment, then consider staying at a green hotel. You can search for such hotels through various organisations such as the Green Hotels Association and Green Globe.
If you are going on a family vacation with your kids and spouse, search for family-friendly hotels and exclusive deals.
Very few people today book a hotel without checking out the reviews submitted by other travellers on travel sites like Booking.com, TripAdvisor and others. Reviews can help you learn the truth about how clean their rooms are, how friendly a hotel’s staff is, and if their Wi-Fi works.
Most travel review sites also let users post photos of the hotels they stayed at – these are generally less glamorous and more realistic than the professional, edited images you see on hotel websites.
Of course, it is always advisable that you view the reviews you see on some of these sites with some scepticism. Overly-fawning reviews could have been crafted by employees of these hotels disguised as guests. One or two negative reviews from super-fussy travellers are to be expected. However, despite one or two misleading reviews, most ratings left by travellers are an unbiased, invaluable, and honest resource when picking a hotel.