Hotels can be a breeze if you have stayed there before. You know where it is, how to get there and exactly what is waiting for you at the other end of a long flight. It’s such a great feeling when everything just slots into place.
Much of the time though, you take a leap into the unseen and unknown – your destination, the hotel, what you’ll see there… it’s all an adventure. That’s all part of the appeal isn’t it?
Sometimes. Much of the time all you have to go by is a brief description online, or a beautiful picture in a travel agents brochure or a friend’s recommendation. So, how do you choose a hotel when you have never stayed there before?
Here at Vacation Rewards®, we ask the right questions before you go to help you minimize any unexpected surprises and find that perfect hotel just for you. Let’s start right now…
Choosing your Destination
Sometimes you already know where you want to be or where you have to go. Time to ask yourself…
How do I get from point A to point B? Where and what is the length of stay at point B? Will there be a stopover or extension along the way? How much will it cost? Are there any other factors I need to consider? (The list goes on…)
If you are, on the other hand, footloose and fancy free – then the world is your oyster! That can mean that choosing a destination may be endless. So, let’s start narrowing down the options with a few questions…
Questions to help you choose your hotel location
- What are you interested in? Party-time, having fun and random adventure? Culture & architecture, history, art & museums, relaxation or deep sea diving, big cities or peaceful villages or wilderness regions. UNESCO World Heritage, the natural or manmade wonders of the world and more. There are many destinations that will suit your particular tastes and interests. All you have to decide is what THIS holiday is all about. That way you can choose a destination and hotel that should fit you perfectly.
- Do you have a bucket list? Already got a destination in mind? Is there a place you’ve always wanted to go? Somewhere you dream about? A place that calls to you and inspires you? Is this going to be the ultimate trip of your lifetime? Or is this a quick & easy getaway? Leading us to the next question…
- How long have you got? Go local if it’s only a few days. Further afield if there’s more time up your sleeve. By narrowing your field to fit your timeline, you can add plans that don’t fit into a “Do Later” list. That way you narrow the field only to your “go to” locations.
- Climate is also good decider. Do you prefer hot or cold climates? Summer or Winter? Skiing a pristine white snowfield will require a cosy chalet or try a tropical hideaway with your own sandy beach or city central where the weather won’t particularly matter with so much on offer? Pick how your holiday will feel to include/exclude climate specific destinations.
Solution: Narrow down the options to choose a destination
What’s your Budget?
Your budget will be a huge determining factor on whether you stay in a 2-star property – the good old, clean & comfortable – or an ultra-luxury, swish and swanky 5-star over-water bungalow with built in butler. It all comes down to how much are you prepared to spend, or “REALITY CHECK” – how much you actually have to spend.
It’s best to work this out beforehand based on how many nights and the number of people staying and (as best you can) any other expenses like food & beverages, sightseeing, transport, shopping for souvenirs etc.
Solution: When you do come to book, focus on the hotels that will work for you and your finances, whatever and wherever that may be.
Hotels with Value
Value for money can definitely come into your selection of hotel. We all know there are great deals out there to suit any budget – so do your homework BEFORE you commit to a hotel. Special deals, rewards points, bonus inclusions, packages, discounts, low and shoulder travel times are all good indicators of great value. Look out for hotels with inclusions, freebies and price reductions with “minimum stay”. Breakfast, access to kids club, sightseeing & activities, dining discounts and more can all be factored in when setting an overall budget.
Solution: Do your homework before you decide.
Location of Hotel
Simply put. Where is it? We are referring to the actual location of your hotel within your chosen destination. And your choise could depend on the reasons that you are staying.
A travellers reasons and needs are different if they are a happy-go-lucky tourist versus a corporate traveller. As a tourist, a hotel near to the main sights and highlights will be important – near Times Square in NY, within view of the Pyramids of Egypt or the Eiffel Tower – whatever floats your boat! Alternatively, access to good transport links – a hotel located on the Paris Metro line, near a bus line or the Tube in London.
Whereas being close to a major business hub may be a better option for a corporate traveller. The importance of nearby airports and transport, and transfers to/from the hotel will make life a whole lot easier.
Solution: Simply decide on your particular must haves, and those that are less important to narrow down your hotel search.
What amenities are provided?
Services and amenities provided by each hotel will vary, usually based on their rating. A 2-star property may be an ideal clean, comfortable, with full-kitchen facilities and a family friendly atmosphere. Whereas a five-star property may offer beach-front luxury suites with in-room tea/coffee, in-room internet, 2 unique on-site restaurants, shops, pool & spa, concierge, on-site parking and more. Your choice could be limited to your budget, or location, however the amenities of a hotel should also take into account your needs and desires.
So… how to choose a hotel with what you need and desire? Make a list of must haves and live withouts, then look for hotels that suit.
As a business traveller it may be necessary to have WIFI accessible in-room, and not only in the lobby or café downstairs! Additionally, if you are doing your research and air-conditioning is not mentioned in a room amenity list, don’t just assume – find out, it’s easy to ask the question. Your personal comfort in 48°C heat will not be solved by an open window, believe me!
Is a pool a MUST for your family holiday? A full kitchen or in-room bathroom (a definite must in my books – walking to the communal shower in my jim-jams was not fun) Or will you need a concierge service to book tickets to the latest Broadway Show? Or a restaurant & bar to relax spend some downtime after a long day… the list is endless and up to you.
Solution: Make a list of must haves then look for hotels that suit.
Reviews – Good or Bad?
It’s good to “shop around” and look at a few different websites that show customer testimonials and other peoples experiences. Are the rooms too small or too big? Was customer service a positive experience? Did they have an amazing stay? Does the reviewer seem to have a similar outlook to you? Do they have a bugbear or ranting on about insignificant things? Can you see other people making similar complaints or comments?
Before passing judgment on any hotel though, ask yourself if the review (good or bad) is fair and refers to something that is important to you?
Solution: Review other customers experiences and decide if they are relevant.
We have now covered these basics about choosing a hotel so it should be an absolute breeze to choose your next hotel. Destination, Value, Location and Reviews – all covered. It’s such a great feeling when everything just slots into place isn’t it!
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