When you don’t practice couch surfing (yet) and you don’t have friends everywhere to host you during your travels, the only decent choice you have when on the road is to start looking for a hotel. Especially if you plan to travel during the high season and during the week-ends, you should take some time in advance in order to find the best offer in terms of the balance between quality and price.
A couple of evenings ago, I set up a list of criteria that I always consider when it comes to the hotel search.
– Breakfast – As you need a lot of energy during the day for your trips, the breakfast is very important for helping you to have the strength for the trip. Also, when the price is included in the price of the hotel one may save money. My advice: don’t trust the Italian breakfast, is almost…nothing! If they can help you with vegetarian/vegan options, expect only good surprises coming out of the kitchen of this hotel!
– Price – If you are a regular customer of the big networks of hotel bookings, you can get important prices. Before you make the reservation, you should check carefully the list of offers. If you paid already a deposit for the reservation, don’t forget how many days in advance you can cancel your reservation and save your deposit. Also, you may know that the prices may vary from a season to another. For instance, if you want to visit a ski resort during the summer, the prices will be more tempting then compared with the high season of ski.
– Cleaning – Read the reviews of other customers. Most part of them will obviously mention the lack of clean conditions.
– The importance of safety does not need to be explained. The reviews of the hotels as well as the random choices made on the Internet about the hotel will let you know a lot of interesting details that may help you to take the right decision.
– Wifi – Unless you want to cut yourself completely from the world, you should always consider the possibility of checking your e-mail, preferably for free.
– Tours and special discounts – If you found a hotel which is included in a network of companies offering discounts and free tours, this is what you need!
– Parking possibilities are gold when you drive. I meant, free parking possibilities!
– The location is very important, especially if your don’t drive. In many cities, living outside the city means spending a lot of time commuting, and even more money for taxi or expensive trips. A couple of summers ago, I booked a lovely hotel in Corsica, whose main disadvantage was that it was situated (only) 10 km. away of any decent bus or connection to the city. It was wonderful to wake up and see the wonderful landscape around the mountain and the sea far away, but how frustrating to realize that you can’t do anything else but look. Plus, if you plan to spend time at the seaside, you may burn of curiosity to find out how far you are from the beach and, eventually, if you can benefit of some special prices offered by this hotel. For instance, many hotels in Turkey will give you the chance to use some private beaches or to enjoy a special all inclusive menu for a couple of hours or to use the swimming pool for free etc.
– Good customer service is the pleasant sensation you have that the people at the reception desk are always kind and with a smile on their face, whatever your requests are. The possibility to communicate in English is very important, in case that you are not familiar with the local language. The first contact with them is through the pre-reservation stage when you start asking for various requirements via e-mail. If they answer fast and politely, go further and book the stay, they will treat you nicely. Thus, it is important that the hotel has an updated webpage, with an English version as well, introducing all the basic details a tourist is looking for.
– In case that you are looking for a good portion of wellness, it is important that you can find in your hotel a good choice of spa, wellness, massage and eventually, some fitness too.
– If you don’t like to care about the transportation to and from the airport, the offer of your hotel to use the service of the shuttle bus will never be declined.
– In case that you are one of the art lovers, the architecture and the design of the hotel are very important. The same can be said about those looking to spend places in the favorite hotels of stars or in hotels where important historical events took place.
– For business people, it is important that their hotel is also provided with proper conference rooms or at least with some facilities allowing private spaces for proper business discussions.
– Are you travelling with pets? Be sure that your hotel will let you spend the night in the same room with your dog – or cat, or…who knows what?
– The families with children will be happy to check if the hotel can offer at least one hour of proper babysitting, or if the hotel has good facilities for their small ones, such as playground, access to special swimming pools etc.
– Shopping opportunities are always important for shopping addicts, but not only. Many hotels in Japan offer this option and I remember how during my stay in Yokohama I succeeded to buy a completely new business outfit only after a couple of visits to the underground shops. Those were the days!
What about you? What are you looking for when booking a hotel?