We all have had to stay at a hotel or motel at one time or another. Most of the time my hotel stays have been fantastic. Yet on a few occasions, I selected poorly. Not Psycho, as shown above, level but pretty close. It was in what appeared to be an ok area but it was not.
There are plenty of online tools and telltale signs (from review sites and Google Maps to weird photos and bed-bug registries) to help tip you off that you might be booking a crappy hotel.
To help you avoid a Psycho hotel experience follow these tips:
CHECK ONLINE REVIEWS
One of the best ways to avoid disaster when it comes to hotels is to see what other people are saying. Keep in mind though, that it is not enough to hear what people “generally” think about the chain. You need to find out how the local reviews are in the town you wish to stay in. That way you know how the experience was in that locale before you go. If you find a bad review, that may be normal. Not everyone’s experience is the same. But it might be a sign you need to call them and address the issue. Then you can at least hear it from them if the problem has been resolved.
Avoid if it’s hard to reach a real person
If you can’t get hotel management or reception to respond to your e-mail or phone inquiries in a friendly, timely manner when they’re trying to win your business, what makes you think they’ll be helpful once you’re actually staying there?
If you book directly with a hotel, you might get a better rate, too. After frequent visits, your loyalty will also be rewarded with better room options upon arrival.
Hilton lets its HHonors member’s check-in and selects their room from the available choices online before ever setting foot in the door. They’ve actually overlaid Google Maps onto their digital floor plans, so guests can see rooms in relation to streets, nearby natural features and more.
Images Can Be Tricky
Be wary of pics that look too perfect. A staged, almost Photoshopped shot of the hotel pool or an unobstructed beach with a sexy woman in a bikini seems pretty perfect, right? But what you’re not seeing is the construction site next to the diving board or the pesky giant building behind the dunes, both of which have been conveniently cropped out.
The website is seriously outdated probably the hotel too
The Internet is an essential tool for travelers nowadays. If a hotel can’t be bothered to update its website, what are the chances it has bothered to update its furnishing and fixtures and whatnot? We’re not saying that the tiny B&B you found has to have a flashy website, exactly—just that you might want to independently verify what the property is really like with a few other trusty sources.
Join Loyalty Programs
Another easy way to improve your odds of escaping unfavorable rooms is to join any and all free hotel loyalty programs. These programs often net a variety of perks like free WiFi, lower rates and the opportunity to earn points toward a future stay.
Call the Morning of Check-In
Many hotel staffers agree it’s also a good practice to call the property the morning of check-in to make your requests or remind them of your preferences.
Staying in a B&B is a popular, sometimes luxurious, alternative to conventional hotels. Some B&Bs consist of no more than a couple of furnished rooms in someone’s home, and even the larger establishments tend to have fewer than ten rooms, sometimes without TV or phone, but often laden with potpourri, chintzy cushions, and an assertively precious Victorian atmosphere. If this cozy, twee setting appeals to you, there’s a range of choices throughout the country, but keep a few things in mind. For one, you may not be an anonymous guest as you would in a chain hotel, but may be expected to chat with the host and other guests, especially during breakfast. Also, some B&Bs enforce curfews, not allowing or appreciating their guests to stumble in long after midnight after a heady night of drunken partying. The only way to know the policy for certain is to check each B&B’s policy online – there’s often a long list of do’s and don’ts.
The price you pay for a B&B – which varies from around $80 to $275 for a double room – always includes breakfast (sometimes a buffet on a sideboard, but more often a full-blown cooked meal). The crucial determining factor is whether each room has an en-suite bathroom; most B&Bs provide private bath facilities, although that can damage the authenticity of a fine old house. At the top end of the spectrum, the distinction between a “boutique hotel” and a “bed-and-breakfast inn” may amount to no more than that the B&B is owned by a private individual rather than a chain. In many areas, B&Bs have united to form central booking agencies, making it much easier to find a room at short notice; we’ve given contact information for these where appropriate.
If you search for different dates for the same location you will notice that hotel prices can go up and down from day to day. If you track the prices over a period of weeks you may notice further differences. Hotel prices change for several reasons, the biggest ones being:
- Most hotels use revenue management software and other algorithms to automatically update their hotel room rates. These help them predict when demand will be high, which can affect the prices.
- Hotel prices change because there are major local events or during peak vacation season, you can expect prices to be at their highest. During periods of low demand, prices are automatically lowered to entice visitors to book empty rooms.
Considering some of the factors that influence hotel rates may help you decide on the best time of year to book your stay.
How do I find cheap hotel rates?
The most effective way of finding affordable accommodations is searching for multiple hotel booking sites at once using Skyscanner. You will be provided with the lowest rates and best value for a range of hotels in the destination you select. You can choose to compare hotels within a particular location within the city, hotels that have the same star rating or have similar amenities.