When you need a hotel, you want to make sure you choose the one that best fits your needs and desires. Surfing through countless discount sites, promotions, and sales can be a daunting task, to say the least. What can create even more confusion and stress is the surplus of discount hotel sites online offering great ratings and incredible pictures. The question is, as nice as the pictures look, is that really what you’re looking for or what you can even expect to find when you actually get there? Every traveler has different specific requirements when it comes to a hotel. Similarly, no two hotels are exactly the same. Therefore, there are several things you should really take the time to consider before booking your next hotel stay. Here are 5 important questions to ask yourself, in order to make sure you are definitely choosing the best hotel for you and don’t forget to check out DealsPlus for the best deals for your next trip.
This is a guest post from Stephanie Mialki at Deals Plus (with some inserted ideas from Tasting Pour shown in italics). We have received no compensation. We have not tried this service so we are not endorsing it. These are good tips, however, and we would love to hear feedback from our readers who are great at finding deals or who have funny hotel travel stories to share.
1. What is most important to you?
Is this a business trip or a leisurely vacation? Will there be any children with you? Is the hotel going to be part of your vacation, or is it just a place to crash for the night? There are tons of factors to consider when booking a hotel, so you need to decide what YOU are looking for, and what’s most important to YOU. Whether it’s hospitality, security, comfort, cost, Internet access, a pool, complimentary breakfast, or anything else you can think of, you’ll want to make a list of each of these important things before you start your search. Don’t skimp out on your trip if you don’t have to! Tasting Pour almost booked a fantastic looking, well priced little B&B until we read their no alcohol policy. Say what? Definitely a deal breaker! OR what about Oregon’s Breitenbush Hot Springs where you can get naked but you can’t drink. Who gets naked sober?
2. What is your budget?
While we would all probably love a 5-star hotel experience, it may not be in the budget for everybody. Like it or not, your budget plays a big role in planning your hotel stay. Take into consideration what is included in the cost of the stay as well – WiFi, breakfast, gratuity, etc. You should also consider the money you’ll be spending on your trip, aside from your hotel stay, as this could affect how much you want to spend on your sleeping quarters. At Tasting Pour if there is breakfast we always look for pics and descriptions then take into consideration the cost of an included breakfast and the availability of an epic breakfast experience in town at a fancy brunch spot or a retro diner. See Walla Walla Restaurants for some great places for breakfast. Plus always check for parking costs which can drive up the nightly price.
Pro tip: Calling the hotel first can often help you find discounts. A lot of times, hotels will quote you a certain price, and if you mention seeing a promotion online, they will give you the lowest rate possible just to land the booking. Another option to help you stay within your budget is to shop online so that you can enter your max price and look at all of the different hotel options at once. Lastly, most hotels give significant discounts to AAA members!
3. What amenities are you looking for?
As mentioned earlier, no two hotels are the same, and this is partly because of all of the different amenities offered at all of the different hotels. Whether you’re looking for a hotel with a swimming pool, one that is pet-friendly, or one that offers a fitness center, you can certainly find it as long as you take the time to do your research. By narrowing down your must-have characteristics, it will help you to rule out any of the hotels that won’t give you everything you want or need for your stay. For Tasting Pour sometimes those “amenities” can be warning signs. “Kid friendly” and “pet friendly’ may work for some travelers and be good info to warn the romantic and allergic among us. Like the time two 8 year old boys joined us in the hot tub and one of them had a staph infection.
4. Do you have any loyalty program points to use, or are there any being offered?
Frequent travel can help with your decision-making. If you travel often, you probably book a lot of hotel stays and hopefully rack up lots of hotel rewards points doing so. After a while, this can lead to steep discounts or even free stays, and with any luck, one of these qualifying hotels will offer everything you’re looking for and more for in a hotel! We do find that our AARP hotel discount pays for our membership.
5. What do the ratings and reviews look like?
One way a lot of people like to choose a hotel is by its ratings and reviews from others, as these can tell you a lot about the experience you’re going to get at the same hotel. Again, while most people would probably LOVE to stay in a 5-star hotel, not everyone can afford it. So instead, go online, check out some ratings and reviews, and find the closest thing to a 5-star experience as possible! But pay attention to who is making the reviews. Tasting Pour is reminded of a lovely day in Paris when armed with bleach and bio hazard suits we divided and conquered the bathroom and kitchen in our VRBO apartment. All of the rave reviews were from travelers from countries that may have had different standards.
Please share your tips and travel stories or your experience with DealsPlus in the comment section.