If you’ve stayed there before, choosing your perfect hotel can be an absolute breeze. You know 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.
Many of us take a leap into the unknown and untested when we book a destination, the hotel, sightseeing, travel plans… 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… most of the time it’s a mystery, and an adventure all rolled into one. So… how do you select a hotel when you’ve never stayed there before?
By asking the right questions before you go you can minimize any unexpected surprises and choose that perfect hotel. Let’s start right now…
Destination – Narrowing the Choices
Taking time out to be footloose and fancy free means that choosing a destination could have endless possibilities. So, let’s start narrowing down the options with a few significant questions…
- 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 reducing your field to suit your timeline, you can add plans that don’t fit today into a “Must 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 weather? Summer, Winter, Autumn or Spring? Skiing a pristine white snowfield will require a cosy chalet or try a tropical hideaway with your own sandy beach, the liquid amber leaves of autumn 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.
Sometimes you already know the destination – great choice! You know where you want to be, how you’re getting there and what you’re doing once you are there. Easy peasy.
Time to ask yourself some of the trickier questions… “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? (and the list goes on…)”
Once you have your destination chosen, it’s time to look at the rest of the factors for choosing a hotel.
Budget is 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, work out any other expenses like food & beverages, sightseeing, transport, shopping for souvenirs etc.
When you do come to book, focus only on the hotels that will work for you and your finances, wherever that may be.
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. 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 should all be factored in when setting an overall budget. And you may be surprised at what the Megastore team can come up!
Simply put. Where is it? The actual location of your hotel within your chosen destination. And your choice could depend on the reasons why you are staying.
A travellers reasons and needs are as different as the number of stars in the sky. For example, if you are a happy-go-lucky 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.
Decide on your must haves, and those that are less important before narrowing the hotel search down.
Services and amenities provided by each hotel will vary. Usually based on their rating. For instance, 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 without, then look for hotels that suit.
If you are a business traveller (or travelling with kids) it may be absolutely 100% essential to have WIFI accessible in-room, and not only in the lobby or café downstairs! If air-conditioning is not mentioned in a room amenities 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.
Good or Bad Reviews
“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 their customer service a positive experience? Did they have an amazing stay? Does the reviewer seem to have a similar outlook to you? Do they seem to have a bugbear or are they ranting on about insignificant things? Are other people making similar complaints or comments, and is it relevant to your stay?
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?
Having covered these basics about choosing a hotel, it should be an absolute breeze for your next holiday. We’ve looked at Destination, Budget, Value, Location, Amenities and Reviews – all covered. It’s such a great feeling when everything just slots into place isn’t it?
Speak to your travel solutions specialist for your next hotel stay on 1300 657 948
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