Choosing a hotel for your vacations is one of the most crucial parts of planning your trip. Sometimes, things out of our control happen, but there are many factors we can control that will help us avoid a disastrous stay at a hotel.
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You glance over the hotel pictures, and it looks nice. There is a flash deal, and you’re ready to enter the credit card number. Stop. Just because it says is located in the same city that you will be visiting, that does not mean you should book it.
Sometimes the surroundings of a hotel are almost as important as the hotel itself. Do you want to be in the center of the action, or maybe you are looking for more peace? Are you close to points of interest and restaurants? How much will you need to drive?
I have mentioned the following hotel before, but the Emory Conference Center Hotel in Atlanta (Book it Here!) is an excellent example of this. Staying in Downtown Atlanta means that during the weekend the streets will be busy until late. Depending on where you are staying that could mean no sleep for you. I prefer to drive twenty minutes and stay at a hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, which is located in a forest preserve where I can sleep like a baby (who invented that saying?). The best thing is that I have found the rates to be similar (and even cheaper) than those in Downtown on many occasions.
Safety is one of the most challenging factors to control because as some people say, life happens. However, there is still some research you can perform in advance. For example, find out if the hotel room has a safe. Google the map address and if available check the area around it with Google Street View. If you know a local, ask them about the area. Let them spill the beans!
You also have to take some precautions when you arrive at your hotel. Inspect the room, test the door locks, secure locks on windows, don’t flaunt your hotel key outside when going out, be careful of who you invite to your room, and always be alert for suspicious people at the hotel parking, lobby, and hallways.
Amenities are not only toiletries, even though there are some that are amazing. Aloft soap I’m looking at you. (Book the Aloft Sarasota Here!) The way that I look at amenities is if I’m only going to sleep I don’t really care about how many pools the hotel has. If I’m thinking about spending a substantial amount of my trip at the hotel I then pay more attention.
Some amenities to consider when going on a business trip are Internet access and speed, a business center and an office desk in the hotel room. For a trip with kids, a pool is always nice to have after a day of being a tourist. For me, I like when breakfast is included or when there is a nice restaurant on site. Food is my favorite type of amenity. Complimentary sherry in the afternoon is also very sweet, just like they do at the Fulton Inn in Charleston, South Carolina (Book It Here!).
The majority of the big hotel chains offers some type of loyalty membership. Aside from accumulating points and eventually earning free stays, other perks come along with your new member ID number. I don’t have definitive proof of this (just my personal experience), but the treatment tends to be different. The customer service tends to be better when you are a loyalty member than when you aren’t. Additionally, depending on the program, you might be entitled to upgrades, early check-in, late check-out, mobile keys, and complimentary bottled water. Most of these programs have no initiation costs, and it never hurts to join one before booking your stay in a participant hotel.
Hotels would like to obtain everyone’s business, no matter their age or what they do. However, they know that’s not possible. Instead, they create an avatar who also happens to be their perfect client. As an example, a hotel chain might think Rebecca is their ideal customer. Let’s get to know her better.
- Name: Rebecca
- Children: Two (Ages 5 & 7)
- Food Preferences: Prefers Organic food for her kids.
- Occupation: Social Worker
After the avatar description is completed, the hotel can target people like Rebecca. The simplified version of how they do this is by portraying the hotel as one that’s family friendly, where you can eat a healthy breakfast. It also wouldn’t hurt to involve themselves in charities that a person like their avatar could feel a connection to.
Where are we getting with this? Well, different hotel chains target different audiences. Try to remember their commercials, and look at the pictures on their official website. Is it showing couples, young people, families? After looking at this, you will have a good idea who are they targeting and if you will feel comfortable at this hotel.
Value for Money
If something looks too good to be true it probably is. We have heard that phrase before numerous times. And you know why? Because it’s fairly accurate. You are looking at spending a long weekend near the beach, and you find a deal that includes 3 nights for the price of 2, or even 1. Tread carefully. You might be falling into the timeshare trap. Ok, there are times when the deals are too good to not take advantage of. If it is only one or two hours (if you’re lucky) of listening to a well-prepared sales pitch then its probably fine. But what happens if the presentation takes half of your day, or saying no does not come that easy to you?
Value for Money Case Study
The previous situation is just one of the many scenarios where we are blinded by the price. Yes, the price is important but sometimes value for money is even more. I would like to talk to you about Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando (Book It Here!), which is my favorite hotel in the whole Kissimmee/Orlando area. This hotel is one of your best choices if you are going to Universal Orlando because of the perks you get with staying (express passes, early admission, and your own entrance to the park just to name a few). The hotel also has an ever-changing display of rock memorabilia that always impress.
At first, the price per night might appear a bit steep. But, after looking at what’s included, it ends up giving you good value for the money you are paying. Not having to rent a car if you take advantage of the Universal’s Super Star Shuttle, skipping lines in the rides, having the park open only to you and the other hotel guests before the park opens, and even being able to walk to the hotel to take a nap after lunch, makes booking this beautiful hotel totally worth it.
Don’t let price be your only reason for booking a hotel unless there is no other option. Choosing the right hotel is critical for how successful your vacation ends up being.
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