The quality of a hotel can make or break any holiday or business trip, but many people simply turn up at an establishment without ever doing any research about the place in advance. In the past, it was almost impossible to discover the real facts about a hotel before booking, but these days the Internet makes the whole process far simpler. Here are four ways to get to the truth before it’s too late.
Check out the comments
Online comments and reviews about everything from theme parks to beaches are easy to find, and when it comes to hotels there’s no shortage of people willing to commit opinions to cyberspace. Although many testimonials need to be taken with a sizable pinch of salt, it’s still possible to ascertain a balanced range of views and then decide whether to stay there. If an establishment only has one or two comments, however, it would be wise to ignore them – they could be simply the opinions of the owner, or maybe even the closest rival.
Pictures paint a thousand words
Photographs on a hotel’s website will give you a good idea about the standard of facilities that are on offer as well as the general quality of the rooms themselves. However, sometimes it pays to be a little cynical about what the pictures DON’T tell you. For example, if there are no images of the rooms, it could be that they’re rather small or unattractive. As always, a little caution can be extremely useful, and a healthy degree of suspicion doesn’t go amiss.
Use social media
These days, hundreds of millions of people use social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter to publish their impressions and opinions, and to keep up with the activities of friends, relatives and major celebrities. By posting a question about accommodation on such platforms, it’s possible to garner independent views about everything from bed and breakfasts in Bulgaria to hotels in Haiti. And of course it only takes a few seconds to make the enquiry, so there’s no need to worry about the time factor.
Use an online map
Experienced travelers know that some hotels claim to be closer to local amenities and landmarks than they really are, a fact that leads to many disappointed tourists in any given year. There’s nothing worse than finding accommodation that’s many miles away from where you thought it would be, so it makes sense to spend a few minutes on the web checking out its REAL location. Google Maps is a good option, and if Google Street View is available that’s even better.
David Showell works for www.carrentals.co.uk, and has stayed in hotels all over the world.