• December 28, 2014

How to choose a hotel

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Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 1:48 pm | Updated: 2:10 pm, Fri Sep 19, 2014.

One of the most basic aspects of travel, whether for an overnight business trip or a family vacation, is the requirement of a hotel stay.

Of course, a night or longer in a hotel is only required if the travel distance is farther than a comfortable day of driving. Fortunately, several different choices and classes of hotels exist that can easily accommodate the needs of just about any traveler or traveling party.

In fact, specific hotel brands are built that cater to business travelers, leisure travelers, families, and even those looking for the lowest possible price. Learning how to choose a hotel is a skill that is developed over time.

Choosing a hotel to fit a specific group of needs is often a painstaking process that requires a fair bit of research. For many corporate or business travelers, hotel reservations are generally taken care of by company travel agents, which greatly uncomplicated their scenario.

However, frequent business travelers should request a particular hotel brand that offers incentive programs or credits for every stay. This technique can produce impressive travel discounts or free merchandise for employees who have to hit the road often.

Selecting a hotel for leisure or vacation purposes is an altogether different task. While the Internet is a powerful tool that can assist in the research of a geographic area, pamphlets, brochures, and travel agents can also provide valuable insight into a particular hotel.

While a hotel may be geographically close to an attraction, that hotel or resort may have other disadvantages that are not necessarily advertised on a Web site or a brochure.

Of course, several hotels offer amenities such as continental breakfast, hot breakfast, workout rooms, pools, in-room coffee makers, refrigerators, and even free high speed wireless Internet access.

Still, all these amenities or extras are often attached to a higher price tag. Therefore, choosing the right hotel consists of balancing the right mix of desired amenities, geographic location and price. Finding that balance requires a certain amount of research and a fair bit of experience.

Perhaps the best and easiest process in selecting a hotel is to first qualify each hotel by geographic location.

Different travelers have different needs when it comes to location. Perhaps a hotel close to the airport or attached to a convention center is needed, or maybe an ocean front resort is necessary for a memorable family vacation. Location is of the utmost importance when selecting a hotel for any length of stay.

Amenities are also subjective to the needs of the traveler. However, any road tripper should be conscious of the fact that hotels with more amenities generally cost more than those that offer just a simple room.

Anyone who is price conscious is generally better served by the lower nightly rate offered by bargain hotel chains. That being said, customers who desire hot coffee and breakfast in the morning, as well as a swimming pool and fitness center, are likely better served by mid-priced or higher priced hotel brands.

Once a hotel is selected, travelers then need to focus on price. Using different travel related Web sites to comparison shop the same travel dates for the same hotel is a great way to find the best deal.

Of course, signing up for the hotel's mailing list or social media feed is also a great way to stay current on coupon codes or percentage off deals. The greatest reward at stake for potential customers is having a pleasant, productive, and memorable trip. By completing a little legwork a few weeks or several months prior to the trip, the reward can be well worth the time invested.

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