Travel can be stressful. Whether with a group or solo, pre-trip research is a key component to limiting the stress associated with travel. Near the top of your list of things to research before booking your trip are your accommodations.
When people book a hotel room they tend to focus on price and availability and neglect amenities, additional fees and hotel policies. While availability is paramount and price is important too, overlooking other aspects may leave you disappointed with yourself for not doing a proper amount of research.
Las Vegas, with more hotel rooms than any other city in the United States, is the best example of the importance of research. With dozens of hotels encompassing different themes, price points and offering different amenities, a stay in a Las Vegas hotel can be a once in a lifetime experience or disappointing if you do not properly research.
Price and availability are foremost when it comes to lodging. Do they have rooms available the nights you need one for? Even this simple task requires some thinking and maybe a phone call to the hotel instead of booking online. Do you have the view of the fountain for your upcoming romantic weekend? You don’t want to see the volcano but your kids do so let them watch it blow from the window. If you have a specific need for your room being in a particular part of the hotel, you need to call the hotel and arrange for this.
The same consideration needs to be made if you need multiple rooms and would like them all together. Check-in and out times in any hotel are the most chaotic times of day. Unless prearranged, hotels will generally put you in whatever room is available at that moment.
While you are researching your room, think about what you are going to do once there. How many times have you or someone you know gone to a hotel and only after checking in found out that some of their facilities were closed for renovation? Or that booking a table at that celebrity chef owned restaurant is impossible because a trade show has the hotel and that restaurant completely booked.
Researching amenities on travel sites is a great start but should not be the only place you research. Searches, such as using the hotel name and the words ‘convention,’ and using the dates you will be there, will almost certainly let you know what groups may also be in the hotel.
A recent trend in hotels has been to add so-called resort fees to your bill. These fees were added largely as a surcharge for many of the amenities on the property. Whether or not you use them, resort fees will be added to your bill. These fees are in addition to taxes and other governmental charges so if you are not one to utilize amenities such as the pool and the gym and the spa, but you still want to be near the location of the hotel you are researching, you may consider another nearby property and save yourself some money.
For some people, differences in policies between hotels may be critical in their decision on where to stay. Hotel websites may readily offer this information online or may just keep it to themselves until you specifically ask about it. If something like checkout time is important to you, look it up or call the hotel. Many hotels will allow you to extend your checkout by a couple hours simply by calling the front desk. Other times, hotels will be pressed to get you out of your room because they have people waiting to occupy it. They will either not allow any late checkouts or will charge you an extra night.
If you cannot delay checkout, can you store your luggage with the concierge for a few hours before your flight? This is another common need that is not always accommodated for by a hotel. Anything related to special needs and policies are not only easy to research but easy to verify through online customer reviews.
To get the most enjoyment out of your trip; whether for business or personal travel, you will benefit greatly if you put in the time before booking by first researching your hotel. Research the basics – availability, price, amenities, and then research those unique items that you are interested in. Doing this will greatly reduce the stress of travel and help you get the most out of your trip.