Traveling and hotels are a big business and travellers can find themselves spoiled for choice. But choosing the right hotel for your trip is more than just selecting the cheapest or closest to your destination. Seasoned travelers will tell you there are certain unwritten rules to follow when it comes to accommodation, which can make or break your vacation experience.
The first thing to consider is cost. A vacation can be expensive, often requiring months or even years to save up. Some of the costs are out of your control, such as plane tickets, but others you can manage. The key is to figure out what’s important to you and stick to it. You might want to stay in a luxury resort directly on the beach, but will that really fit in your budget? Or, would you be happier saving some money by staying in a cheaper hotel that is still close to the beach? You might also be able to cut costs by not dining at the hotel restaurant and cooking in your own room instead.
Amenities are another factor to consider. Most hotels offer a range of services, which can be quite useful to their guests. These include fitness and spa facilities, usually with a gym and swimming pool (less common are saunas, massage/therapy rooms or beauty salons), as well as business centres, providing computers for guest use at a fixed price per hour or sometimes free of charge, as well as printing and copying equipment. Some hotels also provide a concierge service, arranging activities and tours for their guests, or offering car rental, fax and currency exchange at a premium.
Other services are more specific to individual hotels, such as in-room dining and mini bars, which many travelers have come to expect in modern hotels. Some hotels also have laundry and dry cleaning services, while some have in-house restaurants, where you can order meals to be delivered to your room. Other hotels may have their own convenience stores, where you can buy everyday items such as toiletries and snacks.
Finally, it’s worth checking to see what kinds of services the hotel offers to its frequent visitors, such as loyalty programs or frequent flier miles, or what discounts they might have with airline carriers. These can be very helpful for long-term stays.
In addition to these services, there are a number of other factors that influence the quality of a hotel, such as its location and reputation. Ratings are often based on criteria set by local tourism authorities or by hotel associations, while others may be completely arbitrary. Hotels in low-income countries and less affluent neighbourhoods will usually have lower ratings than those in more cosmopolitan areas. Seasonality also affects hotel rates, with destinations that are popular for skiing being much more attractive in the winter than in summer. In addition, different types of accommodation might have different standards, such as hostels and Airbnb. You can learn more about these differences by reading reviews.