I worked in the hotel business for over 8 years and have travelled a lot too. I have stayed at the cheapest of cheap hotels to the most expensive. At the end of the day you want a good clean quiet room that is conveniently located. These 10 tips can get you going in the right direction.
1. Research your trip. Search the city you are traveling too and check out the local Chamber of Commerce or city guides. The good hotels partner and take the time to network in the community.
2. Stay at hotel brands that promote consistency. Most hotels are owned by franchises that must adhere to standards to carry the Brand. They will have well trained staff, better security, higher cleanliness standards, convenient locations, and less surprises.
3. Ask your friends, family, and colleagues where to stay. Facebook is a great place to do this. Past performance is a good sign of future performance.
4. Before booking the room online, call directly on a late Tuesday night and ask a couple quick questions. When was your hotel built or last renovated? Do you have a room available tonight? What's your best price? If they are busy during the week, this means business travelers love them. A good sign of friendly staff, cleanliness, and value.
5. Book your room through a travel agent specializing in hotel rooms rather than online with those travel sites like Orbitz and Expedia. Travel Agents are experts and book around 45% of all hotel rooms annually so they get special pricing. They want to earn your future business and will have special discounts.
6. Don't wait till the last minute to book your room. Cities sell out all the time and the best rooms go first.
7. Think about your needs and what your plans are. A limited service hotel might be a better fit in some situations where a nights sleep is all that is needed. A romantic getaway may require a little more romance with room service or a close walk to the theatre or restaurant. The extra value is what you save in taxi fare, breakfast, and time.
8. Stay at a hotel that offers travel rewards. Hotels that offer travel rewards tend to be in the upper best. Who doesn't want to earn a FREE night?
9. Never prepay for your room even to save a buck. If you have travel troubles you can't cancel it. Most reputable hotels offer a cancellation policy of 6pm on the day of arrival when you reserve with your credit card.
10. Don't book on Priceline, Travelocity, or deal discount wheeling sites. The price offered is typically the same price the hotel offers directly without any additional fees. Those sites are great for reviewing ratings. When reviewing throw-out the worst and the best review. Pay close to trending reviews.