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7 tips for scouting out the best hotels online

Entering hotel room

By the time summer rolls around, we’re all desperate for a little getaway! Pampering ourselves with a holiday is one of the greatest forms of rest and relaxation there is. But, it can be hard to book the holiday of your dreams. Prospective holiday goers spend hours searching for the right hotel online, often to no avail. Fortunately, we have you covered. These are the 7 greatest tips we have found for scouting out the best hotels online!

Choose your booking websites wisely

Hotel guest standing in lobby
Hotel guest standing in lobby

The best hotels can often be found on the best booking websites! Many websites offer brilliant deals for scenic trips abroad, such as TripAdvisor and Trivago. Websites such as these are useful, and each has its own specialty. One booking website might specialize in Mediterranean destinations, another in Asia or America. Some offer short-term trips or weekend getaways, and others months’ long excursions.

Furthermore, Trivago and TripAdvisor compare prices at various hotel booking sites for your convenience, allowing you to make a reasonable decision based on your budget. Make sure you use a booking website that appeals to the kind of vacation you want, with deals in a price range to suit you.

Check the hotel location

Luxurious hotel room
Luxurious hotel room

Scoping out a hotel online can be misleading, and you might arrive to a location you didn’t sign up for. For example, you might be far from the city, or terribly distant from any essential amenities. Prior to finalizing your booking, be certain of the exact hotel location – not only how far your hotel is from the city center and the main attractions within, but what the streets actually look like. Peruse street view via Google Maps. Get a feel for the lay of the land, and which are the quickest routes to get where you need to be!

Email the hotel directly

So, you’ve found the right hotel for you on the perfect booking website to suit your needs. It’s still advisable to email the hotel directly, as they might have an even better deal available for you. Ask about special packages, discounts, concessions and – if appropriate – book directly through the hotel.

You must look at reviews

Gone are the days of travel agencies, where finding positive reviews for a hotel was nigh-on impossible. Now, we can find reviews about a hotel, destination, even a flight provider, at the click of a mouse. It’s best, when booking online, to know as much about your hotel as possible: reviews are far more enlightening than any promotional booklet or agent can be.

Avoid hidden fees

We’re all prepared to pay the booking fees for our hotel online, but what about everything else? Cancellation charges, resort fees, the list goes on. Many guests are caught unawares at the check-in desk when they realize they have only paid a portion of their room cost. Booking sites can be tricky to navigate, and we don’t always know how much we’re spending and what on.

Look for reward programs

A closeup on a bed in a hotel room
A closeup on a bed in a hotel room

Airlines have a remit of reward programs to save you money, but so do hotels! If a hotel advertises a loyalty program online, don’t forget to sign up. You might enjoy a hefty discount in the long run, or first access to exclusive deals.

Go beyond your comfort zone

Go beyond your comfort zone when it comes to booking your hotel online. Don’t be tame, and go for the usual four walls and white bedding! How about a hotel with a rooftop bar? Or an indoor swimming pool and spa? There are so many unique, yet overlooked, hotels out there for you.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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