Updated: May 20, 2020
PICK THE BEST HOTEL FOR YOU
Firstly, you need to understand what aspects to a hotel room bring you the most joy. You don't get what you want if you don't know what you want!
Decide your own preferences – is it a view, easy access, ground floor, high floor, quiet, a balcony, windows which open..etc? Knowing this means you can search for your own best option.
There are a few tips to sourcing the best room in a hotel, at the best price – here are some which I’ve successfully deployed:
START YOUR RESEARCH EARLY
Quite often the best places get booked up up to a year in advance. On a trip to New Zealand, one of our favourite spots, the Bell Tower in Blenheim, gets booked upto 18 months in advance. If it is a small area you are going to stay in this is more relevant.
MAKE GOOGLE MAPS YOUR FIRST STEP
Tripadviser can help but my most useful tool at an early stage is Google Maps. The satellite view is invaluable for showing you exactly what the surrounding area, city, beach etc is like. Click on street view and you can take a tour around and see the real truth about the location.
You can get a great idea about what the views from the hotel will be like too, and if there are any undesirable aspects – eg sources of noise, smells etc. This can help you decide which side/floor of the hotel is best for you and is far better than the ‘rose tinted’ version on the Hotel’s own website, although that should always be consulted. If there are multiple buildings on the Hotel’s plot check which is best and request it. Sometimes checking google images for a map of the hotel rooms when you're going to stay at a resort is very useful for finding the best room for you.
Hotels love customers who do this and you are at the front for privileges. You can check prices on booking sites to make sure the Hotel’s rates are the best. If not ask them to match or beat the rate. If you do book through a booking site call the Hotel ahead a few days before your visit and check everything is as you had hoped – this is a chance to ask for anything special too.
Join the Hotel loyalty scheme, this will be free and will help lift you up the queue for upgrades, even if it is your first stay with the chain. Some hotel groups, like IHG, let you be on standby for an upgrade at a reduced cost if it is available upon checking in.
It is worth asking if any events are booked at the Hotel during your stay. If there is a big wedding or conference you may prefer somewhere else.
Let the Hotel know if you have stayed before – and how much you liked it. If you have stayed elsewhere in the group let them know too – this can be the first step in your charm offensive.
Celebrating? Make sure you let the Hotel know, but be honest about birthdays, they may see your passport…! Engagements and Wedding Anniversaries are sure winners…
Try and engage with a named individual at the Hotel, ask their advice, let them know why you are traveling and what you are hoping for. Hotel staff have the power to accord you all the goodies you can hope for – being really nice to them by email, phone and particularly at check in – this is going to help them choose you. Make it easy for them to upgrade you!
At check-in if you are not sure about what you are getting, then ask to see the room before you take all your luggage to it and make sure it is exactly what you want.
And - Don't forget to ask for that upgrade!
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all views are my own.