The decision of where to stay during a travel can be one of the most important decisions made. Whether you are travelling for work or leisure, the hotel you choose will have a significant impact on your overall experience. From the comfort of a clean and quiet room to the amenities available for use, choosing the best hotel is essential for a happy trip.
Hotels can be booked directly with the hotel or through an intermediary such as a travel website or travel agency. Airlines, railways and ferry operators also act as intermediaries, allowing their passengers or clients the option of booking a hotel in addition to their services.
Besides offering accommodation, most hotels offer facilities such as restaurants (some of which may specialize in local cuisine), bars and cafés; wellness, fitness and spa facilities including a gym and a swimming pool, sometimes a sauna, massage rooms and beauty treatment salons; business centres providing equipment and services such as computers, printers, fax machines (for a fee) and copying services; laundry and dry cleaning services; and currency exchange. Some hotels also offer a concierge service and provide transportation to local attractions.
A key consideration in choosing a hotel is its location. Depending on your travel goals, you may want to be within walking distance of the places you plan to visit, or perhaps you are more interested in staying near a specific type of attraction or in a particular neighbourhood. You should also consider what kind of budget you have, and what amenities are most important to you. For example, is a luxury hotel right on the beach a must, or would you be happy with a less expensive hotel a few blocks away?
It is advisable to book a hotel in advance, especially during peak season when rates are highest. However, it is also possible to find last-minute deals and bargains if you are willing to be flexible with your dates.
While the majority of people book their hotel through online booking engines, some hotels prefer to get bookings directly from travellers and will offer incentives such as free breakfast for direct bookings. Likewise, many hotels will discount their rates through their own websites when they can avoid paying the online booking site’s commission.
If you are concerned about the environmental impact of your hotel choice, check its sustainability rating. Hotels with eco-friendly practices have lower carbon footprints than those that do not. Traveling in the off-season can also help to minimise the ecological impact of your hotel choice.
Another consideration when choosing a hotel is whether it is locally owned and operated. In poorer countries, booking a locally owned and operated hotel instead of a chain can ensure that money stays in-country rather than being transferred to the headquarters of a foreign company. Travelers can also support local businesses by buying products and food at markets and shops instead of at the big box stores. This way, the money spent supports the local community and makes a real difference in the lives of its citizens.