Last Updated on February 3, 2023
By Jim Ferri
Ever booked yourself a hotel room and then once you checked-in, couldn’t wait to check-out? It’s happened to me, and I’d guess it’s happened to most of us.
With all of the travel sites on the Internet today, this is something that should never happen again. Although it sounds easy, many people still get those unpleasant surprises. The key is to know where to go on the Internet to get a really good sense of the place before you book it.
The first stop is the hotel’s website to have a look at the photos of the property. Having only two or three photos posted is not a good sign. Likewise, and especially true of hotels outside the U.S., it’s not good if there are no photos of the bathroom, unless it’s a major chain you know well. (Or unless it’s the most expensive hotel suite in the world).
If you haven’t come across the hotel on a member site such as TripAdvisor, go to TripAdvisor.com, enter the city or location and find how the property ranks among travelers as compared to other hotels. The key is to look at the total number of hotels. While a rank of 88 out of 1,000 local hotels is good, 88 out of 100 is something totally different. And it’s always a good idea to stick with hotels in the top 40-50%.
Look also to see if any TripAdvisor members have posted photos of their rooms, the hotel and the surrounding area. You can also take the hotel’s address, put it in Google, and look at a map to get a sense of how far the property is from what you’d like to visit, as well as the distance to local transportation.
In Google maps also look at photos and video of the area and hotel. This can be especially important in cities such as San Francisco and Rome, for example, so you’ll know whether you’ll be climbing hills every time you go in and out of the hotel.
But one of the very best things you can do when looking at hotel ratings is to get a sense of who wrote the rating. TripAdvisor does have rankings of hotels for business travelers, but you can delve much deeper at sites such as TravelPost.com where those doing the ratings are sorted by age (30-younger, 31-45, 45-60, 61-older), as well as by gender, budget and trip purpose (leisure, business and other).
And, finally, there is that all-important question to ask your hotel: “what is the best way to get to the hotel from the airport?”
If you’re a travelers moving about Europe, or even the world, for that matter, you’ll want to find a nice hotel.