Choosing the right lodging when preparing for a business trip is always a stressful task, and with the mind-blowing amount of promotions, offers, and programs out there–it can be downright daunting. It doesn’t help that in today’s world, most hotels have websites full of aesthetically pleasing photos and slick promotional information that make you truly believe that you’ll be bathed in luxury from the first moment you step into the lobby of the hotel. How can you decipher which hotels will live up to their hype from those that are sure to do nothing but disappoint and disgust?
Because every individual traveler has different needs, you’ll need to ask yourself what’s most important to you and your traveling experience. Whether you’re looking for a great deal on rates, a beautiful location, or a 5-star rating on room service–we’ve broken down the lodging selection process to make it simple for you to find the best hotel, motel, or B&B for your trip.
Before starting your search, ask what type of accommodations and amenities you want and what you’re willing to pay. Does the location of your hotel take precedence over the price, or are you limited by your budget? Do you need a hotel with a gym and spa, or would you rather stay at a small, locally owned property with a quaint charm to the atmosphere? Once you’ve found your top priority, then you can make a more pinpointed search. The following are the most common determining factors in picking what room you will book–along with tips and tricks for finding properties that properly suit your particular needs and preferences.
Almost every major booking engine gives you an option to sort your results by lowest-price-first. Don’t limit yourself to the most well-known three (Expedia, Orbitz, Booking.com.) Make sure to stop and take a look at other, smaller sites like Kayak.com and Hotels.com! These sites offer discounted rooms in big, 5-star rated hotels with pools and room service (like Hilton, Marriot, etc) but they also offer plenty of unbooked rooms in cheaper options like Motel 6, Best Western, and Comfort Inn.
Use these booking search engines to see what is available and test the rates at the properties that best fits your preferences–then go straight to the hotel’s website to book directly. Most hotels guarantee you the lowest rate when you book on their site, and will oftentimes match a lower rate you find online elsewhere. If price is your only concern, you should try bidding on Priceline. You won’t see the name of your hotel (only the star rating) until you’ve actually booked it. But sometimes you can get such a great deal you end up spending half of your original budget for lodging.