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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How to find a great hotel for business or pleasure

Searching for a hotel, whether one is traveling for business or pleasure, can be a daunting task. With so many different options available, all promising to make hotel shopping fast and easy, many people can be confused about the best place to start. Luckily, it only takes a bit of homework and some knowledge of a few basics to take a lot of the hassle out of finding a great hotel.

Hotels for work or play One of the keys to conducting a successful hotel search is to first figure out what characteristics the hotel must have to fulfill your needs. Facilities, such as a business center, free internet access and proximity to a large airport or a city’s commercial district may be really important to business travelers, while families looking for a vacation hotel are likely to be more concerned with amenities like a pool, complimentary transportation to nearby attractions and spacious rooms. Knowing exactly what you need in a hotel can make finding the right search tool much easier.

Finding the best tool These days, there are a number of ways travelers can look for hotels. Internet travel sites are always popular, as are trusted hotel or resort websites and general search engine keyword searches. In addition, mobile apps are an increasingly popular way to search for hotels, especially for on-the-go business travelers. And, of course, many vacationers and business travelers still place their travel plans in the capable hands of traditional travel agents or tour companies.

There’s really no hard and fast rule to deciding which tool is best. Most of the time, travelers simply choose the method that they’re most comfortable with or the one that fits best with their lifestyle.

Comparing search tools

Travel search sites: for many travelers, this is the most popular way to find a hotel. Travel search sites give users access to a wide range of accommodations, from five-star resorts to budget-friendly motels, along with information on location, amenities, guest reviews and availability. A new feature that many of these sites are offering is a calendar that gives users the lowest room prices on each day for which info is available. Some sites even eliminate sold-out hotels from their results, which really helps streamline the search process.

Mobile apps: This is how many tech-savvy travelers prefer to search for hotels. Compatible with iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and other smartphones, these apps are offered by many hotel chains and travel sites: many are free to download. Guests can search for hotels, check rates and make reservations right from their phones. It’s a convenient way to book a room for those who know what they’re looking for.

Travel agencies: Those who don’t travel much or aren’t comfortable trusting their vacation to anonymous guest reviews may prefer to use a traditional travel agency or tour company to search for a great hotel. The benefits of this method are face-to-face interaction and the confidence of recommendations that come from a reliable source. There’s also the added benefit of an agency’s experience with a particular destination or hotel chain.



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