As with everything else, the Internet has made travel planning easier…and in some ways more difficult. You can now use various online booking sites to search thousands of hotels and find great deals on millions of rooms. But who wants to spend hours searching and comparing so many sites and deals? Hopefully, you’ve got better things to do with your time.
When you need to book a hotel, particularly for business travel, you really just want to find a deal, book it, and be done with it. Here are five tips for how to avoid wasting time when booking your next hotel.
Narrow your search
There is no one single site that always has the best deals on hotel rooms, but there are definitely some sites where you are more likely to find a good deal more often. Hotel Engine has rates that are on par with online travel agencies like Expedia and Kayak, and with a much better rewards program. You may sometimes find better deals on other sites for certain hotels, but is it really worth the time, every time? Probably not. If you aren’t picky about where you stay, Priceline is another great option—you can name your own price, so you don’t have to spend time searching for rates at all.
Filter your search to show you only the most relevant results
No matter what site you use, if you just type in a city, you will probably get back tens, if not hundreds, of results. But do you really need more than one page of hotels to choose from? Filter those results according to your personal preferences, like star rating, price, location, amenities, and so on. Then you can spend your time exploring just the hotels that best meet your needs.
Search top-rated hotels only
Most hotel booking sites, including Hotel Engine, incorporate user reviews. Look for the top-rated hotels that have the highest reviews—while reviews aren’t necessarily 100% accurate, they do provide an easy way for you to quickly filter the good from the bad.
Pick a brand and stick with it
If you travel frequently, especially for business, you can rack up a lot of loyalty points and perks by staying loyal to a brand. This is also an effective way to speed up your hotel search—only look for hotels associated with that brand.
Keep track of where you stay and ask others for hotel recommendations
If you are a business traveler, you have probably stayed in more hotels than you can remember. So have your friends and colleagues. Make quick work of booking your next hotel by returning to a property you’ve enjoyed before (you might even get additional perks). If you’re traveling to a new city, ask for hotel recommendations—the information you get from your fellow travelers will be more valuable than anything you can find online.
Finding and booking a hotel shouldn’t take all day. These five tips can help you narrow your choices so you can cross this item off your to-do list quickly, but still with the knowledge that you did it well.
Featured image by Luis García [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons