Those inclined to travel on a bit of a budget may not have the extra cash to secure the most lucrative, posh hotel room. Instead, they may have to eliminate the so-called "frills" and "extras" and opt for something a little lower on the hotel totem pole.
That mentality certainly isn't bad nor should it have to mean that you, as the traveler or customer, have to sacrifice quality for a lower cost.
But what happens when a lack of aforementioned "frills" and "extras" turn into no pillows, a smelly room or a television with rabbit ears?
Spotting a bad hotel isn't necessarily the easiest of feats simply because most, if not all, booking of rooms is done online. That puts less-than-enviable hotels at a distinct advantage with the magic of photo editing, photo shopping or out-and-out stealing photos from somewhere else.
Call it the "Catfish" of hotel booking.
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Luckily for the weary traveler who is racing around to get all the last-minute packing and preparing in order, you have web sites like Oyster.com. This is the US Weekly or National Enquirer version of hotel booking. Oyster.com logs some serious man hours and exposes porous hotels who doctor photos for the sake of a making a few bucks.
But say you've been duped and the booking has already happened, so now what? The biggest proverbial red flag typically occurs when you get to the registration or front desk area. Most outsides of hotels look the part but the true test comes from the staff within.
Reception areas should be neat, clean and orderly. Furthermore, they should be able to get your information relatively quickly. If they can't, that probably means they're undertrained, understaffed or simply don't have the technology to meet the needs of their customers. A lack of staffing certainly means you shouldn't expect many clean towels in your room or your bed made that evening.
A true testament to a poor hotel, in addition to a less-than-remarkable reception staff, is a concierge service that is overly aggressive or simply lost -- you probably have a better idea where to go than they do and you may not have ever been to this particular hotel.
The ultimate in frustration and potential humiliation easily is arriving at your particular room only to find out that it is being occupied. Worse yet, you and your navigationally challenged attendance actually opened the door and the two of you walked in to find someone sleeping in your bed.
A Three Little Bears-Goldilocks moment this is not.
A great partner with the previously talked about Oyster.com is TripAdvisor.com. This spot is a wealth of online hotel knowledge that uses actual reviews for nearly every hotel in the United States and abroad.
Typically, sites like TripAdvisor.com put hotel managers, owners and staff on notice that poor service and unintelligence staffers won't get them many return bookings or returning customers.
Oyster.com and TripAdvisor.com act as veritable superheroes only instead of fighting worldwide crime as a whole they've narrowed their mission down to one simple mantra: keep hotels honest in business and credible in services offered.
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