How to Book a Hotel in Unknown Territory
So much more than cost goes into picking the perfect hotel. Travelers also need to consider safety, location, and many other factors. The task is even more difficult if you are traveling 'blind' to a new destination. This article outlines a strategy for how to book a hotel to an unknown territory.
When trip planning for new vacation destinations, Joe and I usually begin by developing a list of “must-have” criteria for each booking. Then, we scour the Internet for vendors that can meet our needs.
It’s a lot of work and there are many unknowns. After a while all of that “criteria” just starts to blend. No matter how well you research, it’s a bit of a gamble. When this occurs, we have found that when all other factors are seemingly equal, price is often a reliable indicator of quality.
Wherever you go, likely thousands of visitors have traveled there before you. Vendors have set prices based upon the amount of money that consumers will pay to purchase their inventory. Lower prices are often the result of lower customer satisfaction, and vice versa. Thus, the following strategy:
For the best value when traveling ‘blind’ to a new vacation destination,
choose the vendor that charges just to the high side of the middle.
Here’s how it works. Take the list of hotels you have developed that meet all of your must-have criteria. Then rank the hotels according to cost. Assign hotels in the lower 0-50% of your search a rating of poor-passable; in the 50-75% range assign a rating of above-average; and in the 75-100% range assign a rating of extravagant. Then pick the hotel that is as close to the high end of above-average (75%) as you can afford.
It’s that simple. Don’t over-complicate.
Joe and I routinely seek out the most comfortable surroundings that we can afford. We are always in search of captivating courtyards, soothing vistas, impeccable service, fun activities, and a safe physical environment. We also like to feel as if we are getting a good value for our dollar.
As working-joes there is an omnipresent tension for us on vacation. We have no issue 'spending' to do what we enjoy, but we never forget how hard we worked for the cash that funds our outings. We assume you don’t either! Save yourself the heartache that comes from finding that what you have purchased at a bargain basement price is an unsafe or depressing disappointment. Likewise, avoid the heartburn of wasting your money on frills you don’t have time to enjoy.
When traveling to an unknown territory, steer clear of both the low end, and the high.
Cost-cutters and luxury-lovers alike will be appalled at this strategy. Nevertheless, the vast majority of working-joes will recognize it as a common-sense approach to blind decision making when booking a hotel (or restaurant!). This tactic will help you to balance the adventure, security and amenities you desire with your need to maintain a positive balance in your bank account.
It will help to keep you safe AND solvent when the territory is unknown.
Best of luck booking, Laura and Randy
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