Home Hotels How Much Time Should You Spend Picking Out A Hotel?

How Much Time Should You Spend Picking Out A Hotel?

by joeheg

I’ve read about something called the Law of Diminishing Returns. In short, it says that every extra minute you spend on something will get you less in return than the minute before.

Take, for instance, booking a hotel room. For every question you answer, there will always be two new questions. How are the ratings of the hotels in the area? Are there any promotions going on right now that might apply?  Should you use points or cash? Could you book with AAA, Costco or book a package to save money? Which card should you use to pay? The number of things to consider is dizzying. Don’t even get me started when you also have to consider using hotel points or free night certificates.

Living in the time of the coronavirus, I also have to check if the hotel is following its own guidelines.

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Here are some hints to keep you from spending more time planning your trip than you spend ON your trip 🙂

  • Use technology to your advantage. I love to look at Oyster for pictures of the hotels which aren’t doctored by the marketing departments.  I also use TripAdvisor to find a place in my price range.
  • Try to narrow your search and broaden as needed. If you start looking at 100 hotels, it’ll take forever. Pick a specific neighborhood or hotel chain or price range and start there.
  • Learn that there is no “perfect.” The faster you learn this, the happier you will be. Stop trying to find the perfect hotel. If you’re choosing between the #1 and #2 hotel in the area, you’ll most likely be happy at either one of them.
  • Know what is important to YOU. Do you need internet access in the room? Do you need a gym? What about a refrigerator or even a kitchen? Do you need a hotel with room service? Laundry? Airport Shuttle? Nearby access to Starbucks? All of these are important to some people, but maybe not to you. Use these things to help you choose.
  • Know what you have to work with. If you have any free nights from credit cards (Marriott, IHG, Hyatt) don’t let them go to waste. The same goes for hotel points or gift cards. It’s always better to spend someone else’s money.
  • Think really hard before making a non-refundable reservation. Will those few extra dollars be worth it if you need to change your trip? What if a really good price comes up at that other hotel you were looking at? It’s always good to leave your options open. Not to mention if you need to cancel your trip due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the area or at home.

I’ve spent many an hour in front of the computer, trying to decide which hotel to stay at. It shouldn’t be that hard of a decision. You should spend more time on your vacation than figuring out where to stay during it.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

 

4 comments

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[…] for this trip, knowing it would make the trip easier (it was also a good way to narrow my search so I didn’t spend forever trying to find a hotel in Chicago). The ride from O’Hare took about 40 minutes. The train filled up more and more as we got […]

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Would You Still Stay at This Hotel? – Your Mileage May Vary October 18, 2017 - 2:01 pm

[…] put a lot of time into picking out hotels for our most recent trip, probably too much (Note from Sharon: Probably???). I weighed the cost of the room, the location and the quality of […]

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Would You Still Stay at This Hotel? - Your Mileage May Vary September 29, 2018 - 3:13 pm

[…] put a lot of time into picking out hotels for our most recent trip, probably too much (Note from Sharon: Probably???). I weighed the cost of the room, the location and the quality of […]

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Stephanie Woods October 24, 2020 - 8:30 pm

I think the time also depends a great deal on what sort of purpose you have for the trip. Are you going on a vacation where you will be sightseeing most of the time and spending little time in the hotel? Or are you going somewhere where the hotel or resort is THE DESTINATION? In that case, you can’t spend too much time picking, especially if you are going to a once in a lifetime spot and going all out. And if you are planning well in advance, you may find that what you wanted initially changed, or that you stumble onto a better deal. I am planning a pull out all the stops vacation to Thailand, and stumbled onto a great deal, so I am now staying at three of the best hotels in Koh Samui. If I hadn’t been still looking, I never would have found it. Even better, that offer comes with free breakfast and dinner and at a hotel that was really out of my price range (considering I am going to be gone for 5 weeks and had already splurged a great deal!) But I now get three nights at the Belmond Napasai, which the more I check, the more good things I find out such as all the free activities and classes!

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