When planning a vacation, it's always hard to know where to stay: how do you choose a hotel you've never experienced in an area in a city you may have never visited before? Living in the right place is an important part of your journey; Having a comfortable environment and being in the right place is crucial for both holidaymakers and business travelers.
There are so many websites that offer online travel advice, it's hard to know where to start! But the next time you search for a hotel to stay in, be sure to check the following:
Wikitravel is a good starting point for any traveler. The site provides information from a traveler perspective and provides useful advice on where to eat and what to do in a given area. Larger cities are divided into smaller districts, and by choosing which district you wish to live in, you are offered hotel choices that suit your style and budget.
Expedia has an overview of over 80,000 places to live world wide and can help you narrow down your search and find the right accommodation. It is worth remembering that choosing a hotel on price alone is never a good idea. Hotels located further away from attractions and facilities are usually the cheapest, but as location is a very important factor for any holiday, it may be worth paying a little more to be centrally located. The practical card function on expedia allows you to see exactly where the available rooms are located, so you can balance the price against the location.
Venere allows you to filter your search results so you can find the perfect hotel for you. The filters include budget, accommodation type and star rating, but overall, the images provide a better indicator of how well a hotel is. When looking at photos of rooms, it is worth checking these with the latest reviews of the hotel, to ensure that the pictures are not only newer but also a true representation of the room you receive upon your arrival.
TripAdvisor  One of the best places to find customer reviews online is TripAdvisor, which has over 75 million reviews, tips and opinions from all types of travelers from all over the world. TripAdvisor allows travelers to rate hotels, share photos and videos and connect socially with other travelers.
Booking.com is the leading online travel agency and attracts over 30 million unique visitors each month. Providing over 253,441 hotels in 178 countries, the purpose is to help travelers find the best places to stay. Measured for both business and leisure travelers, it evaluates hotels based on user reviews, which are divided into categories such as comfort, location, value for money, etc. Hotels can also be filtered by the person who left the review – for example, families with young children, single travelers or large groups.
When it comes to booking your chosen hotel, you may think that online travel agencies offer the best deals, but that's not necessarily the case. Booking directly with a hotel presents many advantages:
– You may find exclusive promotions not offered to travel agencies
– Some hotels offer frequent guest points and frequent flyers miles
– Hotels give guest recognition, which means, that the hotel already knows that you like and do not like if you have stayed there before
– Having a direct contact point at a hotel makes it easier to change or cancel bookings
– Booking confirmation is instant as there is no third party to confuse questions.
So the next time you're looking for a hotel, be it for business or pleasure, remember that while online travel agencies and travel agencies can act as a valuable source of information, more often than not you're better booked through the hotel directly.