Posted by: Discover Directory on 11/27/2018

7 Red Flags to Look for When Booking a Hotel

7 Red Flags to Look for When Booking a Hotel

There’s nothing quite like getting a quick escape from reality and your boring desk job. But a bad hotel experience can ruin the whole trip just as soon as you walk in the lobby. 

Because everything happens online these days, it can be hard to tell what you’re getting into. The following are some red flags to search for on hotel or vacation rental sites. Look for these signs before renting to ensure a great trip for you and everyone involved: 

1. The website is out of date. 

Because most hotels are booked online now reputable hotels will know the importance of an online appearance. If their website is out of date, it most likely means that their information and the hotel itself is out of date. 

2. The photos are obviously photoshopped. 

There are some basic signs you can look for in photos to tell if it has been photoshopped or not. If you notice any odd lighting spots, particularly wide angles, or if everything in the photo is in clear focus, it is likely that the photo has been photoshopped. Be sure to keep an eye out for edited photos. If a hotel is unable to provide real photos of their rooms it’s probably safe to say that you don’t want to stay there. 

Similarly, look out for rentals that provide mostly photos of the area around the hotel or close-ups of specific objects (i.e., a lamp or a flower arrangement). These types of photos are just more ways to avoid showing the actual room. 

3. There are bad reviews or even no reviews. 

Reviews are the best way to know what you’re getting into when it comes to booking a vacation rental or hotel. Obviously, bad reviews will tell you right away what a person didn’t like about the place. Websites such as Trip Advisor allow you to look at reviews from real consumers who have stayed at the location before and can provide great insight. 

An even bigger red flag than bad reviews is no reviews. No reviews mean the rental is likely a scam. However, this more applies to vacation rental sites, such as AirBnB, rather than hotels. 

4. There is no list of amenities provided. 

Any trustworthy hotel will provide you with a list of amenities that are included with your rental. Are things such as wifi, laundry, cable, or access to a pool provided for you? If a hotel or rental is not telling you what services are included, it likely means they aren’t included in general.

5. Communication is difficult. 

Say you have a specific question about the location/hotel of interest and you wish to contact the staff. If reaching an actual person — not just an answering machine or automated response system — is difficult then it’s probably not the best choice. Poor communication is indicative of poor service during your stay. 

6. The location pops up on the Bedbug Registry. 

Before booking a hotel, search it on the Bedbug Registry. This is a website in which you can search your hotel of interest and find out if there have been any reports of bedbugs. The site is user-driven, meaning that the reports are coming from people who have actually stayed in said hotel. One or two reports shouldn’t make or break your decision, but if there are multiple accounts of bed bugs, it’s probably best to look elsewhere. 

7. It’s too good to be true. 

If a vacation rental or hotel seems too good to be true, well, it presumably is. Beware of colorful and seemingly over-the-top language. Descriptors such as, “stunningly beautiful” and “breathtaking,” for example, likely mean that the place will not live up to its description. Stick with rentals and hotels that give you matter-of-fact, realistic descriptions. 

Booking a vacation rental or hotel can be quite the undertaking, especially now that everything's online. It’s hard to know what exactly you may be getting yourself into. Having these tell-tale signs in your back pocket will make the process easier and less risky.