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The 5 Most Important Things to Look For When Booking a Hotel Room

How to choose a hotel that is right for you?

Staying at a good hotel when you travel really can make a big difference to your travel experience.

And of course, in the current situation, the most important thing to ask a hotel is what special measures they are taking. Are they taking things seriously and are they following local guidelines?

But, besides that, there are some other things to look for when booking a hotel room.

I have stayed at countless hotels and Airbnbs over the years, ranging from the most basic places costing less than US$10 per night to rooms going for well over US$1000 per night. And the more time I spend traveling (or maybe just the older I get?), the pickier I get about the hotels I choose to book.

Hotels.com did an interesting study about what really matters to travelers when it comes to finding that perfect hotel room. And the results might surprise you!

It’s not the fast wi-fi or a delicious breakfast that matters most. Instead, travelers care much more about cleanliness and friendliness.

So before you book your next trip, check out these five things travelers say make for a perfect hotel stay and a perfect hotel room.

5 Things to Look for When Booking a Hotel: What Matters Most to Travelers

1. Cleanliness

What to look for when booking a hotel room - cleanliness
Gorgeous, clean and well-maintained hotel rooms at W Maldives

Travelers find a clean hotel and a clean hotel room the most important thing by far.

And could you disagree? Mold in the shower, urine stains on the toilet seat or a dead cockroach under the bed… I have seen it all and it definitely ruined my stay at those hotels!

Nothing feels better than coming home to a beautiful, comfortable hotel room after a day out exploring.

2. Friendly Hotel Staff

how to choose a hotel: friendly staff
how to choose a hotel

This was a surprise to me. Even though I really appreciate friendly and helpful staff in a hotel (or friendly homeowners at an Airbnb), I didn’t expect this to rank number two in things people look for in a hotel.

More so than any facilities the hotel offers, travelers care about how friendly the staff is.

“The fact that staff friendliness plays such an important role in guest satisfaction shows that, as intrinsically social creatures, we love to be greeted with a smile and a chat. It makes us feel welcome and part of the group.” says consumer psychologist Simon Moore, who led the study.

3. A Comfortable Bed

How to choose a hotel room - a comfortable bed
Such a comfortable bed at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport hotel

Now this is actually one of the things I look forward to most when I check-in to my hotel room: testing out the bed.

Nothing beats a large, comfortable bed that just makes you want to stay in your hotel room all day.

We’ve all stayed in places where the bed has been substandard and it’s amazing how a bad night’s sleep can make the next day a real struggle. 

And it’s not just the bed. The pillows and blankets can make a huge difference as well. I once stayed at a resort with a “pillow menu”: a list of pillows to choose from to make sure you get to sleep on your perfect pillow…

So yes, if you ask me how to choose a hotel I would definitely say check reviews about the quality of the beds before you book!

4. A Good Location

what to look for when booking a hotel room: a good location
Marina Bay Sands, a hotel with a perfect location in Singapore

The location is, of course, one of the things to consider when booking a hotel.

Although maybe once or twice I have stayed at a hotel just because the hotel was an incredible experience, normally you book a hotel room because you want to (or have to) visit a certain place.

Location being in the top 5 of things to look for when booking a hotel, therefore, is obvious. But, don’t underestimate how difficult it can be to find out if a hotel’s location actually works for you.

I have stayed at hotels that I thought were close to where I wanted to be but then turned out to be either farther away than I thought, next to public transportation that just didn’t run when I needed it to run or close to where I wanted to be but in an unsafe part of town…

Read plenty of reviews from other travelers to prevent these mistakes. And, be careful when booking a hotel that has hardly any reviews (yet).

5. Good Value for Money

what to look for when booking a hotel room: value for money
One of the best hotels in Port de Soller, Mallorca

Of course, nobody likes to pay too much for their hotel room (or for anything really). So the fact that good value for money is an important factor when rating a hotel stay makes complete sense to me.

I don’t mind splurging on a hotel room but it better be a great experience then!

Expensive hotels aren’t always better than budget hotels and a cheap hotel room isn’t always a bad hotel room. So check what others have to say about the hotel room you are about to book. They will most likely mention if it was worth the money or not.

Also Read: Cheap Extended Stay Hotels in the USA

Do Your Research Before Booking Your Next Hotel Room

Next time you are going through hotel reviews to decide which hotel to book, pay some extra attention to these five features!

And of course that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also check if your hotel offers free wi-fi (I don’t understand why there are still hotels that don’t), a complimentary breakfast, quiet rooms with a great view and maybe even a gorgeous swimming pool.

But just remember that for the average traveler these five most important things to look for when booking a hotel room really do make a difference.

Are you traveling on a budget? Then read about the pros and cons of staying in hostels.

Also Check Out: my hotel reviews and 10 Tips on How to Find The Cheapest Flights

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The 5 most important things to look for when booking a hotel room. A recent study reveiled what really matters to travelers when it comes to finding that perfect hotel room or Airbnb. And the results might surprise you! #besthotel #bookahotel #travel #traveltips

Sanne Wesselman

Author: Sanne Wesselman
A traveler, wanderer, digital nomad, and entrepreneur. Owner of marketing company A to Z Marketing.
I spend most of my time living and working abroad and use this website to share "the good, the bad and the ugly" of traveling and living abroad. Visit the About Me page for more info.

3 thoughts on “The 5 Most Important Things to Look For When Booking a Hotel Room”

  1. I’m planning to surprise my wife with a tour vacation package on our 10th wedding anniversary next month. I like that you talked about checking the location of the hotel is an important consideration to think of so that it would be accessible anytime through various modes of transportation.

  2. I thought it was interesting that consumers found staff friendliness to be one of the most important things to them, but it also makes a lot of sense. My sister has been looking for a hotel to stay at when she visits the coast, and she has been wondering about what she should be looking for. I will be sure to forward this article to her, so that she can have a better guide for things that a hotel should have.

  3. I like that you said that one of the things you look forward to the most when you check-in to your hotel room is testing out the bed. My husband and I are looking for a good motel to stay at for our next vacation this summer. I think that having a comfy bed would be a big plus because the point of a vacation is to relax, and having a good bed would make that a whole lot easier to do.


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