Have you ever signed up for something that you were very excited to be a part of, only to discover that it was nothing like what the brochure said it would be, when you got there? To this day, I still have a bad taste in my mouth about the trip I took to Cancun, Mexico. I was a rookie traveler in those days, and I mostly went by pamphlets, photos, and website data when it came to booking hotels and trips. Needless to say, I don’t do that anymore. For the whole trip, I felt like a retarded sheep being led around by an apathetic shepherd with a chain through the ring in my nose. From the cheap airline to the rusty old bus to an old hurricane beaten hotel that was miles from the beach, I mostly had to make my own fun.
I’ve assembled a list of questions here for you to ask on the phone or at the front desk, so you can get the most out of your hotel/trip:
1. Are some of your rooms preferable to others?
Most hotels have a hierarchy of guestrooms, from standard to suite to executive lounge. Each of these tiers has a price window. Among the same tier of rooms, some may be preferable to others for any number of reasons. Some may be more recently renovated; they may have bigger TVs or better views of the pool, etc. Ask the right question and you may get a better room for no additional cost.
2. What room is the most popular and why?
The answer to this question will give you some insider information. I’ve run into rooms that were supposedly “haunted” (I always take those). The most popular room is not necessarily the most expensive either. You might get lucky and get to spend the night in the room that Billy Joel wrote a song in or something…
3. Do any of your rooms have a preferable view?
Views of parking lots and industrial equipment just suck. Then again, a view of the city may also mean that you have a straight shot at hearing the sounds of the city (sirens, traffic) while you sleep. Make sure you ask for the view that is best for you, based on the money you’re going to spend.
4. Why your hotel, vs. other hotels in the area?
It may be something very small, like a free airport shuttle or an award-winning dish in their restaurant, but I like to ask this question to put them on the spot and give them a chance to impress me.
5. How close is my room to the elevator or ice machine or pool?
Rooms beside the elevator or ice machine may be noisy. Rooms near the pool may be convenient, but pools attract kids and kids make noise. Then again, you may want to minimize your walk to the elevator, in either case; it’s good to know where you’ll be.
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please call 1-877-49-EXPERT. Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.