Know what you're getting into
Even though you don’t spend a lot of time in your room on vacation, having one that is sub-par can really put a dampener on your trip. Before booking your trip (or to avoid booking the same bad place again) make sure you know about these red flags that you’re about to stay at a bad hotel. Make sure to look for these things when you book your hotel in one of these places you need to visit in 2020.
The photos are doctored
Sometimes, you may not realise a hotel is iffy until you arrive – but you certainly want to avoid that happening if you can. There are some bad hotel signs you can catch before you finalise your booking, and you should always be on the lookout for those. Spotting many is as simple as just doing your research on the hotel’s website.
Firstly, give the photos on the hotel’s site a good look. “Hotels with a good reputation and nothing to hide will ensure that the quality of their photos is professional, accurate and not overly edited,” says Janet Semenova, co-founder of Boutique Travel Advisors. “Hotels whose photos are misleading or heavily photoshopped generally have something to hide.” For instance, look for gradient lines that indicate that colours were touched up. Another technique you might see is the use of a fish-eye lens. “If their pictures are all taken with a fish-eye lens, they may be trying to make small rooms appear larger,” cautions Grainne Kelly, travel expert, former travel agent and founder of BubbleBum car travel innovations. A quick Google image search for the hotel should quickly make it clear if the photos on the site aren’t giving the whole picture.
And it’s not just what you do see – it’s the photos that are not there, too. If the website only shows photos of the exterior of the hotel, there’s almost definitely a reason that there are none of the inside. Even leaving out photos of a significant aspect of the rooms – think the bathrooms or the beds – can be a red flag.
The website and Google disagree
Once you’ve confirmed that the photos of the hotel are to your liking, head over to Google Earth for one last check. If the ‘street view’ of the hotel’s address looks nothing like the pictures on the site, there’s a problem. “Google Earth… will give you a very good idea of where the hotel is located and what is around it,” says Patricia Hajifotiou, owner of the touring company The Olive Odysseys and author of Travel Like You Mean It. “For example, if you are going to Santorini, you are going there for the caldera views. If your hotel is located on the back side of the island, you might have sea views in the distance but you will not be sitting on the cliff looking at the volcano (which might be fine for you). Make sure your hotel is really in the location it says it is!”