Questions about searching for hotels...

Old Jul 13th, 2010, 03:13 PM
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Questions about searching for hotels...

As many of you know, I work in the travel technology industry and I am active in a large industry organization that looks at and develops standards for the industry.
I am working on a project using statistical search data and thought I would post the question to the folks on this board, just in case I have missed anything.
Currently there are 16 items on the list!
The question:
When you are shopping for hotels (no matter how you do it) is there specific search criteria you wish you could use to narrow down the choices?
Many such 'qualifiers' currently exist... for example, you can search for hotels in New York City that offer a fitness center.
Other qualifiers are not universally used, such as "Guest refrigerator in room".
This one may or may not be important to you.
Can you think of any search criteria you would like to be available for use?
Thanks so much!!!
TxTravelPro is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2010, 03:22 PM
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People often ask for a combination of basic simple things like: I want a hotel with a pool, free internet and breakfast. Rooms with 2 beds and hotels that have rooms with 2 doubles vs 2 queens is a biggy for families.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 03:34 PM
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What about you Mclaurie? What do you look for?
There are currently about 25 common qualifiers that we can identify via existing automation (travel agency and consumer website).
Bedding type is tricky, but a good addition to the list.
This information is generally sent interactively by the hotel companies because they feel the answer depends on inventory availability... vs something like a fitness center, which is always there, always available.
I think it is a big request, personally and appreciate the validation.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 03:42 PM
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I like a decent sized room (not a 150sf closet) and you rarely find that info without doing a careful search. But I spend so much time on travel boards with parents who need hotels with space for families (ie 2 beds or more) and this is not provided by a lot of the basic search engines. In fact, many of them like kayak won't even allow a search for more than 4 to a room.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 04:10 PM
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I sort by location, price, pick out with higher ratings, after that go into details. Is there a coffeemaker in the room? fridge? microwave? Is breakfast included? A hotel shuttle? How far is a bus/metro stop?

Elevator? Tour bus pick-up from the hotel? Restaurant?

I also want to be able to search if the hotel has bed bugs
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 04:18 PM
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It'd be nice to know if there is free wi-fi and free parking. If these are not free, I wonder if it's possible to show the price of those, instead of me searching for the answers on the hotel websites.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 04:20 PM
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I travel with my daughter quite a bit. I look for an outdoor pool in the summer and an indoor pool in the winter. Search criteria usually just list a pool, but aren't specific about indoor vs. outdoor. I can always find this info, but it takes more time.

Other things I sometimes look for: free parking, free shuttle to/from airport or within a certain distance, full breakfast available vs. continental breakfast, refrigerator in the room and a safe in the room.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 05:04 PM
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I have a problem with qualifiers - best explained by using an analogy of looking for a house to buy. You have a "must" list, a "want" list and some of these out-weigh others.

For example, with a hotel, beyond the obvious clean and safe, whihle I may want buffet breakfast, outdoor pool, wifi - if it has a decent restaurant next door and especially good bedding, I may overlook absence of the pool and wifi.

And this is the problem I have with the technology on various sites I have used - if I want buffet breakfast and I check it, all hotels without it are eliminated while I might still consider them if they had other items on my "want" list.

My wants - in no particular order - breakfast, proximity to public transit and/or shuttle and/or free parking; refrigerator and m/w; convenient soda and snack machines; pool; desk; hair dryer; free wifi;
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 05:24 PM
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I would love it if hotels would post the approximate square footage of each room type.

Other than that, proximity to public transportation (preferably broken down by subway vs. bus, if applicable), cost of parking, free WiFi in room (not just public areas) or cost of same, whether 2-bed rooms have doubles or queens (we just stayed in one that had doubles, and we have a King at home, so the double seemed just a little bit small)
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 05:36 PM
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Feather free rooms. I know more and more hotels are offering down pillows and comforters as a "luxury" - but about 15% of the population, including me, is allergic to feathers. When ever I check into these hotels I have to ask for a feather-free rooms (have never found one) - or housekeeping has to completely remake the room.

and if the hotel provides only down they should note it prominently on the web site - corporate and individual.

For basic likes -
a quality facility for working out
massage facilities
a stylish (NOT sports) bar
a professional concierge
24 hour room service

And one tiny thing. An incredible number of hotels do not provide a listing of their TV channels. It's very frustrating to have to bounce back and forth - or figure out which they are - when you want you morning news - or a decent classic movie channel.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 06:13 PM
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- My #1 qualifier - if it were available - would be free Wi-fi.
- Sometimes I'm looking for pet friendly.
- Business center - in case I need to print something out or I'm not taking my laptop.
- Complimentary breakfast is a plus ONLY if they include protein items. Some chains will only give carb options. That would be a hard qualifier to define.

For business/road trips, those would be my top qualifiers.

For leisure trips I would care about pool, fridge and microwave in room and the "fancier" items like spa, concierge, etc.

I pretty much base my choice on the amenities offered by the chain. I will most often choose a Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express or LaQuinta because they usually offer free wifi, business center, a free breakfast with a protein (at least a hard boiled egg or yogurt) and a business center. LQ accepts pets. Hampton Inn over Hilton Garden Inns and HIX over Holiday Inn because of the free breakfasts. Hampton Inn also usually has a grab and go breakfast - although I usually just pop an egg in a coffee cup, grab a juice and go.

In NYC, I preferred the three nights in the LQ over the Hilton on 6th because of the free breakfasts, access to a business center (to print out Ticketmaster tix) and free wifi. I hate to pay $20 or more at a Hilton for what I can get for free at a Hampton.

I assume the room will have a desk and a hair dryer.

The quality of workout rooms vary too widely to be useful qualifiers for me.

Points for stay are also important but that wouldn't apply to your project.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 06:17 PM
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Given a hotel is clean, comfortable, and quiet, my number one question is: Does it have interior corridors? I would not knowingly book a room in a building with exterior corridors unless the corridors give access to the back doors of rooms which face a scenic view.

My second concern is for the setting of the hotel. Is it in a scenic location? Is it in a downtown that is deserted and creepy at night? Is it in a residential neighborhood, or is it in an area devoted to industry, used car lots, or some other user-unfriendly activity.

What is the square footage of the room?

Does the hotel use the word "suite" to mean "suite" or to mean "a room big enough for a sitting area"?

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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 07:52 PM
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This is odd, but my absolute, number one qualifier for a hotel is: does it have completely white bedding?

I cannot stand polyester or poly-blend bed spreads with flowers or any dark pattern. I also hate those fuzzy blankets that are between the sheets and bed spread at some hotels. I always feel like it's not clean, and that the spreads are never washed (whether or not that is true is irrelevant.)

My favorite is when a comforter is double sheeted in white cotton, or has a white duvet.

There isn't a way to search for this, really, so I end up using tripadvisor user photos to see rooms. Some hotels, (mostly mid-range to higher end) are listing their linens in the amenities sections, which I greatly appreciate.

And yep, I'm aware this is a bit neurotic, but I saw this dateline special once that used a black light on hotel bed spreads, and I've been scarred for life
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 08:18 PM
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Things I search for:
1) FREE wi-fi ("Internet access" can be a computer in the lobby that you have to pay for).
2) FREE, HOT breakfast ("continental" breakfast can mean luke-warm coffee, orange-flavored powdered drink, and stale donuts).
3) easy access from the main highway -- and I usually check the map (nothing worse at the end of a long day than wasting time driving around several streets to find the motel).
4) ALL non-smoking is a plus, as I will NOT stay in a smoking room. I'll spend an extra $50 a night in order to avoid this.
5) free local calls is a nice feature, but not a deal-breaker.

One thing that would be REALLY nice is to include all charges that the lodging will add to your bill. I do NOT like to request the removal of a fifty-cent per day charge for the morning paper that is in the lobby, it makes me feel cheap -- but I hate even WORSE that hotels add these things to the bill AFTER they quote you a price. If you're automatically going to add it to my bill, then include it in the price, gosh-darn it!!
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 08:25 PM
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Yes! We just returned from a trip where we did opt to stay at a Marriott-group hotel rather than a Doubletree because the latter was not completely smoke-free (and yes, it cost us quite a bit more). Even if my room is non-smoking, I want to be sure the pool and lobby/lounge areas are, too.
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