What is that “four star” rating all about? Oh, there is “five star” and then I saw one that was “2 1/2 star.” What the heck is that?! It is all confusing, but it is the hotel rating system that they have. This begs another question; who are “they?” This is a mystery of life. We may never truly understand who “they” are or why “they” care or how “they” score to develop these hotel ratings. So, I am going to share how I explain to my mother the method of making an informed decision before booking hotels with an online hotel search.

The key is customer review. Customer comments are added to every reputable travel site that you can book hotels with. A customer is prompted to provide feedback about a hotel so that a future customer can know what to expect concerning service, cleanliness, appliances and even local eating establishments. This feedback provides valuable information for the next traveler, and for the hotel. If it is a good and caring establishment they will address areas that are quality concerns. This is where one wants to book a hotel.

I told Mom it is wise choosing hotels with many reviews, for two reasons. If there are many good reviews then you can feel confident. Usually people go out of their way to leave negative feedback and not so easily for positive, When they do leave that positive feedback this means they must have been very satisfied. Book that hotel. If there is negative, consider price (what do you really expect for $29.95) and what is the overall experience of several customers. Get all available information to make an informed judgment call when choosing hotels for budget concerns. All things are relative to expectations, after all.

Then, consider the overall comments, not just one. See, at times individuals might have personality conflicts or perhaps a client is just an angry person. Maybe the airline has lost a traveler’s baggage. This one bad review should not be allowed to taint a whole hotel rating, not in fairness. There are many reasons for these tainted reviews and even the customer could be at fault. So, to be fair, review several comments and choose them in no specific order for a full evaluation of comments before choosing a hotel.

Next, be aware of review dates. The ability to see the history of an establishment is important. If past experiences were poor but present ones are improving then it is easy to deduce that this is a caring and improving hotel concerned with quality. One can try to identify any trends that may exist. Perhaps they are lackadaisical on the continental breakfast, for instance. One can also search the reviews to see how they operate during a holiday weekend. Do they respond well when they are busy? Choosing hotels that fare well when busy provide wonderful off season service.

The final area of concern, when overlooked can lead to disaster. I have seen this done too often. Be aware of who is leaving the comment and this is why. Hotels monitor these reviews. If there are negative reviews a hotel proprietor will simply leave several bogus positive reviews to effectively bury the negative. This is partial reason for the random selection idea, and one should be wary of this trend when searching reviews. All hotels are going to have some negatives for various reasons. A reputable hotel understands this and will do all that is possible to correct and address concerns, as opposed to hiding them.

This is a very effective tool when deciding on where to book hotels. I have found budget hotels that provide wonderful service. I have found older establishments that discount rates, but they are clean (the number one concern, right?), and I have found some that I am happy to miss. I will leave you with one final thought; beware of the high price hotel just because the building is beautiful. That does not guaranty that the building is matched by the service or amenities. Happy journeys!

Ron is the webmaster of [http://ticketstoairlines.com], a growing travel website with extensive travel options for destinations all over the world.

Ron’s desire is to present only quality information for reputable services that represent a great value to the desiring, and deserving public. Fulfilling the void that is present in the quest of a need, Ron hopes he can be of service.

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