Travellers are faced with quite a daunting task when choosing where to stay. Firstly because there is a plethora of possibilities from which to choose, and secondly because when you’re visiting an unknown area or country you don’t want any unpleasant surprises, especially when you’ve paid a non-refundable deposit (or in full sometimes). Lastly, while we all take advantage of the ease of the Internet, we are also aware of the scammers out there. Booking perfect accommodation to meet your needs is where the adventure begins, and can be safe and fun!
To simplify the process, I suggest you assess the following:
- Decide whether you prefer a Hotel, a Guesthouse/ B&B or would you like Self-catering accommodation?
- Ascertain which area you most want to stay in. Do you necessarily need to be close to all the Tourist Attractions/ Conference Centre or Sport’s Stadium?
- What is your budget? Do you want a 3, 4 or 5 star establishment?
- Have you got children and need a place that accepts youngsters?
- Do you smoke or have special dietary requirements?
- Do you need an establishment that would make your trip extra memorable, such as if the reason for the journey is a special occasion, such as a Honeymoon, or anniversary?
Next, you will go to a Search Engine and look for the websites with accommodation listings. The next step in the process is to eliminate your options from the vast list you’ll encounter and find the right one for your needs, to make an availability enquiry and ultimately a reservation.
To do this you can:
- Ascertain each facility which accords to ALL your requirements and bookmark them until you have made some further research.
- If possible, visit the website of each of these establishments to get a better look and feel of the place, read up about the owners and everything they offer. Some of these Accommodation portals do not list the hotel’s website or even their real name to enable you to find them online, as they are afraid you’ll book directly and they won’t get their commission.
- Take note of the ratings voted by the public on each of these establishments. These portals often have an in-house grading or poling system which is also a good benchmark to assist your choices.
- Read reviews from other guests who have actually stayed at the establishment. These impartial comments could assist your decision in knowing what the value for money is at any given place, how clean it really is, what services they enjoyed and details about their experience in general. A good one is Tripadvisor.com. This works well because word-of-mouth is one of the most successful marketing tools for both establishment owners and the holiday-makers.
- Call the establishment yourself (if it’s a Guesthouse or B&B) and speak to the Owner in person or email them and ask what it is you’d like to know about the area or the venue. This will give you a chance to evaluate their professionalism and friendliness.
You can relax once you have selected your perfect venue with calculated estimations and await your departure date with ease and excitement, knowing that you’re not in for some nasty surprises. Bon Voyage!
- 14 Motives to make Cape Town a “Must See” (africabana.wordpress.com)
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