Choosing a Hotel – Tips from an Insider

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by Contributing Writer, Virginia Burbage

Are you traveling to a new area? Not sure how to pick a hotel that meets your needs? When I travel I look for a safe, convenient and comfortable hotel. Beyond those basic needs I prefer a hotel with certain amenities and a pleasant staff. When planning your next trip start with your top three requirements and then a few “would like to haves”. Make a list, on paper or mentally.

My first stop is Tripadvisor, my favorite review site. To place a review on Tripadvisor you must be registered, and they do follow up on any that look like they might be placed by the business in question. When reading reviews, try to keep in mind that things such as a noisy wedding party, a fire truck going by during the night, a malfunctioning air conditioner or heater, or even a billing error can happen even in the nicest hotels. These are situational issues and should not be given too much importance. Unless you see these type of complaints repeated several times, they aren’t the norm at the hotel. The big no-no’s to me are: rude staff, bugs, any cleanliness issues, mildew, smells, view, crime, or bad location –such as next to railroad track or industrial park.

Consider your priorities, for example – dated room decorations don’t bother me as long as the room is clean. I really don’t spend much time in my room anyway. Also keep in mind that most people will rush to place a bad review, but don’t often take the time to post a positive one. A positive review is usually worth about 4 bad ones to me.

Repeated complaints of any one issue lead me to think that the management is not interested in correcting problems. I know that in any hotel I have worked in, problems do come up. The big issue is how these problems are addressed and corrected. Pay attention to the management response to the complaints. If their reaction is negative and defensive then it is not a good indicator on how the management will handle future issues. If the response is proactive and seeks to resolve the issue for the guest, or offers some type or remedy then the hotel is trying to deliver good customer service.

In the end, customer service really affects my experience. When reading reviews keep in mind what made the author’s stay a success.

Virginia Burbage is the Area Director of Sales at Best Western Battlefield Inn with 30 years hospitality industry experience. She is a member of VAWE Wedding Network, the Women’s Wedding Network, and the Prince William Chamber of Commerce. She runs a travel blog site,, and has a love for foods and travel.


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