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View Poll Results: Do you research in advance before choosing a place to stay?
Yes, always research online and other sources before booking 54 96.43%
No, do not research online or using any other source 0 0%
Sometimes research depending upon the travel plan 3 5.36%
Rely mostly on advice from family and friends 1 1.79%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 56. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 27th March 2012, 15:03   #1
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Default Choosing the right- Hotels / Resorts / Home stays from sources - tripadvisor reviews

Have seen in the forum many of our fella BHPians looking for good accommodation while travelling to a particular city or when off on a holiday or for a pit stop en route long drives or getaways and since have been in the same boat earlier as well suggesting my 2 cents on choosing the right place to stay from my successful experiments and experiences from my past travels.

As a part of yearly ritual post wedlock, we have been taking a week long break to coincide with our anniversary every November. For this we start planning as early as June or July. The main question is of course where to go or the destination and this takes up a lot of time with a lot of heated discussions, haggling, exchange of fire, coaxing and of course compromising (that’s a key word right!).

Finally once we decide to go where we want to, the next question is of course the location. This selection is a process by itself and over the couple of years we have devised a very credible and successful way of getting the right accommodation our budget which goes as follows-
  1. To being with search for the destination and hotels in google which would throw up many options
  2. Check for travel portals such as travelmasti, holidayiq, cleartrip, makemytrip etc for options by filtering it to a certain budget range thereby shortlisting a few(List1) and the same in tripadvisor to come up with an alternate list (List 2) of Hotels / Resorts / Home stays / B&B / Inns. Compare the two lists to pick the common ones
  3. Read the tripadvisor reviews – which in my experience have been very authentic since it is posted by fellow travelers and the content moderated for accuracy and authenticity
  4. Once a handful of properties are selected, check out their individual websites for details, pics, tariffs etc. Make calls at the property to enquire about the availability and rates for the date of journey and finally bring it down to 2 options per destination
  5. Make bookings or advance payments at one of the selected properties and request for confirmation for future reference
Some pointers-
  • Read customer reviews in various travel forums such as indiamike and tripadvisor to get a firsthand account of their experiences
  • We have always made advance booking / blocking of accommodation where ever we have travelled unless it is a sudden travel plan or during peak off season
  • Keep at least one more alternative so that in case you do not like the place in reality then you can safely look for the other option
  • Have always booked it directly with the hotel management and got the best deals and not through travel portals and got confirmation from the management after advance booking is done
  • Try to plan well in advance or as early as possible so that you get some good deals in the best of the properties within your budget
All this research would take a bit of your time but it will be well worth it at the end. Do post your comments or ideas on this so that all of us can benifit out of the collective wisdom. Till then happy travel and happy stay!

Last edited by girishglg : 27th March 2012 at 15:12.
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Old 27th March 2012, 15:34   #2
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Default Re: Choosing the right- Hotels / Resorts / Home stays from sources - tripadvisor revi

Yes, I always follow all the steps you mentioned in your post. But my experience is little bit different. Most of the time travel portals offer best deals, at least in India. If you go for 4 or 5 star accommodation then you can get better deal on portals than the actual hotel website but again for that you have to search through all the travel portals to get the best deal. In south east Asia most of the time if you contact directly to the hotel you can fetch a better deal.

I usually start this process 50 days before the departure. Once the hotels are shortlisted I check their rates regularly. These rates fluctuates on daily basis on travel portals. And there are some great deals on these portals also. In February I was getting a stay in Ramada Goa for just 5k per night. It was a great deal considering normal rates during that period is above 10k. But that deal lasted for a day only after that they hiked the prices.

So it is not a one minute job for me. I like to research and monitor the rates before booking the hotel room.

Last edited by abhijitvp : 27th March 2012 at 15:35.
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Old 29th March 2012, 12:01   #3
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Default Re: Choosing the right- Hotels / Resorts / Home stays from sources - tripadvisor revi

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhijitvp View Post
Yes, I always follow all the steps you mentioned in your post. But my experience is little bit different. Most of the time travel portals offer best deals, at least in India. If you go for 4 or 5 star accommodation then you can get better deal on portals than the actual hotel website but again for that you have to search through all the travel portals to get the best deal. In south east Asia most of the time if you contact directly to the hotel you can fetch a better deal.
That is correct for rated properties portals offer a great deal depending on the season and the location at some point of time or the other. However for the numerous other hotels across the many destinations which may not be a big brand or part of a large chain, experience has been to reconfirm the rates quoted by various travel portals. Also the portals add in their margin in the rates quoted. One more issue in portals is that we do not get the full picture of their room inventory / types and some of the cheaper rooms may be left out completely.
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Old 29th March 2012, 14:24   #4
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Default Re: Choosing the right- Hotels / Resorts / Home stays from sources - tripadvisor revi

Girish, I beg to disagree. I found that travel portals offer more information like view, room size, amenities, complimentary, etc and better rates too. This has been my experience with agoda.com and booking.com. Agoda takes full payment upfront whereas booking.com blocks certain amount incase you cancel or no show, full payment is done at the hotel during checking out. In both cases I confirmed my booking independently with the respective hotels.

Tripadvisor.com is indeed a trust worthy website for hotel reviews. However I wouldn't trust reviews in portals which sell accommodation, like the two sites cited above. I have a very good reason for it. After availing of my stay booked through agoda, they sent a feedback form which is like a review (my review) of the hotel. I wrote some negative feedback and my review never appeared on the agoda website under that hotel. Looking at it from their point of view it makes sense. But for a potential customer point of view its not the complete picture.
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Old 29th March 2012, 15:53   #5
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Default Re: Choosing the right- Hotels / Resorts / Home stays from sources - tripadvisor revi

I do look up reviews at tripadvisor.com, but don't trust them completely as i have found the reviews to be incorrect, after i arrived at the hotel. So these reviews are either written by folks close to them or family members (in most cases and not all).

I trust the team BHP reviews more, at-least they are honest and to the point and have found them to be accurate (i.e. no surprises).

The other thing i have noticed is the pictures in these portals look better then the place actually is (magic of photography i guess) and in most cases the pictures of the place on Team BHP are more true and close to the reality.

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 29th March 2012 at 16:16. Reason: Grammer
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Old 29th March 2012, 16:15   #6
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Default Re: Choosing the right- Hotels / Resorts / Home stays from sources - tripadvisor revi

Girish- with due respect, for the choices you have provided and considering this *is* a Team-BHP member poll you are probably going to end up with a 100% result favouring option 1

Face it - vacations are hard-earned and who in this day and age would book one without doing his research?!!

The technique we use in our family is:
Step 1: Selection of destination- this is primarily OFFLINE driven. The missus and I (and occasionally my parents when they come along) have a longlist of places we have never seen/would like to see again. Depending on the time of the year, we choose a couple, then debate them at home and finalise the destination and dates.
Step 2: Identifying a place to stay- this is almost completely ONLINE. Tripadvisor is the first stop since the ratings there are completely user-based. I go through the reviews looking for balanced viewpoints (frankly some people complain about ANYthing!) and keep some keywords in mind: clean, comfortable, friendly staff, family-friendly, good affordable food options.
Step 3: How to get there. Typically I scour through Team-BHP travelogues to find the best way of getting there. Anything under 8 hours by road is automatically a drive-to destination. Aroun 12 hours also is OK, but we budget an overnight stay en route. Longer than that and we fly.
Step 4: Bookings: In rare cases (e.g. quickie Ladakh trip last year) we book an entire package including flights, hotels. road transport- typically this is on makemytrip (MYT), with whom we have had a couple of pleasant experiences. Their customer service is quite responsive and they have a very good online chat help application. The offline experience (connecting to a real-life agent is also seamless.
However typically we book hotels online (MYT, cleartrip, even hotels.com and expedia are some I have used) based onthe tripadvisor reviews. A lot of online agents offer good discounts/deals if booked well in advance. A lot of these also have monthly newsletters where the "destination of the month" is showcased with specials offers etc.
For flights, there used to be a very nice Yahoo app called Farechase, which has been sunset now, pity. I usually search for the route on makemytrip, cross-check with cleartrip and then book through the airline's website directly (why pay unnecessary service fees ). All the good airlines have excellent online booking engines these days and seat selection, special requests are better routed directly through the airline. In rare instances the "stopover" option offered by major international airlines is useful for overnight stays en route.
Hope this helps!
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Old 29th March 2012, 17:19   #7
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Post Re: Choosing the right- Hotels / Resorts / Home stays from sources - tripadvisor revi

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
I do look up reviews at tripadvisor.com, but don't trust them completely as i have found the reviews to be incorrect, after i arrived at the hotel.
Agree with you completely. Happened with me. If I find bad reviews about a place, I avoid it but if I find good reviews only, I take it with a pinch of salt .
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Old 29th March 2012, 19:57   #8
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Default Re: Choosing the right- Hotels / Resorts / Home stays from sources - tripadvisor revi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guite View Post
Girish, I beg to disagree. I found that travel portals offer more information like view, room size, amenities, complimentary, etc and better rates too. This has been my experience with agoda.com and booking.com. Agoda takes full payment upfront whereas booking.com blocks certain amount incase you cancel or no show, full payment is done at the hotel during checking out. In both cases I confirmed my booking independently with the respective hotels.

Tripadvisor.com is indeed a trust worthy website for hotel reviews. However I wouldn't trust reviews in portals which sell accommodation, like the two sites cited above.
Thanks for naming some more travel portals which offer reliable as well as flexible booking options, will try them out. Certainly apart from tripadvisor reviews we do not trust the other ones which was cited earlier but we use them to list down more options in a particular destination since tripadvisor does not always have a comprehensive list and may show only the ones reviewed

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
I do look up reviews at tripadvisor.com, but don't trust them completely as i have found the reviews to be incorrect, after i arrived at the hotel. So these reviews are either written by folks close to them or family members (in most cases and not all).
Have found tripadvisor rating by members generally accurate to the point that they are indicative of the state of affairs of a particular property though there should be a certain margin given to the reviews and cannot be taken to the exact word. The other thing we do is to choose the property that have the maximum number of reviews (among the shortlisted ones) and hope that the law of averages work out to present a fairly decent opinion overall. It does work many times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Face it - vacations are hard-earned and who in this day and age would book one without doing his research?!!

However typically we book hotels online (MYT, cleartrip, even hotels.com and expedia are some I have used) based onthe tripadvisor reviews. A lot of online agents offer good discounts/deals if booked well in advance. I usually search for the route on makemytrip, cross-check with cleartrip and then book through the airline's website directly (why pay unnecessary service fees ). All the good airlines have excellent online booking engines these days and seat selection, special requests are better routed directly through the airline. In rare instances the "stopover" option offered by major international airlines is useful for overnight stays en route.
Hope this helps!
Point noted on the 'No' options provided since we all do research online at least the TBHPians (thats why we are here right!) but hope that collectively from all of us this thread will bring out a method in the madness of researching so that all of us benefit out of it. And yes the best place to book a flight is in the airline's website itself rather than the travel portals where you save atleast a few hundred bucks!

Also we could list down some of the properties that we stayed in during our travels and had a good experience overall.
Some of the many properties where we had a pleasant time are-

Munnar / Thekkady - Sienna Village / Thekkady wild corridor
Mussorie - Vishnu Palace / Padmini Nivas
Gangtok - Tashi Tagey
Darjeeling - Dekeling
Pondicherry - Ram International
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Old 29th March 2012, 20:06   #9
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Default Re: Choosing the right- Hotels / Resorts / Home stays from sources - tripadvisor revi

Guys,

one thing to do on tripadvisor is only to pay attention to reviews by senior members (>25 reviews)
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Old 5th November 2012, 21:21   #10
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Default Re: Choosing the right- Hotels / Resorts / Home stays from sources - tripadvisor revi

That is very true, like any other online forum, the reputation of senior members have much more weightage than newbies.

Please no offence meant to anyone here but just that one's track record also brings in a lot of credibility. But all in all one should take all the review with a pinch of salt and average it out and yes the best thing is to get some background info of a place and nothing like experiencing it yourself!
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Old 5th November 2012, 23:54   #11
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Default Re: Choosing the right- Hotels / Resorts / Home stays from sources - tripadvisor revi

Hi everybody
Girishglg has put it very well that there is nothing like experiencing it yourself.
My first requirements are white bedsheet,white towel,running hot and cold water and a clean western style toilet.(Did not get white bedsheet in Drass and Mulbekh so used my own)
All this may seem to make it expensive but believe me it is not so.
In the last 2 years I have not paid more than rs 1000 for all this except Gurgaon rs 1500 and Delhi rs 1200.All with AC and TV.Bangalore rs 700 non AC.
I believe bargaining is my birthright and so far I have been lucky.
Regards
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Old 7th November 2012, 12:15   #12
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Default Re: Choosing the right- Hotels / Resorts / Home stays from sources - tripadvisor revi

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Guys,

one thing to do on tripadvisor is only to pay attention to reviews by senior members (>25 reviews)
+1 to that

Another important thing is to give your own feedback about the property, the staff, the amenities etc. which we often forget after the trip.
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Old 16th January 2013, 19:38   #13
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Default Re: Choosing the right- Hotels / Resorts / Home stays from sources - tripadvisor revi

Last week we were in search of a good restaurant which offered either Italian or Chinese cuisines. We had been to most of the latter ones so the search was on for a good Italian restaurant.

After going through many reviews in various restaurant forums like zomato etc, found the reviews of Little Italy intersting. Again just check upon tripadvisor and found some really crisp and pointed review which made us finally choose the place. And yes we had a good time with some great food!
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Old 21st June 2016, 08:52   #14
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Default Re: Choosing the right- Hotels / Resorts / Home stays from sources - tripadvisor reviews

Yesterday in Bangalore Mirror, there is full page ad for airbnb. Having used airbnb for last couple of years, I would recommend to everyone. But have to understand that this isn't like regular hotel stay. In a regular hotel the reception is available for any queries. In airbnb, a lot depends on host.

Link: https://www.airbnb.co.in/

Choosing the right- Hotels / Resorts / Home stays from sources - tripadvisor reviews-20_06_2016_003_002.jpg
AD Link: http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/i...20&dt=20160620

Last edited by msdivy : 21st June 2016 at 08:56.
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