Over the years we’ve gotten quite good at picking places to stay but it was hit and miss in the beginning. I remember paying a hundreds of ringgit for a room that looked awesome and being super disappointed, even angry. As we got more experienced we noticed that we keep checking for a few things on the booking sites when looking at the hotel.
No pictures of rooms
There are quite a few listings that don’t have pictures of the rooms at all. There are pictures of the grounds and the restaurant for example, but not the room. For me, this is a deal-breaker for two reasons. 1. You must be able to see the room. Perhaps it’s extremely small, or has no closet, or no table. Regardless of your preference you need to be able to see it. 2. This also indicates a dishonesty (or to be fair inexperience) on the part of the person running the hotel. Stay clear.
Fish eye lens for photos
Fish eye lens make the room look bigger then it actually is because a wider angle can be captured the person doesn’t need to stand as far back to capture the entire room. All photos taken with fish eye lens make the rooms look bigger. Now, this by itself is alright if, for example, the room has no corridor, but if you notice that the photos of the bathroom are fish eye too, I’d take this to mean that the hotel is dishonest and would think twice before booking there.
Rooms with old school furniture
In the photos you wont be able to see the cleanliness or newness of the fixtures and the furniture but you will be able to see the style of them. If the furniture looks like it’s from the 90s you want to make sure that the place has been maintained properly. This really depends on the place and is much less likely to be a problem in higher end places but if you’re going to a smaller hotel without a great deal you might want to skip it.
Consistently dropping price
So, if you’re prepared, you’d be checking the hotel prices periodically. If you notice that the price of a hotel is steadily decreasing it can mean one of two things. 1. it’s not the high season any more. Or 2. if their prices are decreasing and everyone else’s are the same it means low occupancy which could indicate a problem.
Check the location yourself
Agoda, Expedia, etc all have the map of where the hotel is located. However, we have also had a situation where the hotel pin wasn’t in the correct place on the site. So, you can just go to Google Maps and enter the hotel address. Another good idea is to check Google Street View for the address (if the country supports it) because it’ll give you a good general idea of what the neighborhood is like and you can take a look at the environment without the marketing spin. Don’t forget though, Google Street View images are a couple of years old.