independentguide

for the independent traveler by independent travelers

Happy hotel hunt – finding the right accommodation

Posted by dan on November 12, 2010

Trip Advisor in ParisTo a big extent the success of any trip depends on the accommodation, and it is not always easy to find something that you really like and suits you in every way.

In the beginning there was no internet… you had to rely on the recommendations of friends and call the hotel you wished to stay at in advance, or just hope there will be a room available somewhere when you arrive. Books like Let’s Go and Fodor’s were your friends – Lonely Planet still didn’t make it into Europe. Then came the euphoria of the World Wide Web – we thought everything is on it or will be on it and we can always find what we really want. Back then Yahoo had a good directory (the Google search empire still didn’t make a name) so if you wanted a place and a sense of security you could look up the independent hotels one by one and send an email to have a room confirmed. With the corporate recovery after the balloon of the dot.com dream burst, the big players moved in arrogantly and started to monopolize the net. As a hotel, or any other independent operator, you had no choice but get the middle man involved. From a customer’s point of view this could be fine, with all the places listed on one portal together with first-hand reviews to help to decide (see blog post: Forums and hotel reviews). However, often the hotels can offer better rates if you deal with them directly and not through a third-party booking portal, so it is worth checking the official websites. Although it is not difficult to google up a hotel’s official website, not everybody is comfortable with computers and a direct link would be helpful for everybody – however, most travel and booking portals do not do that. That’s why I was very happy when I found recently two sites which list hundreds of places from all around the world and actually provide a direct link to the hotels. One of them, called Explorotel, lists a lot of special deals as well and I like the idea of the “Price Heat Map” – the way hotels are marked on the map with colors according to price. The other is called Qype, and has also useful information and deals. I still have to explore the sites a bit more, but my initial reaction is thumbs up.

Find hotels from around the world with direct links to their official website:
Explorotel – http://www.explorotel.com
Qype – http://www.qype.co.uk

If you have any travel related questions, a good forum to get advice is TripAdvisor: http://www.tripadvisor.com

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