Hotels Could Easily Provide More Details on Their Web Sites that would help eliminate a call to the hotel about certain hotel characteristics and room features. Yet a surprising number of hotels, while they let you know the brand of linens they're using, along with the dimensions of the TV, and the fact that there's a hair dryer in the room (which full service hotel doesn't provide one?) are missing other key information. Here are 5 things I wish all luxury hotels provided on their Web site:
1. Whether the Hotel Charges a Resort Fee or Similar Mandatory Fee
While I don't have to worry about this question when booking most Four Seasons hotels and resorts, which never have a resort fee (except for Las Vegas), a number of other luxury hotels in resort locations or sometimes even non-resort locations do charge a resort fee. Sometimes this is posted prominently on the hotel Web site, or when checking rates, but sometimes it only appears after going through the entire process of making a reservation, or on the confirmation.
It will be interesting to see whether Booking.com's move to start charging hotels commission on resort fees has any effect on the fees, which are a key way hotels that charge them keep their advertised rates competitive while still collecting more from the consumer (and stiffing travel partners that book clients at the hotel).
2. How Many Adults and Children the Room or Suite Can Accommodate
Again, Four Seasons is good about providing information on the total number of adults and children a given room or suite can accommodate, including whether there's a sofa bed or not, and whether an extra bed can be added to the room. But a surprising number of other hotels aren't clear on this in their room descriptions, forcing you to call to find out what the room occupancy and extra bed situation is.
3. Which Room and Suite Types Can Connect
Sites such as Hyatt Prive do explain which room and suite types connect, but most hotel sites don't define which room and suite types can connect, which is unfortunate. It's a critical question for many families and extended families, and sometimes only in-house reservations teams at the hotel are completely knowledgeable about all the options.
4. Floor Plan
Accurate floor plans are helpful in discerning whether the bathroom has one sink or two, if there's a stand alone soaking tub or not, the orientation of the bed relative to other aspects of the room, and more. Four Seasons usually provides a floor plan for most of its room and suite types, but other hotels are behind in this regard.
5. View and Location
Now, usually hotels are decent about including a key view feature in the room name, although certain lower category room names can be euphemisms (Resort View for a view of the parking lot, for example).
But really hotels should want to manage guests' expectations by getting more granular about what kind of view to expect. For example, does a Partial Ocean View mean a partial view of the ocean from inside the room, or only from the balcony? Or does partial refer to the fact that trees or a building partially block the ocean view?
Similarly, apart from hotels such as Four Seasons Hualalai which are low rise, with only two story bungalows, it can be important to understand what floor range a given room or suite category can be on. Some guests don't want to be on the ground floor, or in major cities, don't want to be on the 15th floor or lower. Providing the floor range in the room description can help guests select a room or suite type that best fits their needs.
What kind of information do you feel most hotel Web sites are missing?
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