Have you left a less than shining accommodation review recently?

We love to stay at our apart/studio hotel and homestay/guesthouse locations in London and Luton. However we have great concern for those who do not experience our product as we do. I am putting down my top ten (in two parts) recommendations for booking a successful stay where ever you’re headed.

1, Read the profile of the place you are booking carefully. Make sure you are aware of the small print. Most reputable operators will have any extra costs clearly shown next to where you book. Everyone wants your business, most strive for transparency and the details are usually plain to see. Make sure you read them properly.

2, Read the past reviews. Even the good ones. Often they will mention if there are noisy bin collections early on Monday morning, but in a balanced view can paint a more accurate overall picture. Of course if there are several reviews saying the local Peacocks can be very annoying in the early hours, then best to book elsewhere if this is going to annoy you.

3, Read your confirmation email. If there is anything not as you expect then you can call straight away and any credible operator will allow you a fee FREE cancellation if it’s not for you after all. Not so likely if you’ve left it till the day of your stay, especially if the vendor has taken that booking off the market hours or days before.

4, Make sure you’re aware of what you’re going to especially if it’s way cheaper than the competition. They may have a different business model or less flexibility regarding rules of stay etc. Possibly no air conditioning or room service.

5, If you’re booking outside your usual city, country or culture then specifically checkout the local market place against the world chains in order to get a clear picture of how far your money will go and what you can expect for it. Take responsibility for your stay. The surrounding areas of any capital city can still be very expensive compared to where you are coming from.

The second part of my top ten tips helping you to help yourself to booking a great overnight experience.

6, Be clear with yourself what your minimum requirements are. It’s no use checking into accommodation in mid July and complaining there’s no air con if you’ve booked an unknown independent or local chain. The UK is not a hot country, but we do have heatwaves some years. The boxes are there for you to tick if aircon is a must have for you. Also if price is top of your mind and you haven’t chosen a well known chain hotel then you need to be extra careful what amenities you are receiving for that lessor price. Most credible operators have extensive details about every aspect of their property. Read them if specific requirements are important to you.

7, Checking in. Make sure you know what is required from the establishment before arriving. Speedy check-in can be impeded if you’ve arrived without the correct payment information or worse still, the person booking for you has not carried out the full booking process. Be clear you know how it is being paid, wether you can use cash and what kind of currency or card is acceptable.

8, Beds. A bone of contention for many light sleepers. No big issue for those who can sleep soundly on anything. If you are the former then checkout what that lower cost accommodation’s past reviews are saying about them and act accordingly to help yourself achieve a better experience.

9, Issue’s with your room. If you have concerns with your room upon arrival then contact the hotel and say so. A review later complaining about cleanliness or the promised FREE wifi doesn’t work isn’t really helping your experience. Usually a polite call to reception will result in your issue being sorted and everyone is happy. Often the simple secret ingredient can help lots; be nice xx

10, know yourself to help yourself. Only you know your own specific ‘must haves’. Do your research and make sure you are going to have the environment you want to stay in. Also figure out what you can easily pack to make your space your own little ‘home from home.’

Please comment. I’d be delighted to know your views. In fact why not send us your top 3 tips to having a great stay away from home.