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Whether you are planning a spontaneous staycation, a long-needed getaway, or a work trip, you should always carefully research hotels before booking. To do this, you must ask the right questions so you have everything you need to rest and relax while away from home.

At First Choice Inn at the Swell, we take hotel reservations seriously. We want you to have all of the information you need to select a hotel in a great location and will provide the best amenities you desire. So, before you book with us or anyone else, we recommend you ask these 10 essential hotel questions.

1. “Where are you located in proximity to other places?”

Imagine stumbling across an unbelievable hotel deal that is a steal compared to all the others you’ve been eyeing. The urge to hit the “book now” button may feel strong, but you should think about the location of your lodging before confirming reservations.

Knowing the exact location of the hotel in relation to your planned itinerary will help save headaches and missed reservations throughout your stay. You want to be close to the delicious restaurants, noteworthy museums, or other attractions on your list. Otherwise you’ll spend more time traveling from place to place than actually enjoying your getaway.

You can easily view a hotel’s location by pulling up the Google Business listing or entering the address into Google Maps. When in doubt, call the hotel directly and ask how far they are from various attractions on your list — they will be able to tell you this and provide information about shuttle services or mass transit options.

2. “Do you offer a complimentary hot breakfast?”

Picture yourself waking up to the irresistible aroma of freshly brewed coffee. As you step into the hotel’s dining area, your eyes are greeted by a lavish breakfast buffet that offers a variety of options to cater to diverse tastes and preferences.

From fluffy pancakes to crispy bacon, hearty toast, cereal, and nourishing oatmeal to fresh fruits, yogurt, and juices, there’s something to please every palate. The scene might have been enough for you to daydream about the delightful morning ahead, which is why inquiring about a complimentary hot breakfast is one of the crucial questions to ask when booking a hotel room.

Free food is always welcome, especially in an era where costs of living are soaring. Breakfast is an important part of the day, and having your tummy full before you embark on the day’s adventures is fulfilling and wise.

Here at First Choice Inn, we are known for our incredible breakfast buffet. We believe any hotel worth staying at should offer this same perk.

3. “Do the rooms include a minifridge and microwave?”

If you plan to stay more than 24 hours in the same hotel room, a minifridge and microwave will likely come in handy. These home comforts let you store beverages and snacks, reheat leftovers, or prepare simple meals if your time or funds are limited.

Most hotels list these appliances on their website on a dedicated amenities page or directly on the booking page. If not, you can always call the hotel and confirm whether their rooms include these must-have items.

4. “Do the rooms include hairdryers and irons?”

Having a hairdryer and iron in your hotel room is a bonus point, as you don’t have to worry about dragging them with you on your trip. Both of these items are essential, regardless of your travel reason. They play a significant part in personal grooming and professional appearance.

Whether you are traveling for a wedding, business trip, or any other important event, these amenities ensure guest comfort, convenience, and satisfaction.

5. “Is there a fee for parking?”

Hotel parking charges can vary from city to city across the US, with some charging anywhere from $10 to over $75 per night [1]. Since traveling is costly on the pocket, heaving a heads-up on parking fees is essential to manage your budget effectively.

Some hotels offer free parking to their guests, while others offer parking vouchers for the nearest parking garage. However, if your hotel does charge for parking, you may ask about a multi-day discount to reduce the amount you spend on this necessity.

6. “Do you offer shuttle services?”

If you are flying in from out of state or going to an amusement park, you should look for a hotel that offers free shuttle services to and from these other destinations. These services can save you time and money, since you may forego a rental car and skip buying a city bus pass. This is one of those questions to ask when booking a hotel room that many people forget to ask and isn’t obviously mentioned on many booking websites.

7. “Do you have a fitness room and pool?”

If you’re a fitness enthusiast who can’t bear the thought of skipping your workout routine even while on vacation, it’s essential that you look for a hotel with fitness facilities. You don’t have to compromise on your exercise regimen, as many hotels offer fully-equipped fitness rooms that ensure you stay in shape even when you’re away from home.

Likewise, if you’re someone who finds solace in water, finding out about the hotel’s pool amenities is a must. Having pool facilities in your hotel helps you unwind the day’s stress and presents opportunities for fun and enjoyment. Many hotels host poolside events and parties, which is a plus, as it adds an extra layer of excitement to your stay.

Pro tip: Inquire about pool operating hours and the setting. Some hotels have indoor policies, while others offer the bliss of outdoor swimming. Some hotels also have a rooftop pool, which is an experience on its own!

8. “Do you have a loyalty program?”

Are you someone who travels regularly? If so, you may want to ask the hotel whether they offer a loyalty program. Such programs reward their regular visitors with points that can be redeemed for upgrades, amenities, discounts at future hotel bookings, and other privileges.

Here are some questions you can ask to get an idea of their loyalty program:

  • Why should I join your hotel’s loyalty program? How is it different from regular booking?
  • How do I join the loyalty program?
  • How do I earn points or rewards?
  • Does your loyalty program have one level or different tiers? If yes, what are they?
  • Are there any fees or costs for joining and maintaining the program?
  • Do I earn points or rewards if I book the hotel directly on its website?
  • What special amenities are reserved for loyalty members during their stay?
  • How do I check my loyalty account? Is there any mobile app or online portal for it?
  • How and where can I redeem the points?
  • Do points or regards expire? If yes, what is the expiration policy?

By asking these questions about loyalty programs, you can decide whether you want to be a part of it or not.

9. “What’s your cancellation policy?”

Another critical question to ask when booking a hotel room is inquiring about their cancellation policy. A good hotel will have a proper cancellation policy that could save time, money, and frustration if your travel plans change, reschedule, or get canceled.

Some hotels offer a 24-hour cancellation policy, while others might have a 72-hour guideline. Some hotels pay no refund or sneakily hide the cancellation fees in print and charge them when things don’t go to plan from your side. But, again, not all are the same, and knowing the hotel’s tonight cancellation policy ahead of time could save you many regrets.

10. “Where can I see reviews for your hotel?”

An excellent way to ensure that your hotel is nice and accommodating is to see its reviews on the internet. You can go on a hotel’s website and read testimonials or check out its photos and what past guests say about it (like on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other hotel review websites).

If you want to view reviews for First Choice Inn, you can go to our Google Business page and read through the reviews at any time.

Resources

[1] https://yourmileagemayvary.com/2022/08/28/why-do-hotels-charge-for-parking-and-how-can-you-get-around-having-to-pay-for-it/