Hotel searching? Set priorities, check ratings

The hotel industry generates more than $100 billion dollars in revenue each year. If you’re looking for a hotel, start the search early to get the best deals. Your Better Business Bureau offers tips for finding a hotel at your next destination.

In 2012, your BBB received more than 6,300 complaints and almost 182,000 inquiries about the hotel industry across North America. Locally, your BBB recorded 805 inquiries about this industry. Your BBB urges you to do your research to find a hotel for your next vacation or business trip.

If you’re planning a trip, your BBB suggests you:

• Determine what’s more important in your hotel search: location, price, amenities, etc.

• Ask family and friends where they’ve stayed. If they liked it, most likely you will too.

• Search online for hotel ratings. Read comments from former guests and reviews about the hotel’s cleanliness and customer service.

• Consider consulting a reliable travel agent or travel service (you can find a list of BBB Accredited travel agencies at your BBB’s Web site). They can negotiate preferred rates with certain hotel/motel chains.

• Verify your reservation and get a confirmation number at time of booking. Also, be sure to get a copy of the hotel’s cancellation policy in case you need to cancel your reservation.

• Research attractions, shops and restaurants you wish to visit during your stay. Make sure to stay in a hotel where it will be convenient to get to them.

• Ask about additional fees such as extra charges for amenities, like a pool, fitness center or internet access. Also, check if the hotel offers free breakfast.

• Pay with a credit card, so you can dispute unauthorized charges with your credit card company.

• Ask questions. Before booking your hotel room, call the front desk to ask questions and determine their level of customer service.

Remember, beware of great deals. Watch out for fake websites when booking a hotel; scam artist can easily post fake Web sites that look legitimate. Always check with the hotel who’s offering the deal before making a decision. You can also always get help from your BBB, such as a list of BBB Accredited hotels at your destination and business reviews on ones you’re considering. Visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

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