How to Find the Best Hotel Deals and Reviews

When it comes to choosing a hotel, location is key. But so is finding a place that matches your style, interests and budget. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get your hands on the best hotel deals and reviews. But, a recent study by CivicScience may reveal something surprising: consumers don’t trust most of the top hotel review sites.

The results of the survey are based on feedback from more than 13,000 people who had booked rooms at hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts between Jan. 2016 and Aug. 2017. Respondents were asked to name their most trusted hotel review site, and their answers were based on a combination of factors including the quality of reviews, ease of use and a feeling that they provided trustworthy information.

TripAdvisor and Google took the lead in terms of most trusted sites, with 51% and 46% respectively. But the surprise winner was Choice Hotels, which scored just over half of the most trusted ratings. The hotel chain’s strong performance may be due in part to its emphasis on customer service, a philosophy that the company calls “Craving Greatness.” In fact, the brand’s goal is to deliver a great experience at every touch point, from booking and checking in to checkout and beyond. In an effort to understand what makes Choice hotels so appealing, I spoke with the company’s vice president of communications, Scott McCoy, to find out what it takes to make a hotel great.

The first thing I learned from talking to him is that there’s no one answer to this question, and that’s a good thing. Rather than relying on a single ranking, he says, hotel chains should be assessed by a wide range of metrics and consider their own unique strengths and weaknesses.

For example, while many hotel chains offer a similar level of customer satisfaction, each may differ in its amenities, rates and locations. “Each has its own niche in the market and appeals to different types of travelers,” he says. Having a clear idea of what differentiates them and how that can benefit guests helps companies identify opportunities for growth, and ultimately create better experiences for their customers.

The Mark Hotel in New York City is a case in point. It blends the character of a 1920s landmark with modern-day comforts, courtesy of famed designer Jacques Grange. It’s currently offering a winter exclusive with 20 percent off rooms. Locals will tell you to skip the soulless Time Square monstrosity in favor of a more authentic experience, such as The Carlyle on the Upper East Side or PUBLIC on the Lower East.