Booking a Hotel in 2021? These Are The Green Flags To Look For

When Humphrey Bogart delivered his iconic “We’ll always have Paris” line in Casablanca, he might not have taken a pandemic into account. It’s been a while since we all had Paris, or any other destination for that matter, and the wanderlust is stronger than ever before. It’s human nature to want what we can’t have and after more than a year of having to say no, we, as travelers, want to finally say yes to hitting the road again. While health and safety concerns are still present, the prospect of vacations, trips, and new adventures is currently taking the wheel, in such a way that “revenge travel” is even considered the trend du jour. 

However, regardless of how much we want to get back to our normal traveling habits and behavior, we all need to acknowledge the changes that happened in this past year and the different travel scenarios that we are now coming face-to-face with. In terms of researching and booking a hotel for our vacations, there are certain things that we should pay more attention to and some that we should prioritize over others. Expedia’s Senior VP, Shiv Singh, recently stated that travel will become “a more conscious act”, one that we’ll put more thought into than we did before the pandemic.  

We summarized the most important traits that a hotel should have in 2021 in order to ensure a safe and satisfactory guest experience, so make sure to keep an eye out for these green flags whenever you’re looking to book a trip or vacation!

Cleanliness and safety certifications

It goes without saying that cleanliness and safety while traveling are some of the most important factors that should be taken into consideration. The threat of the pandemic is still present and while getting sick is bad enough, having to go through it while on the road is even worse. This is why the vast majority of hotel businesses are now prioritizing stringent cleanliness and health standards, in order to take care of the guests’ well-being and ensure trust in their efforts. 

As a traveler in 2021, we highly advise you to go the extra mile and put more thought into your research and booking process, in order to find the best accomodation in terms of cleanliness and safety. The easiest way of doing this is by paying attention to the marketing widgets displayed by hotels, either on their brand website or on booking platforms; many of our client hotels are leveraging the Trusted Cleanliness Badge in order to bring attention to their set of sanitation and cleanliness measures and we, as a company, award them with the badge, only after a thorough review.

Recent, relevant reviews

Most travelers check reviews before booking a hotel. In fact, most of us check customer reviews before making any purchase nowadays. When it comes to mid or post-pandemic travel, online reviews tend to shift their relevance, according to their publication date. Keep in mind that many things had to change in the past year and certain services might not be the same as they were before the pandemic. If you’re considering an older review that talks about the quality of the spa services, for example, that information might not be accurate or relevant anymore. Certain hotels had to close down their spas or make significant changes to them, in order to maintain the social distance and the safety standards. 

This is why it’s important to search and focus on the most recent guest reviews and get the most accurate representation of how your hotel of choice is presenting itself today. Many hotels from around the world enable the use of filters, to allow travelers to target the feedback that interests them and manage their expectations from the very beginning. At the same time, booking platforms that leverage the TrustYou Relevant Now Data are automatically displaying the most recent and relevant review data for their hotel listings. 

Flexible cancellation policy

In many regions, things are looking rather bright right now. Summer travel is on the rise and a high number of people are planning to travel in the following months. However, if the past year taught us anything, it’s just how fast things can change and how unpredictable life can be. This is why strict cancellation policies are not cutting it anymore. As a traveler, you don’t want to pay for a vacation and lose all that money in case something happens or goes wrong along the way; and while this is always a possibility, in 2021, the chance of unpredicted change is higher than it was in the past. Hotels can shut down, plans can change, people can get sick – these are all negative scenarios, but ones that you should consider.

Many hotels and travel agencies have already installed a flexible cancellation policy, in the exact case that something unexpected happens from the time of the booking until the moment you should begin your trip. We highly recommend that you pay close attention to the cancellation policy of any hotel or accommodation of your choice and just to be safe, opt for the one that allows the most room for change.

Tech-reliant, but make it personal

Social distancing has taken a toll on everyone and while it can feel extremely impersonal sometimes, it is also the safest way to navigate this pandemic. Travel makes no exception and when it comes to such a personal industry like hospitality, keeping the distance between the hotel staff and the guests can prove to be quite challenging. Thankfully, tech innovations and conctaless communication solutions are creating a link between people, in a way that is both safe and personal. 

When booking a hotel, look for the ones that enable tech solutions like self-check-in, QR codes, contactless messaging apps. It’s crucial to be able to reach out to the hotel staff at any time in case you encounter any issues or have any concerns and a hotel that prioritizes and encourages your feedback is one that will prioritize your needs as well. Closing the doors to open, constant, and honest communication is always a red flag and especially during these times, you need to opt for a hotel that gives you the proper means of reaching out, in the safest and most effective way possible.