Many friends keep asking us how we find all the great hotels we stayed with on the net. Of course, at the beginning we also spent a lot of time searching for a hotel. But over time, we found – for us – the most efficient way of searching. We are happy to share these experiences with you.
Use Booking.com as your search engine
We now almost exclusively use the booking portal “Booking.com” as a search engine. Why?
- offers a very large selection of hotels (and apartments)
- has mostly good prices
- built an extraordinarily good and independent rating system (only verified views)
- has a variety of filter options
- allows a quick scanning of the hit list for pre-selection
- offers a map function
- allows searches without being registered
Using Booking.com as a “search engine” does not mean that you have to book there as well. It’s really just a matter of finding suitable hotels.
1. Start the search
Go to the Booking.com page (affiliate link*) and fill in the search mask according to your parameters (destination, check-in / check-out date, number of people) and then click on the search button. You will then get a longer list with corresponding hits.
2. Use the filter options to optimize the hit list
On the left side of the website you can further refine your parameters. However, only set the criteria that are really essential for you – but they can vary depending on the booking process. For us, e.g. the following points are important:
- Price range per night (“Your Budget”)
- Only show available properties
- Front Desk Open 24/7
- Free Cancellation
- Airport Shuttle
It is also practical that the number of hotels found is updated every time a filter is set. You can find this number to the right of the search criteria.
The key of finding great hotels is the review score. Set the review score to 9+ (wonderful) and only reduce it to 8+ (very good) if the pre-selection results in a few hits. We generally do not book a hotel with a rating average under 8.5.
3. Use the sort order
In the sort order you will find the position “Top Reviewed” under “Stars and other ratings”. Now the hotel with the highest evaluation result comes first, devaluing further rank order.
4. First scan of the hit list
Scroll through the hit list for obvious values (price, high evaluation result, number of stars) and note them. The fast scanning allows you to get a first impression of the price level and prevents you from getting stuck at the first hotels.
5. Scroll again and take a closer look at your favorites.
Click on the hotels you are interested in. If you have selected a hotel, pay attention to the following points.
Click on the evaluation result. Here you can see which individual criteria make up this result. We pay particular attention to how the assessment result is composed. Very important for us is the criteria „cleanliness“(rating should not be below 8.5). If a fast (and well working) Internet is a must, then again: not below 8.5).
If the criteria is not good, drop the hotel out of your search.
Tip: Booking.com shows you also the number of reviews – the higher the number, the better!
This section shows you all of the hotel rooms offered (and which are available). Read the descriptions carefully, because there you will find a lot of important information such as
- Category (Double Room, Deluxe Room, Studio, Suite, …)
- Type of beds (king bed, queen bed, bunk beds, couches)
- Room size (15 m2 is very small, 20-25 m2 is a good size for a standard room)
- Additional cost (e.g. cleaning fee)
Look closely at the pictures of the hotel room – often your first impression is not misleading!
Pay here attention to the following points:
- the style of the room (modern/ cosy/ …)
- the type and size of the beds
- the bathroom (shower or bathtub)
- the TV (is it an old one?)
- the size of the room
- are the photos professional (quality)?
Have also a closer look to the hotel itself!
- Check-in/ Check-out time
- Parking fees
- Is breakfast included or extra?
If you pay attention to all that, you will surely find a hotel what you are looking for. The process will certainly take a lot longer at the beginning, but you will see that after a little practice, it will be pretty quick.
Filotera Suites in Oia, Santorini, Greece
6. Use “Show on map”
Booking.com also has a great search function using an integrated map from Google. You should use this search functionality above all if the location is very important for you or if you cannot find what you are looking for and have to switch to another area. The location is shown to you by a pin symbol. As additional information you can also see the price by night.
Did you find your favorite hotel? So now here is your next step!
You can also cross-check the evaluation result of Booking.com. We recommend Google Maps for that.
8. Price comparison
Even if the prices on Booking.com mostly have value, you should take your time to find out whether you can get the hotel cheaper elsewhere (with the same parameters!):
9. Alternatives Accommodation we use
- Airbnb (affiliate link*)