Why Booking Hotels Through Websites like Kayak or Expedia Is not Always Smart

book-hotelWhether you are a jetsetting business person who travels constantly or the average American who is only able to take a vacation once a year, the myriad of choices for booking travel can be exhaustive. From online travel websites that promise the lowest possible rate to hotel websites that might try to sweeten the deal with perks, it can be overwhelming. And while millennials might be used to booking through gigantic online travel agencies, that might not always be the easiest way to snag the best deals.

“If you’re price shopping across different sites, remember that most hotels have a “Best Rate Guarantee” for booking direct,” says Gautam Lulla, president of Travel Tripper, in an email. “If you find lower prices elsewhere, generally you can submit a claim so that the hotel will match the price.”

Some hotel chains have even gone so far as to automate this process on their booking engines, so that when travelers search for dates, the site will automatically match the lowest price available.

It might take a little bit more work to forgo booking on an exhaustive site like Priceline or

The Smart Trend in Hotels

free-wifiAt the InterContinental Miami hotel, guests in the lobby can call up the drink menu and flag down a server to order using a touch screen on the coffee tables. The Park Hyatt Tokyo and Park Hyatt Seoul give guests free access to over 2,300 international newspapers on their smartphones or tablets using the hotel’s Wi-Fi network and an app called PressReader.

Hotels around the world are using technology in new ways, with the goal of speeding up or personalizing more services for guests.

David-Michel Davies, president of the Webby Media Group, said he visited Internet companies around the world each year for the Webby Awards, which honor excellence on the Internet. He said he had found that hotels were using technology as a substitute for human hospitality.

Instead of the staff at the front desk offering advice on where to go for dinner, guests may be lent an iPad loaded with maps and suggestions for local restaurants and sightseeing. A hand-held device in the room might control the

Smart Hotels Are About to Make Your Trip More Personalized

38110_smart_hotel_holiday_veniseIn an age where everything is customized and set to just how you like it, smart devices are becoming commonplace. You might be thinking about installing a thermostat in your home that you can control from your phone — or you might already have a home system that connects not only to your thermostat but to your lights, your security system, and a video feed to keep an eye on your kids. Now, two businesses are partnering together to give you that same customized experience, but while you’re on the road and staying in a hotel. If the partnership works, the smart hotels of the (very near) future will automatically turn on lights in your room, set the temperature exactly how you like it, and even detect when you’re out of the room so housekeeping can do their job without disturbing you.

You might not have heard much about CentraLite or Leggett & Platt before, but you’ll likely hear their names more often as both companies provide smart devices to be used in residential and commercial spaces. CentraLite has been around since 1997 and works to create connected

The First Thing to Do When You Stay in a Hotel Room

Microbiologist Philip Tierno, when he has to stay in hotels, travels with an impervious mattress and pillow cover. Lurking in every hotel mattress are skin cells, human hair, bodily secretions, fungi, bacteria, dust, dust mites, lint, insect parts, pollen, and cosmetics.

Tierno encourages everyone to use the impervious covers developed for allergy sufferers. And he also advises that you definitely get rid of the bedspread. The first thing he does is remove the comforter and store it in the closet. CNN reports:

It’s certainly true that bedspreads, or the quilts inside duvet covers, don’t get thrown in with the sheets for a daily wash … Germs … tend to congregate in places touched multiple times by multiple people that may not be cleaned thoroughly, if at all”.

While it is impossible to live in a germ-free environment, using toxic chemicals to achieve this is fraught with dangers and is not at all recommended. However it is best to pay attention to some well documented sources of pathogens that can easily be avoided with simple non-chemical measures.

Travel is one area that you can make some dramatic improvements.

Cleaning a hotel room is not a glamorous or high paying job, and my guess is the hardworking

High End Hotels Help Guests Get a Good Nights Sleep

Jeremy Jones considers himself a seasoned hotel guest. He travels frequently for his job as a chemical engineer and toured the globe with his wife, Angie — all documented on their travel blog.

But it was during a two-night stay at the Conrad Hotel in Indianapolis that he tried something for the first time: a pillow menu.

It offered a range of pillows — different firmnesses, different shapes, all for different sleep habits. Mr. Jones settled on the water pillow, his wife, the support pillow. To their pleasant surprise, they slept well. And again the next night. When they returned home to Pittsburgh, they bought pillows similar to those they had used at the Conrad.

Pillow menus are certainly not new to the high-end hotel business. But they are just one way that hotels are increasingly catering to the quality of their guests’ sleep.

JW Marriott hotels began their Nightly Refresh Program in 2013, to help guests unwind and sleep more soundly when they arrived. The service went beyond the bed, with a mixture of aromatic oils and a selection of flavored chocolates intended to relax the

We Found The ONE Reason Why Your Hotel Bed Is So Perfect

You know the feeling: you wake up after a long night’s sleep in a hotel bed, slip into your fuzzy hotel-issued slippers and hotel-issued robe, step onto the fluffy hotel carpet and think “WHY is this so amazing?!”

The question is certainly intriguing. So we asked a handful of HuffPost editors for their favorite hotel bed experiences. And the more we researched, the more we realized that all blissful hotel experiences have one important detail in common:

All the best hotel beds are white.

You’ve probably never thought about it, but try to imagine an ideal hotel bed that isn’t white, and you’ll see what we mean. And yet we all spend time trying to find colorful quilts and crazy bohemian-print sheets for our bedrooms at home… what’s the deal?

Turns out white is a symbol of luxury, and the bet is that you’ll feel more luxurious — and sleep more luxuriously! — in a white bed.

“Visually, the idea of the white bed is important,” said Erin Hoover, vice president of design for Westin and Sheraton hotels. “Something about an all-white bed connotes luxury and a good night’s sleep.”

When Westin pioneered its now-famous Heavenly Bed in the 1990s, Hoover says, the idea of

How to choose the best hotel room

When it comes to your safety, hotels can be your best source of security while traveling. While hotels are constantly making improvements to improve their safety, there’s nothing worse than discovering your passport has been stolen or your laptop is broken thanks to a disabled door lock and a fast thief.

While you’re searching for your next hotel, keep these safety tips top of mind.

What makes a safe hotel:

Never compromise your safety for a dollar. A great deal on hotel room can certainly cushion you budget, but it’s worthless if the hotel is in a bad neighborhood or isn’t up to code on things like door locks and surveillance cameras. Once you find the right location, narrow down your hotel choices by taking into consideration the following:

  • Is each room equipped with a dead bolt lock and a peephole?
  • Does the hotel room have an electronic guest room lock? Key locks are cute and add a bit of charm, but electronic doors track the comings-and-goings of all who enter.
  • Do the hotel rooms have a telephone enabled with emergency call button or the ability dial outside of the hotel?
  • Do photos of the hotel show well-lit hallways, parking garages and lobby areas? (Side