KENT, Ohio — If you’re booking a last minute trip this summer, its important to double and triple check your accommodations before you book them, or else you could find yourself staying at a not-so-great hotel.
Channon Booth has spent quite a bit of time on the road and in hotels. A few years back, while on tour in a rural part Indiana, she had quite an unpleasant experience.
“After we checked in, pulled the sheets back, it seemed that there was urine on the bed and the sheets,” Booth, of Canton, said.
Hotel management got Booth and her friends to another room, which wasn’t much better.
“The bad part about it was this was an independently-owned hotel, and they did not want to refund our money," Booth said.
Booth never got her money back for that trip, something many people can probably relate to.
The key is to do a thorough vetting process before you find yourself in a similar situation.
Aviad Israeli, associate professor and program coordinator of the Hospitality Management program at Kent State University, says the star rating of the hotel is important. The more stars, the higher the quality.
Don’t forget about the reviews.
“When you book online, always look at the bad reviews, at the negative reviews, try to investigate the negative reviews and try to evaluate if they are just someone venting or there is something consistent in those negative reviews,” Israeli said.
You should also get a good look at the pictures to make sure they’re not just stock images.
“It's a huge red flag. Don't stay in hotels that use stock pictures,” Israeli said.
And if you’ve made it past all of those steps, the vetting doesn’t stop, even when it's time to check in.
“On arrival, it's about cleanliness. And I cannot say this enough times, if the hotel is not clean that's a red flag. It's about the staff. The staff has to look professional. Make sure they smile. Make sure they're polite,” Israeli said.
If all those boxes aren’t checked, Israeli says its time to leave.
Its possible to get your money back if you dispute the charges on your credit card, or have a good relationship with your reservation company, like Trivago or Expedia.
For Booth, she’s not taking any more chances.
“If I ever see any red flags or feel the least bit uncomfortable when I'm at the hotel lobby, I will ask to see the room first, before I book or pay," she said.