When you’re searching for a place to stay, there are many hotel options to choose from. Many people make plans months in advance for destinations and luxury, but budget-conscious customers should be careful about their trip planning choices; many red flags can come up when deciding on the perfect place to stay.
As the old saying goes, ‘it’s always better to be safe than sorry.’ So before you book that room, take a look at these 7 characteristics of Tripadvisor red flagged hotels that could lead you into an expensive and potentially dangerous situation:
1. Too-Good-To-Be-True Promotions
When looking online for hotels, pay attention to the TripAdvisor red flagged hotels in your search results. If an ad or promotion seems too good to be true (or just too good), it most likely is. Hotel digital marketing sites like Expedia or Travelocity will often list ads with special rates or promotions listed on top of their search results. These are generally reputable hotel chains with known reputations for delivering on their promotions. But watch out for sketchy ads that direct you to third-party websites, as these may be hotel scams looking to steal your personal information or credit card number.
In tourist destinations across the world, certain things may affect even experienced travelers. In many cases, it’s an industry that seems too good to be true, which is generally a red flag for tourists who have been traveling all over the world. When people think of hotels, the first images that come to mind are those hazy vacation photos featuring a pool with a palm tree and a drink in hand taken from some beachfront resort. Although Trip Advisor hotels do include resorts, they don’t just include them – not by any stretch of the imagination.
One of the most common reasons why a facility may be on the list of TripAdvisor red flagged hotels is when hotel owners or employees attempt to sell their trip at any price – regardless of current conditions. This may not be immediately apparent as many Trip Advisor hotels are legitimate places with great service and amenities. Still, there are Trip Advisor red-flagged hotels that all too often signal bad news. When you see sky-high prices on beachfront property or luxurious resorts, these should trip up anyone who knows anything about buying commercial property for sale or investment with a commercial building company abroad, because this activity is almost always reserved for people with specific local connections.
Another common reason a facility may fall under TripAdvisor red flagged hotels is charging extremely low rates on luxury hotels or resorts, often found in regions where residents cannot afford such luxurious properties. Properties like this will almost always be sold at highly inflated rates to tourists and visitors, but they will still seem like an amazing deal. Even though hundreds of dollars overprice them, people who don’t know any better will fall for the trip advisor red-flagged hotels and other property scams because they look so good based on their prices alone.
2. Hidden Fees
Hidden fees are becoming a standard for travelers who book with top hotels, but they often catch guests by surprise. Hidden fees make it difficult for consumers to shop around and compare rates when booking online. And if you don’t pay attention to what’s being added to, your bill can be higher than advertised.
Here are hidden fees that might get you charged on your next hotel bill:
- Room service/mini-bar charges – Popular restaurants charge more for delivery than you eat at, so this is not surprising. However, if you end up ordering room service, you will likely be charged for it. And suppose it is in the mini-bar in your hotel room. In that case, they are obligated to tell you what brands are available or price their items in advance. It means if you find something with a different brand than what was originally listed on your menu, you could get charged extra without knowing.
- Resort fees – These are increasingly becoming common at hotels all over the world. Things that typically come with resort fees include parking, gym access, and pool access, among other things. Keep an eye out for hidden tax rates, too, since some locations, such as some trip advisor TripAdvisor red flagged hotels, charge more than others do for this fee.
- Communications/ Internet fees – Speaking of hidden taxes, the price that you initially see on hotel chains’ websites is not always accurate. These extra charges for internet or calling (typically added to local calls) will vary depending on state law and where the hotel is located within that state.
- Energy surcharges – If your electric bill goes over a certain limit in your hotel room, expect to get charged an additional fee for this.
- Valet parking fee – You can’t avoid these often steep overnight rates if you plan to park your vehicle in the hotel garage overnight.
3. Hotel transfer fees
If you are traveling with a group and have to take several cabs when arriving at your destination, make sure that this is factored in when comparing prices or booking online since transfers will not wait for latecomers. Make sure you agree upon the pickup time with whoever is picking you up before heading out to your cab, too, since this could result in another fee if they choose to leave beforehand. There are many other hidden charges that TripAdvisor red flagged hotels and several facilities may try and charge travelers, like mini-golf, bowling, water skiing, and more.
4. No Photos Available
It is said that a picture paints a thousand words. A photo can be worth a thousand pieces of information, which in turn could have saved you from making the biggest mistake of your life – that being booking into what would have been one of the most embarrassing hotel experiences ever. If you want to book a room at your destination but can’t see any photos of the hotel, it’s probably best not to book that room. Hotel owners are required to provide photos of their rooms so you can get an idea of what you’re paying for.
Many hotels also list their amenities on their websites, including things like fitness centers, pools and even air purifiers. Like with online ads, most of the TripAdvisor red flagged hotels, and many fake or scam sites will only show photos of other hotels, resorts, or even random buildings instead of the actual hotel where they’re advertising rooms for sale. If there are no available photos after searching online through reputable sources like Expedia, don’t bother booking a reservation until you see what the hotel looks like.
5. Handwritten Signs in the Window
A hotel is, more or less, a business that offers accommodation for guests in exchange for money. It is one of two things to look for to determine if the place is a hotel. First, it’s required by law that all hotels should have visible signs outside their property with the words ‘hotel’ or ‘motel.’ Second, there must be an on-duty receptionist at the front desk to check-in and register all guests.
If you don’t see any signboard near its entrance depicting either word or similar phrases like a lodge, inns, etc., then most probably it’s not a real hotel but just somebody renting out his house as a makeshift lodging facility. The same goes if there isn’t anyone directing traffic when you are in front of the hotel.
Hotels engage commercial window tint services as they have expertise in designing the hotel signage. These signs may list things like ‘Email for promo’ or ’email special deals’ with a contact form underneath. Hotels that want customers should always be willing to stick their deals out in public view where customers can easily see them and take advantage of discounts and specials. If there’s no large banner outside advertising a sale going on, then there’s probably nothing good going on inside that hotel either. There are higher chances that such a facility may be one of the TripAdvisor red flagged hotels.
6. Booking at the Last Minute
Everyone knows that the best time to book a room is in advance. But there are always last-minute surprises when it comes to travel, and if you don’t know what could happen inside of your hotel room, then you’re taking unnecessary risks. We’ve all heard hotel horror stories about mysterious fees or hidden charges and even a hotel roofing leak that can turn an exciting getaway into a nightmare.
If you’re planning a trip and book your hotel room as soon as possible, you’ll have better luck finding a good deal for your upcoming travel plans. Cheap hotels will generally discount their rooms the closer it gets to the time of your stay, so always try booking far in advance if you want to find cheap rooms. If you only have one night left before your stay, don’t expect to find many cheap or discounted rates unless there’s some major event happening nearby that’s driving up demand for these types of rooms. This also means that last-minute bookings are not advised either, because this is when prices are at their highest. If all else fails, grab some friends and go camping instead.
7. Only One Photo Available
Since many sites only show photos of other hotels and resorts, it’s important to look at the photo(s) provided in the listings. If you see only one photo (or none at all), this is likely not a reputable hotel listing and should be avoided or reported as spam by clicking on the flag icon online. Most large hotel chains have many photos available for each type of room they have available, so people can get a feel for what they’re paying for.
If there are no photos, it could mean you’ll be staying somewhere under construction or in a previously condemned structure. Such a facility may expose you to risks such as seawall failing incidences. Some hotels may conceal important details such as previous water damage claims or personal injury claims. Again, if you see handwritten signs near your hotel’s location looking for customers through email contact forms, you should probably move along to somewhere else, lest you need to file personal injury claims.
If you’re trying to find a hotel to stay at and keep coming across those frustrating popups that say ‘pro photo is coming soon,’ then read on. Unfortunately, many TripAdvisor red flagged hotels do not provide photographs of their rooms or their amenities, making it hard for potential guests to research and learn the ins and outs of their facilities.
So many hotels offer few photos of their rooms because they don’t want people to know the actual state of the hotel before booking a room. They don’t want you to see stains on the carpet or cement tile or sheets that have some alien face hugger attached to them. In addition, many hotels do not show photographs because they haven’t been updated in a while, and the rooms themselves look nothing like what is shown online. If you’re looking for pictures of your hotel room, then the lack thereof should be a red flag to watch out for.
We all get anxious when we get that deal that seems just too good to be true. When you get it in writing, and even after the hotel has your credit card number on file, many people will still proceed with extreme trepidation. If you’re browsing online for hotels and come across one that seems too good to be true, then it’s likely nothing but a scam, so stay away from it! Many 3rd party sites will have disclaimers on their homepages telling people not to trust anything they see on the site because most of it is completely fake. If the price of your hotel room is below $20/night or near free, there’s no way this is real, so please don’t book this ‘deal.’ Even if the website looks legitimate with many photos available, these are also often fake listings that will charge your credit for additional fees once you arrive at the hotel. Many times you’ll also be required to stay several nights or during a holiday period, but if your travel plans are just for one night, then this hotel is out of luck.
Please remember that it’s always smart to do your research before booking anything online, so always take some time to compare prices through many different websites and read reviews from previous visitors before deciding where you want to stay: this helps you to avoid booking one of the TripAdvisor red flagged hotels. If you’re still unsure which place is right for you, go around asking people in real life instead! Good luck with your next trip!