London Hotels Articles

April 9, 2010

London Apartments: Helpful Checklist When Searching For Serviced Apartments

I am amazed at some travellers and mildly shocked at how ready they are to reserve a serviced apartment without asking in-depth questions. You would not buy a television without finding out its screen size, colour controls etc. Or purchase a fridge without understanding how energy it would require. Yet some travellers are ready to spend £1000+ without asking questions?! Travellers, please do not be afraid to ask as it is very important for you to make an informed decision. Any legitimate company will be able to answer your question or find out and get back to you. If the company/agent cannot bother to help you during the research stage, then this is a bad sign as they are unlikely to assist you once you have made a booking. Happily, this is not how I work. In response to this, I have compiled a list to help you ask the apartment supplier or agent.

Details about the apartment

1. Is the apartment modern or in the classic style?

2. How many bedrooms? Are they double, queen, king or twin beds?

3. Can an extra person sleep on an extra bed or sofa bed? Charges.

4. Full kitchen or small kitchenette

5. Can I choose a specific apartment or not?

6. What is included in the accommodation rate?

7. Are there lifts in the apartment or only stairs? Particularly important if you or one of your guests is elderly or children

8. Is the apartment in a secure building/area?

9. Are there special rates for long stays of minimum 1 month

10. Are the images shown on your website the same apartment allocated to me?

11. What is the check-in / check-out time, can I arrive earlier or leave later?

Booking procedure

1. What is the cancellation policy?

2. Payment procedures, deposits etc

3. What if I need to check out early? Or need to extend my stay?

4. What I do not like the apartment allocated?

5. Payment methods

6. I do not trust booking online, do you have an alternative method?

7. How will my credit/debit card details be stored? When is it destroyed?

8. Checking in details

9. Do you offer assistance to book transport or advice about the destination?

10. Booking fees or is this a free service?

11. Will I receive an invoice?

This is by no means an exhaustive list but a good starting point. You are the guest, so any supplier/agent worth their salt will be happy to help you with all correct information. Do not be afraid to ask, because after all, it is your money. But most importantly, it is your holiday or business trip and it would be very disappointing if you did not receive what you were expecting. One of my clients told me of her experience when booking a serviced apartment in London. She was advised by the company that she would be allocated a one bedroom apartment which had a separate bedroom, lounge, kitchen, but instead she was allocated a studio apartment (only one room) without any explanation or recompense. Happily, she kicked up a fuss upon arrival, received a refund as she did not receive what she had been promised and paid for.

I find this kind of behaviour from some companies very irresponsible and damaging to the industry. Our industry is about customer service and within any relationship between customer and a company, trust is a vital ingredient. I believe in transparency and helping travellers make an informed decision. It is not about making a quick buck.

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