London Apartments: Everything You Need To Know About Choosing A Serviced London Apartments

A few weeks ago a secretary telephoned me in absolute desperation. She was desperately searching for accommodation in central London for some VIPs from abroad. She stumbled onto my website, not really understanding what the service was about. I think the words ‘free service’, ‘apartments’ just helped her to figure out that Quality London Apartments had something to do with accommodation. Apologies for my long opening, but it is a prime example of how little travelers in the UK and Europe know about the serviced apartment industry. After explaining the concept of serviced apartments and helping her find an apartment, I realized that I needed to share this knowledge further afield. Thus, this article is my contribution to open up this elusive industry and offer tips to travelers.

What is a serviced apartment?

A serviced apartment is a flat in a block, which has a separate bedroom, sitting room/lounge, fully equipped kitchen, your own private keys to own door. Serviced apartments can be in the form of a studio flat (all in one room with a kitchenette), one, two or three bedrooms.

All apartments enjoy maid service, utilities and a management team to help….just like a hotel. Guests only pay for a nightly rate and can live in a flat with everything they would have in their own home.

Pros: Serviced London Apartment vs Hotels

 More value for money and cheaper. In a hotel, no matter which star rating, you pay per night for one room which will have a TV, bathroom, sofa and a bed. This is similar to a studio apartment! In an apartment there is a separate bedroom, kitchen, sitting room, bathroom and dining table (exception is studio)

 Pay per apartment and not per person. An example would be paying £250 per night for a two bedroom apartment, which could accommodate up to 4 people, that works out at £62.50 per person.

 Freedom and privacy. An apartment is like being in your own home and there is plenty of space. You have your own keys to your own door.

 Booking is easy, just like hotels. The majority of apartments require a credit card to guarantee, pre-payment before you arrive and that’s it. No deposits, no tenants’ contracts.

Cons: Serviced London Apartment vs Hotels

 Apartments lacks the buzz and services of a hotel such as restaurants and Room Service. Albeit some apartments are owned by hotels and offer you the use of their restaurants and other services.

 No 24-hour service around the clock. The apartments are ran by a small team who work Monday to Friday 9:00am – 6:00pm, so you are on your own during the weekend. There are emergency numbers to call should you suffer an electric cut, but no 24-hours hotel Duty Manager to run to your room.

 No pool, massages, saunas like hotels

What to look out for when booking a serviced London apartment?

1. Quality of the apartment – make sure you find out if they are clean, well furnished and well maintained. How? Check the photos, and ask if you can book an appointment to view the apartment. This is very important if you are staying over a long period of time.

2. Do they have a friendly and efficient management team? If you need the comfort of a welcoming face to greet you on arrival, then ask for an apartment with a reception. Some apartments provide key boxes, so you can arrive any time, but there is no-one to meet you. A friendly and small team will be able to give you a very personal touch.

3. Opening time of the apartments office – doesn’t sound important? Well it is because the majority of apartments’ operations team open Monday to Friday 9:00am to 6:00pm. If you arrive at your apartment during office open hours, then fine, but any other time and weekends will mean that you will need to pick up the keys from a different location.

4. Key delivery by car at the airport? – If you are flying from abroad to London, and do not fancy traipsing throughout London at night to pick up keys, the majority of apartments will hire a taxi to deliver your keys to the airport upon your arrival. Convenient for a small charge.

5. Payment procedure and cancellation policy – every apartment vary in their guest terms and conditions. All will accept a credit card as a guarantee of reservation, some will ask for 100% pre-payment at least 7 days prior to arrival and cancellation can range from 12:00pm on the day of arrival to 28 days. So, before you confirm the reservation, be very clear about the terms and conditions. Ask your apartment agents to explain the procedure to you and read the terms and conditions on your confirmation emails. It will save you a great deal of trouble and headache later.

6. Apartments are always allocated on arrival. This policy is the same as any hotel, so unless you are a regular guest to a specific apartment, apartments are on allocations. In the same breath, some apartments only have a small number of flats, so if you are reserving the only 3 bedrooms penthouse in their collection, then you are guaranteed that specific apartment.

7. Rates become more competitive the longer you stay. In this, we mean you have more bargaining power if you are staying for one month or longer. This is when your apartment agent can really help you by negotiating with a variety of apartments to get you the best deal.

8. Using an apartment agent will also save you time searching, but most importantly they will work with your budget and negotiate a great deal for you. Of course, you also need to be realistic about what you can book, don’t expect to spend £80 per night for a luxury apartment. For example, one of our clients had £300 budget per night for a two bedroom apartment and he wanted something luxury. For those readers who know London well, also understands that this budget is actually very small. Despite that, we booked him and 3 friends into the Victoria Park Plaza luxury apartment (£150 per night less than the usual price) for £300 per night with free breakfast, gym and access to the executive lounge. Any apartment agent worth their salt can and will move mountains to help you.

What if I don’t like the apartment when I get there?

If you really feel that you have been hard done by, tell the apartment management team and ask to be moved to another apartment. All of the apartments that we work with are very customer focussed and try to help guests enjoy their stay. If this does not work, talk to your apartment agent, if that is how you booked. Best advice though, is to ask all the right questions before you book an apartment.

Your appetite for apartments is now whetted – how do you find London apartments?

1. As already explained, you can choose a free search and book service of an apartment agent or go direct to a specific apartment that you know. Both methods are absolutely fine, dependent of your knowledge of London apartments. Using an agent will mean that they will search far across their portfolio and present you with a variety of choices…all within 10-15 minutes. Agents are impartial and will only (good agents anyway) recommend the quality apartments for your needs.

2. You can use search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN to find apartments. Type in keywords like ‘London serviced apartments’ or ‘quality London apartments’ and so on.

3. Stating the obvious but, ask for a recommendation from friends and acquaintances.

4. Check on Tripadvisor and other customer review websites.

Summary

If you have read this far, then thank you for your time. I have tried to make this article clear and as helpful as possible, but I welcome your comments and any further information that you feel is very important.

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Apartment Tips — Find a Great Apartment in Austin in One Week

Apartment tips — find a Great Apartment in Austin in One week

Search all Austin apartments and get a $107 – $1107 cash rebate.

Apartment shopping in Houston is easy when you organize the process. This article will help you find a great Austin apartment at a great price. It will also make the Houston apartment shopping experience less stressful.

Day One

Austin apartment shopping requires many decisions and some information on you. You’ll quickly need to decide what unit type, unit size, unit amenities, property amenities and which area of town are right for you. You’ll need information regarding your rental history and income when you complete the apartment application. Organize this information at the beginning. It will make completing the apartment application less stressful and will impress the staff at the apartment.

Day Two

Apartment shopping is a process of narrowing the options. In day one, you selected the type of apartment and the area of town. Use a high-quality online apartment search service to further narrow the apartment options. Be sure to use an apartment search service which has all apartments available in Houston. Some of the Austin online apartment search services only have information for 5 to 20% of the Houston apartments available for lease. It simply is not realistic to find the apartment which best fits your requirements when only considering 5 to 20% of the available apartments.

The Austin online apartment search service should also allow you to narrow your apartment search by geographic area, rental rates, unit type, unit size, unit amenities and property amenities. Attempt to narrow your search to five or 10 apartment projects by the end of day two.

Summarize these in a one-page table. Put the name of the apartment property across the top of the page and the features important to you along the left column. This will provide a simple but meaningful reference of the apartments are considering.

Day Three

Call the apartments which best fit requirements. Gather information from the on-site staff by phone. Focus on getting the information you need, rather then answering the questions they want to ask. Be polite but the firm. Have a list of questions for the features which are important to you. You’ll want to include items such as application fee, deposit, first month’s rent, monthly rent, any move in specials, unit amenities, property amenities and any other apartment features which are important to you.

In addition to listening to what is said by the apartment staff, listen to how they say it. Are they knowledgeable, polite and attentive? Does the apartment staff give the impression of a professionally run apartment complex?

Narrow your list to two or three Austin apartment complexes on day three.

Day Four

Meet the on-site apartment staff and tour the apartments on day four. Before going to the apartment office, drive around the perimeter of the property. If possible, drive through the property. Is the property clean and well maintained? Does it meet your minimum standards? If not, drive to the next apartment complex.

Visit the apartment office. Is the apartment office clean and well organized? Is the apartment leasing staff friendly and appropriately dressed? In addition to the model apartment, ask to see your apartment unit. (It might not be as nice as the model J) Also ask the leasing staff to give you an extensive walking tour of the apartment courtyards. Is the property well-maintained? Is it clean? Ask about their maintenance policy. Are there any work orders which have been outstanding more than one week? Does the property have a regular courtesy patrol? If there are limited access gates, are they typically working?

Finally, ask about the financial details for the apartment complex. These include the application fee, deposit, first months rent, and the monthly rent. Make sure you understand the offer or special they are proposing. Ask if there is a look and the lease special if you sign a lease tomorrow.

Day Five

Decide which apartment is best for you. Finish negotiating the lease terms. If two or three apartments are acceptable, call each and ask for their best offer if you lease today. Select an apartment property and negotiate the lease. The lease is a legal agreement. You should read it. Don’t be bashful about asking questions for portions you do not understand. The lease was written by an attorney for the benefit of the apartment complex. If items in the lease do not seem reasonable, ask if they can be changed. In many cases, portions of the lease are negotiable.

Congratulations, you have used an organized process to select an apartment which fits which best fits your criteria. You have also been a careful shopper and have probably gotten a great deal.

Apartment Search

When you are apartment hunting, prepare a rental search plan. Be sure to know in advance what you want in an apartment and what you can live without. Decide in advance what areas of the city you could consider living in and make a list of apartment buildings within that perimeter.

Be sure to consider how far and how convenient it will be for you to travel to your job or your school or your family and friends. Also, how far is the apartment from stores, banks, hospitals, Church (if you attend) etc. If you have a car, make sure that there is adequate and convenient parking space 24/7. If you don’t drive make sure that there is close by public transportation.

Narrow your apartment locating to the size of rental unit you need. Studio apartment or one bedroom apartment or 2 BR apartment or more. Are you considering a furnished apartment or do you possible need a short term rental. If you are renting an apartment with a cat, dog, or other pet, you need to find out which apartments allow renting with pets and which do not. And, if they do allow pets, is there an additional security deposit required and if so, how much it is. Do you need an apartment complex with an exercise room or tennis courts or a pool or a recreation room, etc. or do you simply need and desire a nice clean and quiet pad.

Be realistic about what you can afford. Most apartment renting guides suggest that your rent should not be more than 25% to 30% of your income. This can vary depending on the income bracket, but be sure to be “real world” when budgeting additional apartment expenses such as heating and air conditioning and other utilities. If you fall short of affording the apartment of your choice, you might consider sharing an apartment with a roommate or roommates. Keep in mind that living with roommates can help you afford an upscale apartment or even, in some cases, luxury apartments, but it also has extreme restrictions to your privacy.

If you are familiar with the area and its neighborhoods, that gives you a distinct advantage for your apartment search. If, however, you are relocating to a new city or are not particularly knowledgeable about the city, you may want to contact an Apartment Locator or an Apartment Finder.

Once you narrow your search for apartments down to apts which suit your needs and desires you must be well organized & well prepared for your visits to the apartment complexes. When inspecting the rental premises be on the alert for unsafe conditions, excessive noise from traffic or playgrounds or neighbors. Visit the apartment building at night as well as the daytime hours. This will give you a more comprehensive understanding of the total space you will be residing in.

When you find the apartment complex that meets your renting needs and desires, you must be ready to put your “best foot forward” when you meet the apartment’s rental agent. This person may be the apartment building manager or a renting agent for the apts. You should prepare for this apartment renting interview in a professional and intelligent manner. Be advised that you are going to be asked to provide proof that you are a reliable prospective tenant. You are most likely going to need references from previous landlords. You may also be required by the apartments to show that you are gainfully employed and can afford the rent. Many landlords may require a credit report. If you are a first time renter and/or you have limited credit history you may be asked for references from family, friends, employer, professionals, etc. Likewise if you are renting with bad credit you will certainly want to come to the interview with a strong selection of references.

You are not necessarily restricted from apartment renting with less than perfect credit, but you may be required to put up an additional security deposit and possibly have a credit worthy person co-sign the apartment lease with you. Don’t unprepared for by requests for any of these things. Be sure to fill out a 100% truthful apartment rental application and come to the interview with references, proof of employment, credit information and any other renting resources at the ready. If you do have a credit history or renting history that might be detrimental, going through an apartment locator or apartment finder may be the best solution. They will present your history to the landlord for you, (make sure they are 100% truthful about it) and they can also be quite helpful and save you a lot of time because they most likely will know which landlords and apartments are more lenient in these circumstances. They can also advise you as to exactly what kinds of references and documents you might need to prove that you can be a responsible tenant.

You Have Located Your “Dream Apartment”

Once you have located your “dream apartment”, or as close to your perfect apartment as possible, now it is necessary to pay extremely close attention to the particulars of the rental agreement. An Apartment Lease is a contract between you and the landlord. Once agreed upon and signed by the tenant and the landlord, the rental lease creates obligations and restrictions for both parties. The most obvious covenants of the apartment lease are the length of the rental, (Six month lease, one year lease, two year lease, etc.) The amount of the security deposit, when the rent is due, who is responsible for what utilities. Also in that apartment lease, however, are stipulations, (sometimes in small print) that can cover a great variety of landlord and tenant obligations and restrictions.

They can include, but are not limited to, the following:

* Maintenance of the apartment

* Care of the premises

* Cleanliness

* Insurance

* Governmental regulations

* Eminent Domain

* Nuisance and noise clauses

* Stipulations as to the circumstances whereby the landlord can enter the premises

* Use of Common Areas

* Keys and locks

* Loss or damage

* Parking

* Pets

* Plumbing

* What the landlord may do if the rent is in arrears

* What the tenant can do to bring the rent current before any kind of action might be started

* Non performance or breach of the contract by the renter

* Renter’s penalties in the event of early termination

* Circumstances which might cause the tenant or the landlord to break the lease prior to the end of the term

* Heat and other utilities

* Removal of goods

* Surrender or Non-Surrender of the premises

* Waivers of various obligations

* Prohibited reprisals

* Garbage disposal

* Recyclables

* And the list goes on and on and on.

Prospective tenants should read an Apartment lease thoroughly. Prospective apartment renters should understand everything that is contained in that lease and make an informed decision to be 100% accepting of all the provisions for both the tenant and the landlord, that you are positive that you can live up to your end of the bargain and that you are comfortable with the provisions on the landlord’s end.

If you do not understand every single clause of that apartment lease then do not sign it until you do understand it. If necessary and if possible, request assistance in interpreting the lease from a trusted source such as a knowledgeable friend or family member or employer or professional, or anyone else who can understand it and explain it to you. If necessary get legal advice. It can cost additional funds if you do not qualify for free legal assistance, but that additional cost might save you a ton of money and save you a ton of heartache and aggravation down the road.

If you do not agree with any of the provisions of that apartment lease and/or you feel that you can’t live up to the tenant’s obligations, or if you are not in agreement with any of the landlord’s rights under the agreement, then do not sign the lease until/or unless it can be changed to your satisfaction. If the apartment rental agreement cannot be amended to meet your needs and desires and comfort level then do not sign the lease and do not rent that apartment. The Apartment Rental agreement that you sign as a prospective tenant will not change once you become the actual tenant of that apartment.

Good luck in your apartment search and good luck in your new apartment.

Savor every bit of your outing and get pampered with Manly accommodation

Your Sydney escapade will take you to Manly, which has grown to be an ultimate beach spot. Manly ensures that its guests find everything to have a wonderful stay out here. This trendy beach destination endows its travelers a wide range of luxury beach accommodation amid some exciting and adventurous seaside activities.

Manly accommodation comes down to travelers in varied range and entails budget accommodation and beachfront accommodation in reasonable pricing. Manly accommodation wraps all the activities and amenities like accommodation in Manly beach, adventure sports, leisure strolls, tours, wine and dining, conferencing, festivals and events and what not

Travelers from across the globe throng to avail the exciting array of Manly accommodation that has turned the place into a hot spot. Accommodation in Manly beach gets further charming with stretched and miles long beaches and fair weather round the year. They have the best of beachfront hotel accommodations and services, so planning got to be chalked-out well before heading, to get the maximum out of here.

Manly beach accommodation and luxury holiday accommodation here simply cannot be expected to be secured by the last minutes toiling, as accommodation in manly beach gets enormous crowd. But then, a proper planning can fetch you the craved budget accommodation with loads of apartments at discount rates. Besides the budget accommodation, the Manly beach accommodation comprise of luxurious hotels, motels, amazing villas and resorts to make your stay a lifelong memorable experience.

Manly accommodation superbly meets the specific domestic and global tastes and lets its tourists enjoy the way they like things better. The beachfront accommodation catches the fancy of those who love space, luxury and peace. Beach villas are luxury holiday accommodation that delight travelers to no end.

Manly accommodation is fairly easy to be booked and getting its services goes the same way. Direct calling and internet booking get maximumly used for enjoying the Manly beach accommodation.  Exclusive five hotels, easy on the pocket guesthouses, top-notch amenities and supreme prices are some of the traits you get with your Manly accommodation.

Besides the traveling, Manly offers lots of exciting prospects by presenting quite a few honeymoon resorts. Thus, it’s clear that every taste gets catered in a unique way through Manly accommodation and coming here to relish might well be a wonderful idea for anyone.

So, lets get ready to lay your hands on Manly accommodation to bring home a memory that will delight you forever.

Worldwide Hotels Guide

Worldwide hotels offers

Making a distinction regarding big geographical areas, the current situation of hotel offers and receptive structures it can be schematically distributed as follows.

In countries with a tourism largely promoted by big tour-operator, like the Mediterranean coast and the islands of Spain, the largest Greek islands, the Tunisia and Morocco costs, the countries of the Center and South America, they have been developed, frequently in a disordered fashion, hotel offers and tourist centers characterized by the presence of large hotels, located in very attractive areas, endowed with numerous services, destined to be shown as beautiful as they appear in the catalogues of tour-operators in charge of filling them, but frequently poorly finished, with ordinary furniture and inadequate maintenance. There are hotel offers at particularly advantageous prices on behalf of big travel promoters which propose lodging places for trips to lower price; prices applied only to the occasional client, are on the other hand far greater

These same geographical areas have seen the surfacing of several hotels belonging to big chains, with hotel offers and diversified clientele (not just of tourists sent by tour operators) and with controlled standards of more comfort.

The prevalence of large receptive complex regarding those of small dimensions is the most typical characteristic in these geographical areas, marked, by the hotel offers, for the logic of big travel promoters.

They are few the pensions and hostels; the small receptive exercises are almost always administered as small residences or, they are simply arranged by houses in which rooms or apartments are rented.

Diversified hotel offers

In more industrialized countries which are those where the diffusion of tourism is older and consolidated, the receptive structure is very varied as well as the hotel offers. There’s a consistent sector of receptivity called complementary called or extra-hotel next to the hotel structures, constituted by residences, camping sites, tourist villages, inns, holidays houses, private lodgings.

Everywhere the appropriate equipment, comfort, cleaning in offers hotel reaches acceptable levels. Particularly, in Germany, Holland, Scandinavia, mainly if the urban areas are avoided, the lodgings, of any sort are pleasant and welcoming.

Contrary to the countries included in the area marked with number 1), the richest European countries have hotel offers traditionally based on the small individual initiative.

Today no receptive structure can live waiting for the client, customer or occasional. The client is looked for, cheered up with the hotel offers, the hotel reservation should be simplified, standards of service should be guaranteed admitting growing costs: most people request rooms with bathroom, telephone and television, with the whole comfort that doesn’t make them miss their own houses.

Thus have been developed the associations among hotel owners, for the qualification of services, the reservation in common, for the distribution of costs, the administration of hotel offers.

Hotel chains have spread guaranteeing in all countries similar services that allow the quick reservation, through free telephone calls, the twenty-four hours.

Born in the United States, country where the most famous hotel chains are found, today widely diffused in Europe as well, like the Hilton, the Marriot, the Ramada, the Holiday Inn, in a beginning chains brought together only the hotels of higher category, the most luxurious, and also most expensive from the viewpoint of hotel offers.

Nowadays is no longer this way; next to the most important chains, endowed with expensive hotels, like the Hilton, the Sheraton, and the Holiday Inn, Americans like the CIGA and the Italian Jolly Hotel, like the French Sofitel, the Swiss Hotelplan, the British Forte, there are chains with more modest category hotels and more affordable prices, hence diversifying the hotel offers.

Hotels offers and facilities>

France and Italy, countries of the oldest tourist tradition, present a fractional receptive structure, aimed at receiving individual tourism.

Like Giorgio Castoldi writes in the “Manual of tourist technique”, Hoepli, in Italy, on one hand is favored by the continuous appearance, in big cities, of offers of big hotels, of higher category, provided with the most modern services (congress rooms with its complementary equipment, fax, internal television circuits, etc.) easily reservables from any place in the worldhosting mainly people who travel for business matters; and on the other hand when maintaining the offer of small hotels, most of the time with family administration, of lower category, those who prefer not to grow for not modifying their administration, based on the work of people motivated by the good operation of the company and willing to sacrifices that could not be requested to clerks in regular hotels. Their work is often not quantified: the entire family collaborates, from children to old men, frequently in partial way, or in very busy moments, without the need of some retribution. Therefore these hotels are able to apply affordable rates for the average tourist, for the family in vacations. They are usually able to obtain enough earnings for the entire family with hotels offers for only four or five months a year. Once the season is finished old men rest, children return to their school, the rest is in charge of maintenance, repairing, and the hotels offers to clients for the following season.

These small formats hotels, with generally seasonal operation, represent most hotels in Italy and they are the backbone of a receptive structure that doesn’t adapt to the demands of big tour operators that need hotels offers of large facilities, internally reservables. For this reason Italy is not goal of lodging for big tour operators in Northern Europe, contrary to countries like Greece, and Spain. The negative aspect of this approach, for Italy, lies on the fact that, by doing so, it´s given up to a wide range of potential clients who would assure the constant floow of tourists for differentiated hotels offers, besides the traditional periods of high season. The positive aspect rests on the fact that individual clients represent greater profits to the hotels, while the tour operator client represents sure arrivals for many months in the year, satisfying the offers, but paying little and with delay. It´s not just that, big tour operators seek offers of far more hotels that usually alter the landscape and atmosphere, transforming the coasts, like it has happened in a large part of Spain, Greece, and Tunisia, in urban centers dominated by the imposing profiles of big hotels.

Changes in the hotels offers in Italy

Substantial changes in hotels offers are being witnessed in Italy. Small pensions have decreased in number because the client-type of these hotels, fundamentally families in vacations, always uses the self-catering type structures (trailer houses, rooms for rent, etc.).

Besides the growing in the offers of higher category hotels that satisfy a tourism different from the recreational one, the offers of three-star hotels that have, in Italy, an average of 39 rooms. Divorcing from the family administration, but keeping their opening for seasons. These hotels are fundamentally located in regions goal of recreational tourism: the region that more hotel offers present is the Trentino Alto Adige, the Emilia Romagna, and the Tuscan.

Why? Probably because these hotels represent the Italian answer to the demand of tour operators. These hotels are in conditions of lodging groups, allows work in longer seasons in relation to small hotels therefore coping with higher costs than what their administration implies.

Also with the demand of tour operators, these hotels are able to enlarge the traditional seasons of recreational tourism thanks to the hotels offers for congresses, manifestations, and agreements with extralaboral associations or entities of public attendance that fill facilities during low season.

In a nutshell, the situation of hotels offers in Italy can be schematized as follows:

Higher category hotels, of large facilities, mainly dedicated to business tourism, increase in number thanks to the growth of this sort of demand they satisfy with their hotels offers;

Low category hotels, of small facilities, temporaries, of family administration, are still in some regions the center of hotel offers; they have the family in vacations as client-type; which decreases in number in relation to the modification of the families´demand, with strong tendency towards self-catering;

Mediumcategory hotels grow to satisfy mainly the demand of group tourism of tour operators, of congresses organizers, of assistance entities; they are often exercises of inferior category which, growing, transform their administration, they make it more professional and less family-like, to satisfy this new demand with their hotels offers.

Classification and hotels reservation

Regarding Italy, law differentiates the hotel services in:

– hotels: receptive services open to the public, with unitary administration providing lodging, possibly food and other accessory services, thanks to the reservation of rooms in hotels;

– motel: hotels particularly equipped for the stop and services of vehicles or crafts assuring them repair services and fuel supply;

– villages hotel: hotels that, in a single area, give centralized services to users of residence units located in more establishments.

This distinction, besides substituting the traditional structure among hotels, pensions, and inns, cancels the distribution in the traditional categories (from first to fourth), and hold the same rules regarding reservation of rooms in hotels.

The law stipulates that hotels be marked, in descending order, from 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 star. The enclosed denomination “luxury” is also stipulated, for five-stars hotels classified according to typical standards of international class.

Local authorities must fix the criteria for the classification of the receptive structures keeping in mind the dimensions, the structural requirements, the services offered and the qualification of specialists, the criteria and modalities in the reservation of rooms. The law limited itself to set down the minimum requirements that should have the receptive services to be classified as hotels. They are:

– receptive capacity not lower than seven rooms;

– presence of at least a hygienic service for every ten beds;

– a bathroom with hot and cold current water for each room;

– a room for common use;

– technological facilities and an appropriate amount of qualified specialists for the running of the installation.

To determine the categories of hotels, that is, to assign the adequate number of stars, it’s used a punctuation expressing the quality of the best offerings of the facilities, the services the hotels are able to guarantee, the location, etc. Also in this case, as explained before for travel agencies, local laws are quite uniform and use very similar features, as well as for the reservation of rooms. They dispose, for one-star hotels to have characteristic for which at least thirty points must have been assigned, for two-stars at least eighty points, until the 340 points of five-stars luxury hotels.

The private bathroom in all the rooms vouches 30 points, if 90% of the rooms is endowed with bathroom 25 points must be assigned, if the rooms with bathroom are the 70% the points must be 20, etc.

The night porter vouches 10 points, as well as the 24-hours room services; direct line telephone in each room gives 8 points, the same thing for the telex; color television in each room accounts 5 points, black and white television 4; for the covered pool 10 points, the uncovered one 5; and so forth.

The classification of hotels is made on the request of the hotel itself, which should indicate, in its application, the punctuation reached, result of the sum of parameters they offer.

The entity to which the request is made varies from Region to Region. In certain cases it is the Province, in others the Region itself. The assignment of the category is done after a confirmation made by the competent organization.

The request is renewed every five years.

Therefore it could be considered that an objective classification as indicated always allows equal evaluations and that hotel classifications are assigned in uniformly. In reality it doesn’t work that way: hotels with the same number of stars present, frequently, different qualitative standards.

The reasons are many. The hotel classification must be renovated every five years, it has been said. Many people considered this a very long period of time, during which the initially available equipment can decrease. If televisions sets in the rooms break and are not repaired, if the minibars are moved, if elevators stop, if the garage closes, if the reservation of rooms is inaccurate and causes discontentment, these facts can be increased over the following years.

In many Regions the controls that must be done, either when the category should be assigned or when must be verified that the conditions have not been changed, are not sufficiently rigorous.

And the quality of hotel service consists of so many elements that cannot be measured precisely: a hotel can have televisions, telephones, and minibar in the room, can have elevators, pools, garage, and restaurant that make it classify for a superior category, but if its cleaning is to be questioned, if the reservation of rooms works poorly, if bathrooms faucets leak, if windows don’t close, if the rooms walls are dirty, if beds crack, if personnel is not competent, to the high punctuation the hotel gets in reality deserves a modest service.

It could be said that this point must be given a market control: the unsatisfied client doesn’t return to the hotels where they have been treated unsatisfactorily. The word gets around, few new clients will request a room reservation. However, the particular role of the hotel, for which new clients continually go through who often make the reservation of rooms in hotels through CRS, without knowing the hotel where they will be destined, without making their election and reservation under somebody’s advised who has previously been in the hotel, all this leads to a reduced control.

The possible solutions follow three approaches:

a strict and continuous public control (as it’s done in Austria and Switzerland);

a control on behalf of consumers’ associations (particularly diffused in countries like Germany, and Great Britain);

an associative control: incorporate hotels to consortia, associations, groups, chains receive the control from the associations to which they belong, so the client who makes the reservation of rooms in hotels belonging to a certain group, knows that the hotel has the qualitative standard guaranteed by the group.

The latter control is, so far, what in Italy seems to be more effective.

The stars classification applied in Italy is, in the base, similar to the one applied in most European countries. Therefore, the tourist who travels through Europe should not have problems in determining the quality of the hotel service.

More difficult could be the election when he travels outside Europe: there are many countries where hotel classifications don’t exist.

Prices and hotel reservations

Hotels establish freely the prices of their services and they should you at the moment of the client’s reservations, either for knowledge to the Regions that entrust the control to the same organizations appointed to confer the categories.

The price lists of hotels are renovated at least once a year, and they can foresee different prices according to the seasons (high, low, and middle) and according to the hotel reservations. Diverse rates are generally indicated by:

– single room with and without bathroom,

– double rooms with and without bathroom,

– complete pension in room with and without bathroom,

– half pension in room with and without bathroom,

– supplements for enclosed beds,

– prices of foods.

All these prices can be assorted between a minimum and a maximum. This is justified with the position and structure of the different rooms: the widest, more comfortable rooms, with view, the quieter etc., are more expensive than the smaller, darker, and noisier of the hotels. Therefore prices varied from a minimum to a maximum for the single rooms without bathroom, for the single ones with bathroom, for the double with and without bathroom and, consequently, for the treatment of half pension and complete pension. Besides the price also depends on who makes the reservations in the hotels if it’s the client, the agency or the tour operator.

The prices of the rooms, with included IVA, must be shown in all rooms. The prices of the other hotel services should be exposed in rooms commonly used. Of course, hotel clients cannot be asked amounts higher than the ones requested in the lists, or agreed during the reservations.

The prices of Italian hotels are the target of criticism for many parts.

Statistically they are among the highest in the world, because hotel owners have a tendency to declare extremely high maximum prices. In fact, the most diverse rates are paid, according to the season, the client, the development of the hotel market, the type of reservation. The result is that few the clients pay the published rates. And the minimum rate is sometimes a tenth of the maximum price.

Except for particular cases, the license of hotel exercise foresees the obligation of opening of local throughout the year, excluding a period of vacations that should be agreed with the municipal authorities and stated to Public Security authorities.

Only in towns that are temporary tourist destinations can be given licenses that foresee the opening for certain periods in the year. Opening schedules during the day are set by the Public Security authority, in accordance with the Mayor.

The exercise license can be suspended to a hotel that has closes for more than eight days without giving word to the Public Security authority.

>Hotel contract and hotel reservation

The hotel contract following the hotel reservation, is the one specified between the hotel owner and the client. The obligations the hotel assumes with this contract are:

– the lodging supply and food to the client and the benefit of all services foreseen by the structure of the hotel (bar, television, telephone, alarm clock, laundry etc.),

– the responsibility towards people:

– a doctor should be called if they get sick

– should verify they don’t have infectious illnesses

– should make the obligatory authentication in the event of death

– it’s responsible with the parents and midwife for the accusations of birth

– should reimburse those who suffer damages for their responsibility (for example anyone who falls on the stairways that haven’t had an appropriate maintenance);

– the responsibility with things on behalf of the clients, according to what’s foreseen by the articles of the civil code.

The client’s obligations (booked)

– the payment of the preset price or foreseen in the lists and arranged at the moment of the hotel reservation;

– the respect of the times of arrival and departure foreseen by the contract and of the reservation of the hotel; with this purpose it’s stressed that, except other agreements, the room that has been booked, is occupied between 18.00 in the day of arrival and vacant before 14.00 in the day of departure;

– the care of the local in which the client is lodged, keep their integrity;

– the prohibition of developing in the hotel room any activity, particularly those dangerous or annoying, like ironing, cooking in the hotel, to make noise, etc..

The hotel contract is not a contract-type, in other words it’s not expressly regulated by the civil code. This fact sometimes leaves space to differentiated interpretations, especially those that have to do with the reservation of the hotel.

Among the most common unfulfilments on behalf of clients are the following:

– the client’s non arrival who had already made the reservation of the hotel. The hotel owner protects himself making advance payment as guarantee, if the client regularly uses the services, it also works as an advance payment of the final bill, if the client doesn’t use the reserved services, it’s then retained as compensation by the hotel;

– the client’s delayed arrival or premature departure which forces the hotel owner to lose the possibility to dedicate the rooms to other clients that had been reserved;

– the not payment of the bill on behalf of the client. In this case the hotel owner is entitled to have the client’s baggage levy for an official, as a guarantee of his credit.

The hotel owner’s most common unfulfilment is given when the client who has made the reservation of the hotel, doesn’t find it free as agreed. In this case the client who has given a guarantee is entitled to a compensation that comes up to double this guarantee.

Hotel booking and types of hotel contracts

To illustrate this topic we refer, as an example, to an “International Hotel Convention regarding contracts among hotel owners and travel agents”, convention carried out between the A.I.H. and the F.U.A.A.V. some years ago.

a) Each hotel contract should be preceded of applications of hotel booking on behalf of the travel agent and directed to the hotel owner.

b) Each unwritten hotel reservations application will be confirmed by means of a written document (letter, telegram, telex, electronic, etc.).

c) Each application hotel booking should specify the benefits offered. The cost of these may be mentioned in the same document. In this case the payment will be guaranteed only by the travel agent until he gets knowledge of the amount mentioned.

Acceptance of hotel reservations applications on behalf of the hotel owner

a) The hotel contract won’t be definitive until the acceptance of the hotel booking on behalf of the hotel owner, made according to dispositions of art. 11 a).

b) Such an acceptance of the hotel reservations will consist on a written document (letter, telegram, telex, electronic, etc.) specifically referring to the application and mentioning the price of the ordered services.

c) This confirmation of the hotel booking should take place immediately or, at least, three days after receiving the application on behalf of the hotel owner.

d) Where the travel agent demands a telegraphic reply, he should use the form of “paid reply”.

Advance payments of hotel reservations

a) The hotel owner will be able to subordinate the acceptance of the order of hotel booking, to the imposition of an advance amount (guarantee or cause deposit).

This advance amount will always have the character of guarantee deposit, except for the case in which the hotel owner has specified that it’s a guarantee. If the hotel owner has requested an advance payment, the conclusion of the hotel contract won’t be definitive until the imposition of the amount is not made or demonstrated the evidence of the payment.

b) The hotel owner will make acknowledgement of receipt of the advance payment of the hotel booking no later than 24 hours after receiving it.

c) the amount o be paid of the advance payment of hotel reservations is usually the price of the ordered services (room, foods, etc.) for a one-night lodging in low season and three nights in high season.

Documents of the hotel booking

1) Principle of voucher acceptance: The hotel owner is entitled to either request the prepayment or a partial advance payment. If he refuses to such power, he agrees to accept the voucher. The travel agent recognizes the voucher as a payment guarantee that must be paid according to conventional norms and terms.

2) The simple voucher. The benefits that should appear in detail, especially the arrival and departure dates, they can comprise only the normal services (room and foods).

3) Voucher “full credit”. The emission of this voucher can convey an extension of the normal hotel services, should be subordinated to a specific agreement between the hotel owner and the travel agent.

Payment due to the hotel owner

The prices fixed by the hotel owner to the travel agent for the services making object of the hotel contract, will not be, in any case, higher to those of the hotel rate applied to direct clients, when the invoice is paid by the agent or liquidated directly by the traveler. When the hotel owner has agreed the special prices in the phases of the hotel reservations, he won’t be able to demand greater retribution than the agreed rate.

The hotel owner agrees to respect the prices suited in the contract. In the event of any modification of prices, a 30-day adjustment term is foreseen for the application of new prices. This price modification won’t be applied to the hotel reservations already confirmed.

The benefits the travel agent will pay are those that appear in the reservation document directed to the hotel owner.

a) Except in case it’s been agreed that the invoice be paid directly by the traveler, is the travel agent who has concluded the hotel contract the one who should debit the invoice.

b) The payment of the invoice will be made by the agreed terms or, in absence of a contractual stipulation, within a 30-day frame after receiving the invoice. After the 30 days, the due sums will be increased with an interest fixed to the percentages for every month of delay. The opening amount of the debit will be increased with the 5% for recovery expenses.

c) For long duration lodgings, the hotel one will be able to request the travel agent, to pay in the course of lodging, the parts of services already given.

d) In the event of hotel booking made by the travel agent for services whose payment will be executed directly by the client, the hotel owner agrees to guarantee the agent’s commission. For such reason the hotel owner can refuse to accept the payment by means of a credit card.

Glossary of terms used in hotels booking

Travel Agent: Each person or qualified society according to legal dispositions of the same country or for the national associations or for the interested International Federation and which particularly has as an specific activity to make the hotel reservation of rooms and other services in hotels to settle travelers.

Hotel: Are considered all those facilities that offer vacancies and are affiliated to the AIH, either directly through a national Association and those that classify according to the legal orders of the country where they are located.

Advance: according to the will of the parts, the amount of the advance payment requested by the hotel can be worth as guarantee deposit to the act of hotels booking.

Low season: defined according to local customs, subject to particular contracts according to the conditions of the local market.

Hotel contract: Contract with which a hotel agrees with a travel agent to give hotel services – followed by a hotel reservation – to a costumer of the aforementioned agent.

Guarantee deposit: advance imposition of the travel agent to the hotel owner, at the moment of the hotel reservation, a part of the price that will be presumed from the total amount of the invoice or should be refunded in the event of the hotels booking.

Hotel tariffs: lists of the prices on the different services given by the hotel, separately or together, officially published for travelers’ use.

Individual travelers: clients who are not benefited by special rates of group.

Group Travelers: amount of people traveling together, considered by the travel agent and the hotel owner as an unique entity which obtains from the hotel owner during the hotel reservation, special conditions and rates fixed contractually.

Voucher: a voucher is a document issued by a travel agent with which he agrees to pay the hotel owner for the benefits to the agency’s costumer. These benefits or their top value will be mentioned in the voucher. In the event of non-use of all the hotel benefits mentioned in the voucher, the agent’s agreement is limited according to the conditions mentioned in item 42 of the convention. The copy of a voucher can also work as confirmation.

Travel On A Budget – Stay At Hostels

You might think of hosteling as something that college students do while traveling through Europe for the summer. However, hosteling is not just for the college crowd anymore, and now includes people of all ages and backgrounds. If you are a traveler on a budget, staying at a hostel can be an adventure that will add to your travel experience.

Staying in a hostel will not be everyones cup of tea, and many travelers would prefer to spend the money on a traditional hotel. Hostel traveling is best suited to those traveling alone, or to young people traveling in groups. Hostels are not really recommended for families traveling with young children. In fact, many hostels do not accept children under a certain age.

Most hostels are set up like dormitory rooms, with several bunk beds arranged in the room, with anywhere from four to ten bunks per room. Each traveler is assigned a specific bed upon check-in.

Nearly all of the hostels in the United States group their accommodations according to gender, with the female guests in one section of rooms and the male guests in another. In multi-level hostels, males and females are often separated by floor.

It is not uncommon, however for European hostels (and those elsewhere around the world) to allow mixed genders to share a room. Make sure to ask about the policy of the hostel before you check in. I, as a woman traveling solo, have never encountered a problem with these arrangements, and I have stayed in hostels throughout Europe, including Rome, London and Amsterdam. Some visitors might be surprised or offended by these sleeping arrangements.

The bathroom accommodations at hostels differ also, with some rooms containing a shared bathroom and shower, while other hostels will have shower and bathroom facilities located in the hallway. If you would prefer not to share a bathroom with strangers, make sure you ask about the hostels policy ahead of time.

More often now, reservations are becoming increasingly vital at hostels, especially during the summer months in popular cities. It is now not at all unusual for hostels in popular tourist cities to be booked solid for months, where once it was common for travelers to be able drop by the hostel and expect to get a bed.

Price is by far the biggest appeal of staying at hostels. The nightly rate for a hostel is usually no higher than $25 or $30 per night, with most costing even less. With the average hotel room cost somewhere around $100 to $150 in many cities, it is easy to see why hostels are becoming such a popular alternative.

Another benefit of staying in a hostel is that the staff is extremely accommodating and knowledgeable about the local area. Unlike many staff members of some luxury hotels, who travel in from the outlying areas and rarely see the city in which they work, hostel staff tend to live in the city, and have an personal knowledge of the local sites, including which attractions are cannot miss and which ones are not worth the trip.

Hostels also usually have access to discounts and coupons for local area attractions and restaurants, and they can provide information on the best restaurants and hangouts around.

While not everyone will find a hostel appealing, and the accommodation of a local hostel are simple at best, they can be wonderful options for lodging for the budget minded traveler. After all, the goal of travel is to get out and see the world, and hostel travel lets you save money on lodging so that you can do just that.

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Houston Apartment Search Tips

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Houston apartment leasing agents lease apartments everyday. You don’t. Who has the upper hand? The objective of this article is to provide tips on finding a great Houston apartment with a minimal amount of stress. We also hope to even the odds, so you can get an apartment which is right for you at the right price.

1. Start looking for your Houston apartment sooner rather than later. If you are trying to find and lease an apartment in one day, you are negotiating from a position of weakness.

2. Compile information the Houston apartment staff will request when you complete an application. This includes information on recent residences and income.

3 .Consider obtaining a credit report if you are concerned about your credit.

 

4. Plan how much you can spend for your Houston apartment. Be realistic. Your total housing expenses should not exceed 30 to 35% of your household income.

5. Select an online Houston apartment search service. Verify that it has information for all Houston apartments. Some search services only have information on 10 to 15% of the Houston apartments.

6. Think about the location for your Houston apartment. You have to identify the location before you can start a serious search. Factors to consider are the location of your job, family, friends and leisure.

7. Review other factors which are important to you in selecting a Houston apartment. This includes unit type, unit size, unit amenities and property amenities.

8. Use the online Houston apartment search service to select a group of apartments. The initial search should focus on location. Then refine your search based on other criteria which are important to you.

9. Call leasing staff at the Houston apartments you have identified. Have a list of questions. The question should include any factors which are important to you. The objective is to complete a three to five minute interview with the leasing staff at each apartment. After completing the interviews, narrow your list to two or three Houston apartment complexes.

10. Prepare a summary of the most attractive Houston apartments. Write the names of Houston apartments across the top of the page. Write the features most important to you along the left side of the page. Try to put them in descending order. In other words, put the most important issues at the top and the least important issues at the bottom. After completing the summary, you should be able to easily select two or three Houston apartments which best fit your criteria.

11. Visit the properties. Before going to the leasing office, drive around the perimeter of the property. If possible, drive along the interior driveways in the property. If the property passes the “drive test”, visit the leasing office. Is the office organized? Is the staff dressed appropriately? Ask to see both a model unit and the unit you would be occupying. Ask detailed questions regarding the issues most important to you. In addition to application fee, deposit and monthly rental rate, ask if they have a move-in special? Ask if they have a look and lease special. (You get a special offer if you lease shortly after initially visiting the property.) Also consider asking about their maintenance policy, maintenance orders pending for more than one week, if they have a courtesy patrol and if they have operational limited access gates.

12. Take notes as you visit each property. If you don’t, the details will tend to blur as you see two or three properties in quick succession.

Decide which property is best for you. Call the leasing agent and confirm your understanding of the details. You may want to ask if they have a special offer if you lease today or tomorrow. (Leasing agents often have some discretion to offer a better deal to close the lease.)

Return to the property and negotiate a lease. The lease is a legal document. You should read it. You’re committing to pay rent for a fixed period of time. If you have questions, don’t be embarrassed to ask about the details. The lease was written by a lawyer for the benefit of the apartment owner.

Before moving into your apartment, walk through the unit with the on-site staff. Make notes of any defects. Try to do the walk-through several days before you plan to move. This will allow time for the apartment staff to correct any problems.

Ask about what you must do to have your deposit refunded. Apartment residents become very upset when they are denied the return of deposit which they expected to receive. Don’t let this happen to you! The management staff at most Houston apartments are fair and honorable. They do not mind returning the deposit if you meet the terms of the lease. Just have a clear discussion regarding how you get the deposit returned.

Yes, there are a number of steps to properly select a Houston apartment. Yes, it can be done with a less effort. However, you are less likely to get an apartment which best fits your needs at a favorable price if you shortcut the relevant steps.

One Since Houston apartment leasing agents negotiate leases daily, it is not realistic for you to know as much about the process as the leasing agent. However, by reviewing an outline of the steps to take, you’ll be better prepared to find an apartment which is right for you at the right price.

Two If you have to identify an apartment and sign a lease in one day, you’ll be in a hurry. You’ll be under pressure to quickly close the deal. You’ll be forced to make decisions quickly. You simply cannot find the best apartment at the best price under this type of time pressure.

Three This includes information regarding where you have lived for the last five years, and the name and contact information for your landlords. It also includes information regarding your recent employers, for perhaps three to five years. You will need the name of the employer, when you worked there, how much you earned and a phone number.

Four Some of the issues which cause credit problems are past due payments, a large amount of debt, bankruptcies and a foreclosure. If any of these issues are relevant, discuss them with the leasing agent when you first call the property.

Five When you prepare your budget, try to set aside 10% of your household income for savings. This will allow you to set aside money for a house, your children’s education and retirement. It’s great to have the very nicest apartment you can afford today. It’s even nicer to not have money pressures in the future.

Six These online Houston apartment search services only provide information regarding apartments which pay them to advertise or which pay them a locator fee. It is understandable that they only provide information for which they are paid. However, you have a much better chance of finding the right apartment at the right price if you consider all Houston apartments instead of just the ones that are paying the search service.

Seven Location needs to be your first decision when selecting a Houston apartment. If you change your mind regarding location, you have to start over with the search process. Consider a plainer apartment in a better area instead of a nicer apartment in a less attractive area.

Eight Houston apartments offer an amazing selection of amenities. Use the online Houston apartment search service to identify amenities which are available and which are most important to you. The search service should also help you to select apartments which have the unit type you want.

Nine After selecting an initial group of Houston apartments in the right location, continue to narrow the list. Rank your search criteria in descending order. Use the second-most important search criteria next. Then use the third most important search criteria. When you have selected a group of five to 20 apartments, it is time to start calling the apartments.

Ten Houston apartment leasing staff are trained to ask you to visit the property during the first call. Their objective is primarily to get you to agree to visit the property. However, you are best served by calling all the apartment you identified before you visit any of them.

Eleven Preparing a summary may not seem worthwhile. You certainly do not have to do it. However, it will only take 15 to 30 minutes. And you will effectively organize your thoughts as you complete the summary. When you have completed the summary, you will likely have decided which two or three apartments you should visit.

Twelve When the leasing agents answer your questions, pay attention to what they say and how they say it. In many cases, how they say it is more important than what they say. For example, if they become defensive when you asked about criminal activity at the property, it is probably an issue which should concern you.

Don’t get stressed about finding the best Apartment. Apartments-PDQ has the information you need, for ALL apartments. We provide information whether or not the apartments pay a locator fee. our services includes commercial real estate appraisal , tax deduction , cost segregation, Lease Abstraction, property tax, market research, market studies, estate taxes, Collin central appraisal distric, Tips and Tricks for Appealing Your Property Taxes in Denton, denton county appraisal, Federal tax reduction.