DO: Make A Hotel Wish List
A great way to start the planning process is to create a shortlist of things you most want in a hotel. Once you have your short list together, start the research process and if you’re traveling with a group, discuss the pros and cons to begin narrowing down your list based on each person’s input.
DO: Be Aware That Hotel Policies May Differ From The Norm
Whenever a large event like ESSENCE Festival is in town, many hotels enforce revised versions of their policies to better accommodate the larger crowds and manage the influx of bookings accordingly. Some hotels allow you to receive a full refund if you cancel within 24-72 hours before arrival, while others don’t. Some hotels require a deposit to secure your room, while others will require you to pay in full up front. Make sure to get a clear understanding of the policy at the hotel you choose before you book.
DON’T: Book The Wrong Type Of Room
Having a room with everything you need, or enough space to accommodate your party if you’re traveling with a group, is important. While larger rooms with additional sleeping options can seem like more money on the front end, you might end up wishing you’d upgraded in the end. If the hotel you select doesn’t offer a room big enough for everyone, it might be best to consider booking more than one room so everyone can be comfortable or exploring other hotels with better options.
DO: Communicate With Your Group Constantly
Did you start planning for 4 and now only 3 are going? Are people arriving or departing on different days? Is everyone working with the same budget? If you’re traveling with a group, staying in communication with your crew throughout the hotel booking process can often eliminate any unnecessary confusion.
DON’T: Forget About Incidentials
Every hotel charges a refundable incidental fee, in addition to the price of the room plus tax. The amount of the fee is held on your credit card for the duration of your stay at the hotel and refunded once you check out. The cost of incidental fees per night, as well as the amount of time it will take for the money to be placed back in your account after you check out, both vary by hotel, so be sure to call ahead and ask before you book so there are no surprises.
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DO: Book Early
Getting ahead of the rush to take advantage of any special rates or other incentives offered to early bookers is always a plus.
DON’T: Forget To Request Early Check-In Or Late Arrival
If you or your group will be arriving before hotel check-in time, call ahead to see if they can accommodate an early check-in. If you’ll be checking in after midnight, be sure to call to let the hotel know so they don’t cancel your reservation. Standard hotel check-in times are usually between 3pm and 4pm, which check out times are between 11AM and 1PM.
DO: Know The Location
While you’re in the process of narrowing down your hotel choices, it can be extremely helpful to find out location details like how far the hotel is from the airport, or how long it would take to walk to Convention Center or the Superdome, if needed.
DON’T: Wait Until The Last Minute
Anyone who had to learn this the hard way will tell you that waiting until the last minute to book a hotel for ESSENCE Festival weekend is not the way to go. Hotels fill up quickly and the longer you wait, the more you risk not having accommodations. To see a full list of our partner hotels and their rates, click HERE.
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DO: Decide On Airport Hotel Transportation Ahead Of Time
Arriving at the airport in NOLA during ESSENCE Fest week may be a little hectic, but finding out the available transportation options beforehand are half the battle. Weigh out the pros and cons of traveling by taxi, shuttle, or rental car for the weekend and determine what works best for you or your group.
DO: Bring Cash
Having a credit card on hand to cover expenses during your trip may seem ideal, but there will also be many instances where you’ll need cash on hand and may not have time to run to an ATM. Be prepared!
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