The process of booking a hotel while traveling can be a nightmare. However, there are some ways that you can use hotel booking sites to save some of the pain and help to answer some of the questions. Can you believe the pictures that make the hotel look brand new? Are the facilities as the hotel describes them? Is the hotel even located in an accessible part of town?
In most cases, the hotel will provide the information to show the hotel in the best possible light. However, as I am sure some of us have discovered this information is not always the best guide. Thankfully there are a few more options to help ensure you will get a better experience. That is if you are willing to do a little more research.
Hotel Booking Sites
With the increase in websites that will allow you to book and more importantly compare hotels, you have a wealth of information available to you. You just need to be sure that you are using this information in the right way and not getting caught up with the booking.
The hotel booking sites offer the option for guest to leave a star rating for their stay. The average of all these star ratings can be an excellent way to thin out the options for choosing a hotel.
Unlike the star rating that many hotels tout based on the facilities that are available. I start with selecting the city and the nights I want to stay. Then I will add a filter for hotels that have received on average a 4 out of 5 (or similar for other sites) by past guests.
Adding this filter still leaves a good choice of hotels and in my experience significantly improves the chances of booking a good hotel.
Along with a guest rating, almost all hotel booking sites allow guests to leave a review on the hotel after their stay. With many of these sites actively seeking these reviews and encouraging them.
These reviews can in many cases provide a wealth of knowledge, which you can use to help make your decision. Having a quick read through especially some of the most recent reviews will give you an idea of what people have been experiencing. Whether the service is good, what the beds are like, if the hotel is in a dodgy neighbour and a whole lot of other things.
One thing to keep in mind though is people are more likely to leave a bad review. However, in saying that I have found a broad representation of both positive and negative reviews. Often narrowing the field of options significantly
Some of the hotel booking sites do allow past guests also to attach images. Not many sites allow this, and it needs proper consideration before making it a defining part of the decision process.
I have used images that guests have left as a reason not to book a hotel in the past. However, in general, I do not go looking for them. It is often difficult to tell if an image is truly indicative of the hotel as a whole, especially when taken into consideration with the other factors such as guest ratings and reviews.
Check Hotel Booking Sites Deals
Once you have done your research and you have found the hotel that is right for you, there is one more step. Check to make sure that the deal being offered by the hotel booking site is a good deal. There are some factors to consider before clicking the button to book the hotel.
The Best Price
The way many hotel booking sites are set up, they lead you to believe they have the best price. With secret offers and exclusive deals. But this may not always be the case, checking the price on multiple sites is a must and can make a big difference.
The best place to start is checking the hotel’s website; sometimes they will offer the same price direct. In some cases, you may even find special deals they are offering with added inclusions. The next step is to check at least one or two other hotel booking sites. Sometimes one will have a better deal, and the only way to know is to check.
On one booking I made recently this made a $60 difference on a two-night reservation. The site I often used listed the hotel for $250 for two nights, and I found the same room offered on another site at $190. While this was a two-night booking, just imagine how much this could add up to over a two-week trip, or an even longer trip. Even $5 a night difference can add up to $150 in a month.
What Are The Conditions
Depending on the site that you use there will potentially be additional booking conditions to what you might expect from a hotel. These can include cut-off dates for cancellation that may be months before the booking, and part of why a price might be so good. Additionally, on a small number of sites, there may also be booking fees on top of the price you are paying, that may make the deal not as good.
The conditions that may come with a good price can be one of the downfalls of jumping between hotel booking sites. But if you are just looking for a good price and know for certain you will be going; there may not be a lot to lose.
There can be some other factors that may come into play which might make a deal that little bit better or worse. It can be worth considering one-off factors into the equation as well.
One of the main factors for me here is one site that I use a lot offers a free night of accommodation for every ten nights booked (and stayed). If you are booking hotels often, this can essentially be like getting a 10% discount. But with offers like this don’t get lazy and stop checking the alternatives. Because at times, you may save more than 10% with a better offer elsewhere.
Offers such as discount codes, special upgrades, and extras, need some consideration in the price you will pay. Consider if any extras are things you need vs. being able to get a better price on a different site.
It’s All About Comparison
All of these hotel booking sites, are essentially offering you a service to comparison shop on hotels. As such this should not stop you from comparing the different sites.
With the above in mind, it doesn’t mean that you have to go through the process for every booking. I can assure you it gets quite arduous checking every site, every time I am researching a city.
The process I use is to compare a few sites and identify one go to site for bookings. Then review the comparison once every two-three months. I will use this site whenever I am booking unless the price seems abnormally high.
Your Best Deal
Share the story of the best deal you have found on hotel booking sites. Did you score a cheap room with a great deal? Maybe you found out the hotel you were booking was not all it was cracked up to be. Just go down the page and leave a comment to let me know about the deal you got. You can connect with me on social media, pick your favourite social network below.