Choosing a hotel can be a nightmare with prices, locations, amenities, endless options, haunting you every time you do a search. Plus, Hotel is one thing you can’t live without if you are out of town. But we bet that finding a place no second to your home or cozy living room, is not as impossible as it sounds. Worrying that half of your travel budget will go in hotels is nothing new. Also the experience you will have at hotel might dictate your mood for the day. Considering everything, we have created a list of tips for your next hotel booking, which will sure come in handy.
Book it the traditional Way
This is for folks who aren’t very tech savvy. Just because the half of this world especially the generation Z is executing most of their errands through internet, you do not need to join the band wagon. On internet things can be confusing, and over whelming at the same time, which will lead you to will miss something or the other. If you do the booking the wrong way, you might end up in an embarrassing situation at the hotel, or the chances are high that you will end up paying more than usual.
So stick to the basics and try booking directly with hotel. The front desk guys will never care if you forget to click a checkbox which could have gotten you free breakfast. It is okay to be insecure about internet bookings. If you have such apprehension, then try finding a number to the hotel or number to an agent, and book manually.
While booking manually you might get a good deal, as then the hotel will not have to share their profits with these giant booking internet companies. Some hotels even encourage people booking directly by offering direct benefits.
Be traditional and be smart
If you have chosen to book directly with the hotel and go the traditional way of booking hotels, then you got to keep few things in mind. First is that booking the traditional way doesn’t means that you also could not be smart. The point being that you are just apprehensive of using the internet, it doesn’t means you cannot even do a google search. While booking directly with the hotel, the first thing you got to do is do a simple search and check the prices of hotels on different aggregators.
If you see that the prices of the room that you are seeking are lower on these aggregators, reach out to the hotel with a bargain approach. Tell them they have lower prices on internet and you want something equal or a better deal by booking directly. The chances are high that the hotels is going to oblige you and will least match the prices.
In the best case scenario, you might also be offered with a deal of your dream, which could be a free upgrade or complimentary dinner for two. Remember that things are going to happen if you will want to make them happen.
Be considerate of details
Internet has made hotel bookings a lot easier than it used to be. Instead of relying on hotels you will have to walk in for bookings, internet allows you to book days in advance from any corner of this world. The best thing about present time hotel booking scenario is that you get plenty of options and plenty of deals. But you got to remember that not all you see is true and good. There are ins and outs of it. Let us suppose there is a Hotel A that shows you price of $100 and Hotel B 75$ with same look, feel, and location.
You would think that Hotel B would be a better option, but if you will see in the details, you will find that with Hotel B you can only check out at 12:00 and check in at 12:00, though Hotel A has 24 hours check out. In such a case if your itinerary is built around the traditional check in and check out times of hotels, then your first assumption is right, but if not, then detail is the king here.
A detail could be as small as complimentary breakfast, or free laundry service, or free wifi, or free airport transfers, among many others. The point being that do not just go on the face value, consider the details of the deal before booking.
Last minute Hotel Bookings
There are many people and publications on internet that will vouch for Last minute bookings. Yes we agree that last minute bookings can get you unexpected deals, they might be suitable for your instant plans, but if you are on an international travel, do not rely on last minute bookings, unless there is a change in your plan and you are headed to some place else from your itinerary. Like i said, last minute bookings can get you unexpected deals, but it is not the case every time. If you want real deal, then book in advance, that is the rule.
Deals on hotel bookings are the best case scenario, but let us also warn you that things can get awry. Instead of an unexpected deal you might have to choose a hotel which is far from the city center or far from where you intend to tour just because of unavailability. You might have to end up in a room that you do not like. This happens usually in peak seasons, if you are booking last minute.
We do not want this to happen to you, but in case if you have relied on last to last minute booking which is by walking into a hotel the moment you arrive, you might have wander streets, with your luggage in one hand, while the other waving for taxis. Save the trouble.
Watch out for Business Destinations
Life can take you places that you have never imagined of visiting. Ideally everyone wants to land down in Paris, or in Ibiza, or in Swiss country side, but in case if you are headed to cities like New York or Geneva, then you got to take note that these cities are also popular commercial districts. These cities have huge influx of business travelers visiting them. In fact, if you are traveling to any major metropolis then be wary of the fact that they will have lots of business travelers visiting them.
In such cases, try booking a hotel in a friendly neighborhood, in a place that is not a commercial hub spot. Try booking hotels which are located in neighborhoods which surround the places you plan to tour. In business cities never go for the mid of city or near airports and stations. These hotels are made keeping in mind the business travelers.
This way you can save fistful of dollars, or least the amount of money which could buy you another day or two in the destination. But if budget is not a constraint, then we suggest, that you go for some heritage hotel like a dreamy vacation.
Always check the refund policy
If it is a leisure vacation then chances are that it is not going to get cancelled, but if you are a business traveler then you can relate with unexpected trips, and frequent cancellation of plans. So this tip is especially for busy people. In most of the cases things will go fine, but at a point of time you will sure realize that you should have checked the refund policy of the hotel before making the booking. These details will never be printed on the first page of your booking receipt and will be hiding in some fine print.
The point being is that always check the refund policy, before making the booking. Every hotel has a different policy, and you cannot just make assumptions. If it is a hotel that deeply cares about its reputation and easiness of its customers, they are going to have a friendly refund policy, but you need to be aware about the exact details.
This tip also goes for people who have planned a trip with kids. Yes they can get sick any time, and any where, so it is advisable to be prepared for unprecedented changes in vacation.
Check the WIFI limit
Hotels these days are leveling up with technology, be it through smart keys, be it through smart television sets, or be it through free internet for the guests. WIFI is no longer a jargon which was limited to working spaces at one point of time. Nowadays, hotels provide free WIFI without any extra cost, and this can be very alluring especially in foreign lands, where you want to stay away from hassle of buying local sim. Free WIFI in international travel is like a god send gift, but again be wary of the limits.
Yes every internet connection or internet service comes with a usage limit, or a bandwidth limit, or the speed limit. The greater the speed lower the usage limit will be. Before falling into the trap of free WIFI, do check what is the speed that they offer, or if they have any limit on it. Usually there is no limit, but you never know how much data costs in different countries.
We would like to assert again that this very detail is important if you want to save some money on your international trip. We also do not want you to end up cursing the hoteliers late night.
Loyalty Programs do count
Loyalty programs in hotels is something that every body would not be interested in, except if you are a frequent traveler, or a business traveler. In our opinion if you are traveling even at least couple of times every year, then too you should consider using the loyalty program of the hotels. Most of these loyalty are free of cost, and you have nothing to loose, and only to gain. This is especially for business travelers that check in to hotel rooms more than no of properties visited by real estate agents.
But before we vouch again for loyalty programs, we must also declare that do not expect any thing extra ordinary from these loyalty programs, the perks of it are going to be very normal. It might sound like micro economy, but perks like free breakfast, laundry, parking, wifi, airport drops are priceless.
Another thing to take note of is that while choosing a hotel and its loyalty program, try choosing a hotel which has other chain hotels in different cities. Think of the situations when you might need to travel to different cities.
Make some space for Mobile Applications
These days there is a mobile application for just about every thing. There are so many mobile applications out there, that people become hesitant before downloading them majorly because of the limited storage space in cell phones. We totally agree with the mass opinion, and will never encourage you to download apps which you might need once or twice, or those which might not be even useful. But you can make an exception, if there is some additional discount on download of the app.
These days companies are throwing exclusive offers like vouchers, additional discounts, services, to get their app downloaded. This is the new marketing strategy that these company make use of. Their goal is that you download the application and use it every time you need a similar service. They want a permanent space in your cell phone.
The point being is download these applications even if its getting cringed on your cell phone. Make use of that discount, and later if you think that some other application needs a space in your cell phone then replace it with.
Go the A la Carte way
There is a very popular saying by Mahatma Gandhi which goes like, there is enough for every body’s need but not for every body’s greed. Some of you might agree with this, and some of you might not. But you are sure going to agree with this tip. The point being why to pay for things that are no use for you during the trip or during your stay. We suggest that you choose your hotel the A la Carte way. Only pay for services that will come of handy for you during the trip.
Now let us demonstrate you how. If you are buying a local sim on your travel like you have planned before heading out, then there is absolutely no need of booking a hotel that provides free WIFI. If you have enough stock of clothes just perfect for every day of your trip, along with an extra pair then don’t book a hotel that provides free laundry services.
You might be wondering if they are free services then what is the harm in them. But remember the pricing model of every hotel is built upon the services they provide. In layman terms you pay for every service that you get.
Be closer, Lazy People
Travelling can be an exhausting and a tiring experience. The strongest of people in this world might want to hit up the bed after a long day of sightseeing. There are also some people who would always want to hit up the bed or hit up the couch, no matter if their day was long or if their day was short. Lazy people this one is especially for you all. Laziness can be a killer of good travel experience, and we would never want that you didn’t had best of your time while travelling.
So the tip is to book a hotel which is in close proximity to your spots from your itinerary and the location of the hotel is well within the reach of civilization. It means that your hotel has to be in a very accessible spot. This also means that it is going to cost you a little more, but least you wont be as exhausted as by commuting to some far fetched neighborhood.
This will also keep you in your comfort zone, which will enhance the joy received in your trip. The tip is to book a hotel in a area which might be adjacent to your tourist spots from your itinerary, if not necessarily in that area.
The off beat stay
When it comes to accommodation type, many people are reluctant in choosing anything else than Hotels. The primary reason being that they haven’t tried any other unconventional accommodation. This also happens because hotels are on top of the chain in hospitality industry. The standards are set and people very well know what to expect from their stay. But our advice is to keep your options open. This tip is especially for people who are travelling to some off beat places, or some place which is culturally very different from their home.
Try opting for an AirBnB, or a home stay. The primary reason for such a suggestion is that hotels in off beat places are never going to be of a set standard like in other cities. They will be less in numbers, and not properly organized. In such a scenario home stay experience could surprise you with their hospitality.
The other major reason for choosing a Home Stay or a AirBnB is that you will get first hand exposure to the culture and traditions of that particular region. Plus need we mention that food in such establishment is awesome and homely.
Travel Agents are for ever
We have already asserted to use booking websites and hotels directly. But there is another very great channel of making hotel bookings that you should keep in mind. It is the travel agents. But before we proceed we must tell you that travel agents will not provide services of booking hotels solely in most of the cases, but if you are buying some holiday package or booking your flight tickets with them, hotel bookings can come as a complimentary add on.
The best thing about booking with travel agents is that they will usually have exclusive deals that you wont get anywhere. We must also tell you that they they are going to charge a service fee, which will ultimately nullify your discounts, but this entire process will be hassle free and you will have to do nothing but talk with your that too over a phone call.
If you are travelling with a huge family or number of friends, then this mode of booking is the best as you will save a lot. Biggest plus is that agents will choose the best of hotels and experiences in any given budget. That is their day to day hustle.
Hotels with media mention
Ladies and Gentlemen, this one is for you. Every business establishment of this world seeks popularity. Some find it by doing mundane things uniquely. Some find it by providing exemplary services. Some find it through mention in media. Once a hotel gets featured in leading magazines or newspapers, there comes a paramount responsibility on the shoulders of hotel staff to maintain that reputation. They will go an extra mile to please the customers, because that will be their holistic effort to promote their hotels.
Such hotels if they are newly established, they will go a couple of extra miles. The tip is to find new hotels that have recently popped up in paparazzi. Make bookings with them. The first thing you are going to like is that they will be relatively cheaper than their other counterparts. If not cheaper, they will extra services which will make it up.
The second thing that you are going to like about them will be that their service is going to be impeccable. They will do everything to delight their guests, after all they want you to come again and spread a good word of mouth.
A view from Balcony
It is well known that not every hotel will have a room offering a balcony. But if this trip of yours is a Leisure vacation then insist for booking a hotel room that has balcony. Again the balcony room is going to cost more, and you might think that it is purely a waste of money, but we will show you that it is not. This tip especially goes if you are travelling with your partner. If its a solo trip, this tip miight not be as perfect as like for couple travelers, and is purely subjected to your interest.
The first thing that you are going to like after booking hotel room with balcony will be enjoying a cup of coffee in morning with newspaper in other hand while sitting cozily. It will just be perfect to start your day. There could not be a perfect backdrop than this, to enjoy your morning. Chances are 50 50 that you can also enjoy a sun rise.
The second thing which a room like this offers is a backdrop for few glasses of wine with candle lit dinner in balcony, along with your partner. This experience is going to be super private and you will save couple of hundred dollars bill than doing this in a fancy restro.
Bloggers, Social Media Influencers and people with huge following
Every hotel likes that their guests say good things about their hotel in front of their friends and family. In fact most of the hotels thrive on publicity gained from word of mouth. You will rarely see a hotel indulging in advertisements, unless it is a part of a giant hotel chain. So if you are a popular blogger, or a social media influencer, or simply you have a huge following on social media, then make a use of it. There is no shame in talking business with the hotel manager, if you both can get benefited.
The crucial thing in this business talk is going to be the deal that you are going to offer. Make sure it be so lucrative that they be compelled to say a yes. The least that you can ask is to offer some discount on the hotel booking, and the maximum that you can have is a free stay including the food bill from the hotel.
If you are a social media influencer then you must already know how to crack such situations. But if you are a newbie, the first time will have lots of hesitation in you, but gradually you will learn to make the bargain.
Hotels are same. It’s the hospitality that matters!