Let’s be clear, this is more of an article on how not to wind up ruining your holiday with a sorry hotel booking. If this article had to be encapsulated in two words, I’d say it’s all about ‘being proactive’. Experience has shown that when it comes to booking a hotel, it’s not what you do, but what you don’t do that ends up on your list of regrets.
Unlike a long-haul flight or a cramped car ride, a hotel stay is something you actually have to live with for the duration of your stay. Many a potentially great holiday has been ruined because of a bad hotel experience. Seriously, you don’t want that happening on your next vacation. So, let’s share 5 tips on getting the most out of hotel bookings.
Location, Location, Location
Seriously, you’ve got to nail it when it comes to location. If you have a good idea of your itinerary during your holiday, it’s easy to pinpoint exactly where you’d want your base. Spend some time on the map – it’s very useful, and the route planning could end up being fun too.
But when you have booked a hotel with excellent proximity to the hotspots you want to visit, what next? Let’s say you’re going to a totally unfamiliar destination, or a country where English may not be widely spoken. Maybe the taxi driver knows where your hotel is located and maybe he doesn’t. Don’t take that chance. It really pays to have a map of the hotel handy, especially if you’ve not availed of the hotel pick-up service.
Gone are the days of making payments at the reception desk. Thanks to all those booking websites, credit cards are now the currency to book a hotel stay. It’s all very convenient and hassle-free, but there’s a reason why our folks were always hesitant to swipe.
With the sheer number of websites on the internet, there’s really no telling which one’s genuine and which is out to rip you off. If you’re getting an offer that’s too good to be true, it isn’t. Make sure you check websites for secure pay transactions, which can usually be ascertained via the website markings. Most of the reputed banks and credit agencies use encrypted software to authenticate customer transactions. When in doubt, just call up the said hotel and ensure that the vendor you’re booking through is legit. It doesn’t hurt to go the extra mile to safeguard your bank details.
Timing is Everything
During festive seasons and regional events, there’s usually a rush to book rooms, with the effect that hotels hike up their tariffs in search of a windfall. The upside to this is that if you’re smart about when to book, you’ll usually find a great deal on pre-booking your hotel room. There are also several rewards programs that can sweeten the deal considerably.
Always be on the lookout for seasonal offers and be prompt in your decision-making because these offers are taken up fast. A lot of hotels will throw in a complimentary breakfast or free Wi-Fi at pre-existing tariffs to lure you into booking with them. Take advantage of their eagerness and get yourself a great deal.
Always Read the Fine Print
Is there a specific hotel you’ve signed up with that offers a loyalty bonus? Does that still hold if you book through a third-party website? Does the room rate you paid include a complimentary breakfast or a free pick-up service? What’s the cancellation policy of the hotel?
There’s a reason why hotels choose to use smaller font for some of their, err, “terms”. The fact is, nobody will help you if you’re not informed about what you’re getting into. A great way to know about hotel deals is to check customer reviews. A lot of them will describe the freebies they received, or the bad experience they had at the hotel to give you a better idea of what’s coming your way.
Basically, do your research.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask
A lot of us can confess that we’re a tad apprehensive about asking too many questions.
But when it comes to booking a good hotel, asking (or in other words, demanding) for the best can take one a long way. Most hotels are looking for repeat customers, and you’ll be amazed by how far they’re willing to go to ensure that you pick them on your next visit. Simply being polite with the reception manager can do the trick, whether in terms of restaurant discounts, or a free spa visit. Take it this way, not asking will do you no good anyway, so might as well make friends with some of the staff!
Hopefully, with these tips in mind, you’ll be a better hand at getting that hotel deal that hits the spot. Let us know if you have any other suggestions on how to book a great hotel.