Do you think that booking hotels through online apps is your best bet? Alamak, then you need to know all the tricks to grab the best deals. Let’s get ready!
One of the best ways to have a perfect holiday is finding the perfect place to stay. Well, this also might apply when you need to go for business trips out of town or even abroad. A good place to sleep and rest will help you to calm your nerves and restore your energy. Some people also love to do a staycation during the weekends to take a genuine break from work and home routines. Now, people can easily find the best places for staying by using online apps that provide booking hotel services.
Hotel bookings done in a single click is the popular tagline offered by most of the online booking hotel service providers. The demand for hotel booking via online apps is aligned with the number of existing service providers. According to statistics from Travelport Digital, 53% of the travellers around the world preferred to use apps to find hotels and 60% of the travel brands considered enhancing their mobile apps to improve customer satisfaction.
Hotel booking apps indeed make hotel booking transactions easier. But before doing that, here are 5 things you need to consider before making an online hotel booking:
1. Choose a Hotel Booking App with the Best Prices
Most of the hotel booking apps will try to convince you to click the ‘book now’ button and make payment with discounts offered. When the holiday season begins, you can see flight and hotel promos everywhere. But don’t be the person who gets easily tempted! Having to pay a price that’s totally not worth it will make you feel so terrible. Hence, choosing the best prices amongst the available hotel booking apps is really necessary.
First things first, you need to make sure whether pop-up prices on your screens are the final prices. Some online apps do this trick to hide the interest rate and make the customer think that the prices given are the lowest ones. In order to know the actual prices, you need to click the ‘book now’ button and go to the payment page. When the final price is similar to the previous price given, then you are allowed to be relieved. But, be careful when the final price presented is much higher than the price shown on the first page. If so, please use another hotel booking app that provides the final prices from the very first page of the screen!
In addition, you may also need to consider whether the price includes breakfast. It is usually higher when breakfast is added. However, it will be nice not to have to worry about what you will be eating for breakfast. Plus, it can also save your budget since you don’t need to go to a restaurant outside the hotel to have breakfast. You need to check with the individual hotels in each app whether the breakfast is part of the price, because the offers might be different depending on the hotel partnership with the online booking app.
Then, before making payment, make sure that you will get the rewards or points after your stay. These points and rewards can be exchanged for discounted prices in your next hotel booking. Some online apps have already provided the rewards program. Indeed, the points need to be accumulated. Generally, the number of points accumulated is equal to the discounted price you will get.
2. Check the Payment Methods Offered amongst the Hotel Booking App
One of the necessary parts of an online hotel booking is the payment method. Generally, after booking hotels online, we will need to transfer the money directly within one hour. The other method is making payment through minimarket or using credit cards. Looking at the travel trends these days, many online hotel booking providers improve their payment methods by providing PayLater. This feature enables non-credit card holders to book the hotel right away and make the payment later. This PayLater feature works as well as credit cards. But, many online hotel booking apps offer lower interest than credit cards. Customers are also allowed to choose the length of the installments. Hence, they can decide whether they want to pay the debt in one month until twelve months period. It is really tempting, isn’t it? This payment method option will help if you run out of money, but at the same time, you are in a major need to get away from the routines.
Some apps have already provided this PayLater feature. Booking hotels is easier and the transaction with the PayLater option will also benefit travel companies. As one of their marketing strategies, PayLater promises simplified transactions for customers while increasing booking hotel demands, which is really good for companies. However, it is always better to pay now than later, lah!
3. Read the Customer Reviews
One of the most important rules when booking hotels through online apps is to never ever ignore the customer reviews and feedback! You need to know whether the previous guests had bad or good experiences with the hotels. But, when reading the customer reviews, bear in mind that some customers may be overly critical over simple oversight, while some others go in depth on small details. These kinds of reviews will be helpful if you need the simple details about the hotel's amenities, such as whether the hotel provides a water warmer, toothpaste, shaving cream, hair-dryer, or adapter. You will also need to see the reviews to check whether the hotel facilities are in good condition. It is possible that the images shown in the hotel booking apps are not similar to the actual condition of the hotels.
Some people may find the reviews useless until they experience something unexpected, such as having booked for a king size bed but upon arrival at the hotel, the king size bed is actually not available and the receptionist gives you a double bed instead. Many hotels provide an upgrading program when the room we want is not available. The service provided by the hotel mainly does not depend on price because cheaper ones do not necessarily mean that service is poor. Hence, customer reviews are key.
The best way to see the customer reviews is by sorting them from the lowest ratings to the highest ones. So, you will see the worst things before the best things offered by the hotels. Usually, customer ratings range from 1 to 10. You will see that the good hotels have at least 8 and above.
4. Double Check the Location
When you are planning to travel abroad, such as Singapore, never underestimate the distance between the hotel and the places you want to visit. It may seem that all places in Singapore are within walking distance, but in fact, they are not! TripAdvisor provides the best reviews, so you should read those before booking hotels in Singapore. Indeed, some popular places in Singapore are within walking distance from public transportation, such as Gardens by the Bay. So, it is not necessary to stay at the nearest hotel since you can easily reach these places using the train.
However, hotel locations are really important when you are travelling with children or old folks. They might need a longer time to rest and sleep, so it would be nice to book a hotel near the places you want to visit. So, after knowing where to go, decide on the nearest hotel locations. There are some places that are kid-friendly in Singapore, such as the Singapore Zoo and S.E.A. Aquarium. You can check out Concorde Hotel Singapore, which is only 5 miles from Singapore Zoo, and is of course, kid-friendly!
Google Maps is really helpful when you intend to check the distance between two places. You can use this handy app on your smartphone to see the actual distance between the hotel and the places you are planning to visit. Can you rely on Google Maps while travelling in Singapore? Can lah, no worries. In Singapore, this app also provides recommendations for the best public transportation you can take to reach the places you want to visit, which are either trains or buses.
5. Checking-in and Checking-out time
Knowing the check-in and check-out times of the hotel would be necessary when you are travelling abroad, especially when the place you are leaving from and the one you are visiting have a different time zone. Let's say, if you are visiting Singapore from London and you book a hotel for 20th July with a check-in time at 12 noon, you should be leaving London on 19th July before 12 noon, considering that it takes around 14 hours of flight from London to Singapore. Hence, the hotel-check in and check-out times influence the departure time and affect the flight we choose when we are travelling abroad. Usually, check-in times at hotels are 12 PM or 2 PM. It depends on each hotel’s policy.
Check-in time is also related to cancellation policy. Most hotels have this rule for guests which allows them to cancel their booking 24 hours prior to the check-in time and their payment can be refunded. Other hotels may give 3 days before check-in time for customers to cancel their hotel booking. On the other hand, check-out times serve to give guests information about the time limit they have for staying in the hotel and avoid unnecessary costs of overstaying.
These are 5 things you need to know before booking hotels through online apps. From now on, you'd better say goodbye to imperfect hotel experiences, so shiok!