Gone are terrible vacations that leave you unsatisfied! Avoid these 7 common mistakes when booking hotel rooms to make the most of your vacation.
A vacation trip is one of the best ways to spend your holiday. Be it domestic or international, the trip will give you not only a chance to unwind and temporarily run away from your work, but also a great opportunity to experience new things. When planning your trip, accommodation is one of the important aspects you should carefully consider. Thanks to the plethora of online hotel booking services, choosing accommodation is no longer a hassle. There are plenty of hotel options you can choose at your fingertips.
The convenience offered by hotel booking services has quickly made them a popular option for people making travel arrangements. The popularity has inevitably given online travel agencies a big surplus. Reported by Statista Research Department, online travel sales worldwide skyrocketed to 629.81 billion US dollars in 2017 from 470.97 billion US dollars in 2014. This number is projected to rise to 755.94 billion US dollars in 2019.
Despite the convenience you can enjoy, there are several things you should consider when booking hotel rooms from online travel agents. Of course, lah! You cannot just assume that your online hotel reservation services will definitely get you the best accommodation. Money does not just come from the sky, and neither do best prices and perfect accommodation. However, by avoiding common hotel booking mistakes, you can enjoy a great vacation to the fullest, and here are 7 mistakes you should avoid.
1. Skipping Customer Reviews
You stumbled upon a hotel that really caught your attention while looking for accommodation for your family vacation. You made your reservation and visited the premises. The room was spacious, the breakfast was delicious, and the location was great. Everything was good until your kids complained that the pool was so dirty that they could not even swim in it. It turns out that previous guests have made the same complaint in their reviews that you did not read at all. Alamak!
Well, here is the thing: reviews are there to guide you. Before booking hotel rooms, make sure you do not skip the review section. Reviews from former guests will tell you if the hotel you have chosen is really worth visiting. You can also learn some tips from the reviews that will make your stay more enjoyable. Websites such as Tripadvisor and Google are home to great reviews you can rely on.
However, you may see some positive and negative reviews for a hotel and find it difficult to decide whether the hotel is worth your money. In this case, use your own judgment and compare the number of good reviews with the number of bad ones. If there are more negative reviews compared to the positive ones, you’d better start looking for another hotel.
2. Judging Accommodation by Its Price Alone
Remember the old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, the same concept applies to hotel booking. You may think that hotels with a higher price will give you impeccable service. However, high rates do not always imply better service, and cheaper prices sometimes presents you with a five-star staying experience.
Indeed, some properties are considered prestigious, and you may be tempted to reserve a room there, despite the pricey rates. However, stop yourself before hitting that “Book Now” button. Try asking yourself: “Is it worth booking?”. In relation to the previous point, reviews from former guests will come in handy in this situation. They will tell you the pros and cons of the property so you can weigh the potential benefits and risks.
If luxury is what you are looking for, there are definitely other upscale options with cheaper rates that you can choose from. In addition to this, hotel booking websites and apps usually have their own rating system to help you make a decision. Don’t stick to solely one option and don’t base your judgment on the price alone. Excellent service and a great price?
3. Skipping Rates Comparison
When using a hotel booking app, you may stumble upon a great rate, and you cannot tahan the temptation to make a reservation. Those “Flash sale” and “The best rate” banners are indeed tempting, but you should not give in to that temptation. In fact, there is a myriad of online travel agencies posting such banners, trying to make you believe that they are the only one giving you the best rates.
Not comparing the rates is one of the mistakes you should really avoid. Just because a booking platform gives you a cheap price, it does not mean that there is nothing cheaper. There has been a competition between hotel reservation websites and apps to be the best platform and you should be aware that your favourite app for booking hotel rooms does not always give you the cheapest price. This is why comparing rates is important to ensure you get the best rate.
Fortunately, platforms such as Trivago and Kayak have made it easier to compare hotel prices worldwide. Just arrow the task to the services so you don’t have to check every website and make the browser crash because of too many tabs. Some even offer additional perks for members, such as discount codes and secret deals. Die die must try!
4. Not Knowing the Right Season to Book
Timing has something to do with hotel rates. The off-season is the right time to plan your vacation and book accommodation because in general, the rates are cheaper, allowing you to save more money. However, you may find that hotel rates are still high on the dates of your choice, even though you plan your vacation in the off-season. What you may not realise is that what is considered the low season in a certain city might be another city’s peak season.
On his travel tips, Rick Steve mentions that winter—from November to March—is considered the off-season for European countries. However, it is a different story for Singapore, for instance. According to Santorinidave.com, the off-season in Singapore starts in August and lasts until October, excluding mid-September due to the celebrated Singapore Grand Prix.
Going southeast, you may find something different in Indonesia. While Singapore is having its peak-season from November to March, the world’s largest island country is enjoying an off-season from October to April where the weather is cooler, according to Indonesia’d. In addition to this, Bookmundi reported that Malaysia is having its off-season from March to June. Meanwhile, Thailand has its own “schedule”, with the off-season lasting from July to October as cited in Fareboom.
In this case, you may want to focus on the destination’s holiday season. Learn about what events will be held on your selected dates in the destination city or country so you can avoid their peak season. However, if you are actually planning to see a special event or experience a celebration, you should expect high prices when booking hotels.
5. Making Hotel Reservation Too Early
You must have heard of the old saying “The early bird gets the worm”. You will get the best chances if you take action early. Unfortunately, it is not always the case when it comes to booking hotel rooms. It is true that you get cheaper rates when you book in advance. However, booking too early will not always guarantee a better price. This is why some people still get higher rates, even though they have booked a hotel in advance.
According to TripAdvisor, it is possible to save up to 26% by searching for hotels in Singapore about two weeks in advance. So, don’t rush, lah! You still have plenty of time to wait before making a reservation. For the time being, you can spend your time on making a to-go and a to-do list in your destination country or city.
In addition, you can set up price alerts for the hotel of your choice prior to booking. Online hotel booking websites such as Tingo and HotelsCombined will watch hotel prices for you and send an alert or notification when the prices drop or increase. No need to check the rates every day! You just have to wait for the notification, make a reservation when the price drops, and enjoy a cheaper rate.
6. Ignoring Location Aspect
It sounds obvious that location is one of the crucial aspects to consider when booking hotel rooms. However, it is sometimes easy to get distracted by great deals offered for a certain hotel to the point that we forget to check the property’s exact location. You have planned a nice afternoon walk to Esplanade Park, but you did not realise that the hotel you have booked is actually an hour away from the park. Walao! What a long walk sia!
One thing you should consider when making a hotel reservation is the property’s distance to the main destinations you want to visit. Want to explore the beauty of Singapore’s Chinatown? Hotels in Outram district make a better option for you. Crave for some good food and scenic river view? Boat Quay is home to quirky and affordable accommodations in Singapore.
In addition to this, it is important for you to measure the distance between the hotel and public amenities you are planning to use. Hotels located near a train station or any public transportation hub will be your best bet. There is oso no point in booking an affordable hotel if you have to walk or travel a long distance to the nearest convenience store or restaurant. Remember that unnecessary transportation costs will only add to your expenses.
7. Not Entering Personal Requests
Let’s say you have booked a hotel and expect a picturesque city view from your room. Upon arrival, however, you realise that your room windows overlook an unpleasant neighbourhood and it is too late to switch rooms because the hotel is fully-booked. Yes, there are times when things do not meet your expectations and you have to deal with some inconveniences during your stay.
In general, hotels will try to accommodate to your needs and give the best service. However, hotel occupancy and the availability of amenities are among factors determining whether they can fulfil your last-minute requests. When booking hotels online, you can prevent such inconveniences by filling in personal requests in advance. Most reservation platforms provide a section where you can make specific requests such as bed size, room position, and late checkout time.
By making personal requests in advance, you will give the staff time to provide the things you need. They will note your requests so you can experience a pleasant stay. Personal requests section is also where you can ask the hotel to prepare a special surprise for your partner, a family member, or a friend. If you want to give a birthday surprise for your partner, for instance, you can request the hotel to decorate your room with balloons and a birthday banner. Double confirm your partner will be happy, lah!
These are 7 common mistakes you can avoid to ensure a pleasant, memorable stay. This way, you will not have to deal with trivial problems that make your staying experience inconvenient. So, gone are terrible vacations!