Imagine you can always get a cheaper price when booking hotels. This is not nonsense anymore if you understand how online booking works. Here are the details!
Online hotel booking systems are like a hype all over the world, especially in Singapore, an international hub. You can find it everywhere with various providers. In the beginning, travellers were still trying to get used to booking hotels through this new method.
Online booking apps are now a die-die must try thing. It has started a new era of a more transparent and flexible way to get the best hotels where the price is representative of the facilities offered. It also enables every customer to access the best deals by comparing a price with another in real time. This “online way” also helps in avoiding fully-booked hotels, which is the most common problem when you directly contact the hotel. It offers more options for payment as well, especially when you don't have any cash at that time. It simplifies many processes from the beginning until the end in finding hotel rooms.
1. Differences Between Online and Offline Booking Hotels
The most interesting difference between the old and the new systems are the interactions. When booking hotels through the traditional way, you can interact with human beings and sort of predict the operator's response whilst they help you make a reservation. With online hotel booking, you will be interacting with chatbots or systems to complete your reservation.
Additionally, with online hotel booking, you may feel that you are forced to accept the results displayed by the system without having the chance to negotiate. Though you may also have a false perception that systems cannot think like their human counterparts, online hotel booking systems have thinking logic (or algorithms) embedded and knowing the logic is key to resolving the puzzle.
Booking systems as a product of technology have been programmed to make decisions based on customer situations, responses, and choices. Thus, you can safely assume and treat the systems as if they are real human beings.
For most travellers, getting a cheaper price on accommodation can be seen as one of the most important goals in trip planning. For your information, according to Craig Hewett from Wego, travellers spent most of their budget on accommodation rather than flight tickets. That's why getting a cheap room can reduce your travel costs drastically. By understanding the system's workflow, you can get cheaper prices and more options while booking hotels for your needs.
Craig Hewett pointed out the fact that majority of the hotels don't have their own online booking system. That's why hotels tend to let third-party hotel booking providers (you can call them Online Travel Agents) manage this part. Apart from this, through hotel booking apps, hotels can minimise and simplify the booking process, helping to increase hotel booking conversion rates by making guests' booking experiences smoother.
This mutual relationship between online travel agents and hotels benefits all parties. Hotels will have higher room occupancy whereas hotel booking apps will get more users. Lastly, travellers will certainly benefit from better price deals.
The above conditions give hotel booking providers strong reasons to come up with big promos and offers to attract more customers. Thus, instead of contacting a hotel directly, booking a hotel room through one of the hotel booking apps can get you some amazing deals, which also explains why hotel websites rarely post special offers.
That said, if the price difference is small for a room you found on the hotel's website versus on the online hotel booking app, booking directly via the hotel's reception is recommended.
If you are looking for some recommended hotel booking sites, you can try using those that have a large network of hotels as you can compare the prices, facilities etc of the different hotels.
2. Understanding Online Hotel Booking Systems
Back to the main topic, all online hotel booking systems have the same pattern that you can exploit. They adjust prices by calculating room availability. Let's assume that Hotel A has 100 rooms available and Hotel B has 50 rooms left. In this scenario, the system will show Hotel B with higher room rates and Hotel A with cheaper room prices.
To take advantage of this, you can plan your travel by avoiding the dates when the room availability may be low. You can also pick hotels with locations that are quite distant from favourite destinations, if transportation is not an issue, of course.
Planning your travel long before your designated date can be another option. This mechanism also applies for booking a flight ticket. You can get a much cheaper price if you book your tickets, for example, a year or 6-months before the D-day. This could probably change the behaviour of most travellers when booking hotels online. Plan ahead for less costly accommodation.
More and more online travel agents have also incorporated artificial intelligence, which is why the assumption that online booking systems do not have thinking logic may not be correct. The system is still able to make a decision by considering many variables of information, although it is not as complicated as the human brain. So, as a user, you should understand the ways machines think.
In the digital era, your personal data will be collected when booking hotels so that hotel booking apps can deliver a more targeted and tailored experience to you. Due to this, you may be concerned about data security and whether your personal data will be safe. Despite the fact that there are risks when using hotel booking apps, there are more benefits you can expect. For instance, hotel booking apps can send targeted promos and/or deals for the hotels you prefer to book straight to your email. This way, you can save time looking for promos yourself.
You can also make the hotel booking apps follow your interests by consistently searching for hotel rooms in the same price range. It will help you get push notifications or emails regarding offers that match that price range. It will save your time as well.
3. Rewards Program and Free Stay
Another way to book hotels at a cheaper price is through rewards program. For example, for Singaporeans, Expedia.com offers a reward to stay for seven nights if you've already spent $5,000, and 15 nights after spending $10,000. What a shiok offer!
Another trick is to try booking hotels at the last minute, though it is quite hard compared to booking hotels long in advance before the date of stay. For last-minute bidding, you need to quickly submit your own price, which means you may have to stay awake in front of your gadget. With higher risk, you may get a cheaper price than the special offer, or you may get a higher price than the normal one. Hence, you need to take extra precautions when opting for last-minute hotel booking.
As you know, some hotels are categorized as budget hotels. They focus on providing cheap accommodation. Most backpackers tend to choose this type of hotel. If you are concerned with your budget, you can search the name of a budget hotel and enter that in your online hotel booking apps too. Check the deals and compare them with other budget hotels.
Another unique thing about using online hotel booking apps is that you can get your desired hotel room and flight ticket in one package. By booking these two together, you can get a special price or discount that might help you save money. This feature is also helpful for making your own itinerary. Sometimes, when the arrival time and check-in time are far apart, travellers might not be able to check in to their room immediately upon arrival at the hotel property. Some travellers may choose to wait at the airport, which will be kind of sian, especially after a long flight. This also possibly increases your expenditure if you buy some food while waiting for your room to be vacant. As you know, there may not be cheap food in the airport.
There are a lot of other tips and tricks for getting a cheaper price, but it may not be so obvious for some travellers that there is a hidden "secret" behind online hotel booking apps that could possibly help them get cheaper prices. Lastly, some may still prioritise finding cheap flight tickets over hotel rooms despite the fact that choosing the right accommodation is key to saving money. So, what are you waiting for? Try and explore more online hotel booking apps.