Booking hotels online for dummies is a no-brainer. You need patience, persistence and perseverance to get the best hotel price through the right website.
Perhaps this is your very first time booking a hotel online. A sense of awkwardness is expected, especially since you have never done so before. Even if you are not a millennial or just more into old-school, be prepared. There is nothing wrong with stepping out of your comfort zone. You will love this.
So, what is booking a hotel room online for dummies like?
1. 6 Simple Steps When It Comes To Booking Hotels Online
Online hotel booking is easy. With just a few clicks, you can see a variety of options before deciding. Still, for first-timers, things can get overwhelming. Where do they start? What to do next? How to bargain?
For starters, note down those questions and the answers too. After that, here are six (6) simple steps to help you with cheap hotel bookings:
Set the suitable filters
There are four (4) factors to consider when you set your filters:
- Hotel price
- Hotel rating
- Equipment requirements
- Other personal preferences
You may also exclude motels and apartments if hotels are your preference. It will help you to save time and energy. You will not be too overwhelmed by so many choices and buttons to click before you.
In some countries, you also need to be aware of hidden extras behind the already quoted price — for example, transient occupancy taxes.
Directly check with the hotel
Some hotel booking sites may include details regarding the hotel rooms offered. For example: whether the family room has four beds or a sofa bed.
Still, you can also directly check with the hotel of your choice. It includes additional information for guests with special needs, for example, if you are travelling with a family member on a wheelchair.
Another benefit of checking with the hotel directly is to have your name remembered. You will be more well-known if you book the same hotel next holiday. Use the hotel booking app like WorldRoamer to help you to find hotels and other places at your destination.
Beware of the common tricks
In some cases, some hotels get themselves listed as ‘higher-priced’ on hotel booking websites through premium memberships. There is nothing wrong with that strategy. This is how they attract more travellers.
However, this does not mean you should second-guess other options with ‘lower prices’ on the list. Some portals rely on such inviting keywords such as “in high demand” or “one more room left”. That is how hotels encourage people to book right away.
Still, do not be so kiasu about it. If you lose one, you can still get another. Another good strategy that you can try is to choose rooms in other categories. Perhaps you need a few bucks more, but that is okay lah. What matters is that you get the room that you need.
Make a comparison between portals and prices
With so many hotel booking sites around, you will probably go: “Alamak!”. It is normal to feel overwhelmed as a first-timer. Still, you need to make a comparison between portals and hotel prices. That way, you get a clearer picture regarding the possible good deals ahead.
To avoid more confusion, only focus on the search for hotels closer to the destination for your next holiday.
Pay attention to additional costs
Despite the cheap hotel room, pay attention to additional costs. Are drinks and meals included – or do you only get free breakfast? Some hotels do not even post the extras until you get the bill.
Other things to note down include lower prices during weekdays that are better instead of weekends. If certain special events take place, like a fair or some annual celebration in the city, hotel prices tend to go up. Those are the times when tourists usually flood the scene.
The good thing is, you get to save some money if you book without an option to cancel it.
Double-check or triple-check the booking
There are things you need to check several times before completing your hotel booking. These include dates of travel, names, conditions that make you cancel the booking, and whether extra requests are included in the final price when booking a hotel room.
Just like WorldRoamer.com, make sure that the hotel booking app consists of these three (3) things:
- The website’s company name
- The company’s legal status
- The website’s commercial register number
If the website has these three (3) things, then you can relax. It is safe to trust them when it comes to online hotel booking.
2. Never Book at The Last Minute Unless You Are Ready For The Consequences
According to Elaine Glusac in her article in the New York Times, booking a hotel room online at the last minute is never wise. Whether you are a newbie or a more experienced traveller, you should never go down that road.
Unless, of course, you are ready to go down that road. In some cases, there are hotel rooms that get cancelled at the last minute. This is where you play sort of a hotel room roulette. Your flexibility is required.
You have to be ready, though. Sometimes you get the best room at a lower price, other times you end up not knowing where to sleep at night. If you are not ready for this possibility, skip this step for now. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Here are some of her suggestions related to hotel booking:
Join the hotel’s loyalty program
Other than contacting the hotel directly, you can also do this. It includes signing in to receive “email blasts” from the hotel.
The pros: You get to be one of the first to receive important information. For example, discounts, promotions, and other interesting offers for your next holiday.
The cons: This may not be much unless you have a problem with having to keep your email tidy. Chances are you may feel slightly annoyed at a constant flood of notifications in your inbox while you are not on holiday. Alamak!
Book in advance
If you are a first-time traveller booking hotels online, you will hear this from many experienced and expert travellers.
The pros: Known by many experienced travellers, doing this will save you a great deal of money and time. Plus, you may snag the best room possible before other people.
The cons: Of course, this means you should stick to your holiday plan. If something happens and you change it, you might lose a lot of money – that is, if your booking type is prepaid and non-refundable.
Give mystery hotels a try
Some hotel booking sites offer alternative options close to your destination and the main hotel of your choice. The trick is this: they do not name the hotels. They only offer the lowest prices and location.
The pros: Cannot get the hotel close to your main holiday destination? It is okay, lah. You can choose its neighbour location — no need to go siao over it.
The cons: It will be like buying a cat in a gunny sack. You will not know the name of the hotel until the D-day. Chances are you may not like the hotel. Unfortunately, it is non-refundable.
Do a room-scalping
A traveller’s cancelled room might be a blessing in disguise to another. That is the case with room-scalping. You can book another traveller’s non-refundable room they do not get to use. Some hotels do that.
The pros: You can vary your searches into “weekends” or “next months” for this. Chances are you get the best room with the deepest discounts. Your holiday budget will not suffer that much.
The cons: Not all offers are discounted, so beware of hits and misses regarding the dates.
3. Engine Searches You Can Rely On
Google and Amazon are two goliath techs that still rule the digital world, especially in terms of online hotel bookings. Google was a runner-up in this category after Expedia. Meanwhile, Amazon has just started an online travel business.
There are other search engines too, but what matters is which one you trust. For starters, you can rely on the one you use regularly. If Google is the answer, then go for it.
However, Amazon is slowly catching up. Although not as open as Google, Amazon is also slowly working on better, more user-friendly searches that vary.
Once you have found the hotel booking websites and hotel official websites that you prefer, put them on bookmarks. That will also save you time when you plan your next holiday. Perhaps the same hotel has other branches everywhere, so you can benefit from the official site too.
4. The Conclusion
Booking hotels online for dummies is easy. You need patience, persistence, and perseverance to get the best hotel price through the right website.