Hotel Booking Secrets You Need to Know
Some say book well in advance yet others say book last minute but the truth is, there is no set time to book a hotel that will guarantee you the best deal. Hotel prices fluctuate for various reasons but supply and demand is the main factor. This means you will always have the dilemma of “should you book early to avoid disappointment?” or “should you wait until last minute to receive a discount?”.
Well, only you can make that decision and if you really, really want to stay in a specific hotel, then you will need to decide whether you risk missing out by waiting last minute or guarantee your room by booking early! If you are not bothered which hotel you stay in, then you will be in a much better position to find the best deals.
However, whichever ever way you choose to book your hotel room, there are certain things you need to know before booking your hotel, that can save you money and ensure you receive the most for the money you spend!
It’s crazy but you often forget the very basics and common sense when booking a hotel and this is usually through excitement, anxiety or being rushed. Here are a few simple basic pointers to help you when booking your hotel.
- Never Book The First Hotel Deal You see
Never think for one minute that hotel prices are the same across the board! It is staggering to see the difference in price between companies, agencies and websites for the exact same hotel room, on the exact same day! Just like any commodity being promoted or sold by several different companies at once, the price changes and this means that you should never book the first price you see!
- Don’t Be Fooled By Star Rating
One thing you should realise is that the star rating of a hotel is awarded for the facilities that the hotel provides and not for its cleanliness, comfort or quality. This means that although a hotel has a 4 or 5 star rating, it does not mean that it is cleaner or better quality than a 3 star hotel. There is no set rating system throughout the world which means that star ratings vary depending on which country you are in and often countries, local governments, travel organisations and travel companies can be biased when awarding the star ratings! In some countries, the star rating of a hotel can be awarded by the hotel owners themselves!
- Shop Around
Yes, I know this may sound totally obvious but it is amazing how many people don’t do this and book the first hotel they see. As a result, they then find that they have paid far more for their hotel than they should have. There is nothing more annoying when you arrive at a hotel and start to hear other guests saying how much they paid for the exact same room as you and them telling you they paid much less than you paid!
Booking.com – Expedia – Trivago – ebookers – hotels.com –
- Check Reviews
Now I myself think reviews can be both a good thing and bad and I always say you should be sensible and use common sense when you are reading reviews. The good side about review sites such as Tripadvisor, is that the majority of reviews are left from independent travellers who leave good honest reviews along with ‘true’ up to date pictures that have not been enhanced. This then provides a true reflection of the standard and quality of the hotel. However, the bad side about these review websites and something you should take into consideration when reading reviews, is that ‘anyone’ can post a review and yes, this means that the Hoteliers themselves, friends of the hoteliers can post reviews! It also means that the Hoteliers competitors can post reviews and people who may hold a grudge against the hotel can post reviews!
- Call The Hotels Direct Number
If you want to call the hotel and speak with a member of the Sales team or one of the management staff, ensure you call the hotel direct on their direct telephone number and not through their ‘National’ number. If you call the hotels National telephone number, you will probably be directed to the central reservation team and they will offer you the set ‘rate card’ price for the hotel room. If you call the hotel directly and speak with a member of staff at the hotel, they are more likely to negotiate, which then means you are in a much better position to get a better deal.
- Beat The Commission
When a hotel room is booked through an agency or online website, the hotel then has to pay a commission to the agency for the booking. This commission can be as much as 30%, so if you offer the hotel 20% less than the price the agency or online website is offering, it is a better deal for both parties.
- Independent Hotels Better Discounts
Smaller independent hotels are more likely to offer you a discount. Many of the larger hotel chains have a standard rate and are more reluctant to lower their prices. The employees of the larger hotel chains may not be in a position to authorise a discount themselves. Smaller independent or family run hotels are in a better position to lower their rate at any time.
If you want a free upgrade, never ask for one at the reception when other guests are around because the chances are, you will not get one. If other guests at the hotel see or hear you are receiving an upgrade, to a bigger room, room with a pool view or with better facilities, they will want one too! If you want an upgrade, you will be in a much better position and will be more likely to receive one, if you ask when there are no other guests around!
- Use The Same Hotel
- A Small Tip Goes A Very Long Way
Remember, the majority of staff working in the hotel will be on a minimum wage and some even rely on tips to make up their wage. A small tip or gesture will certainly encourage them to be more helpful to you and in return may just help swing those extras your way!
- Stay Out Of Town
It’s not rocket science to work out that the hotels in the major cities, towns and resorts will be much higher in price than the ones out of the centre. So, if you do not need to be based in the centre of the city, town or resort, then it may be worth your while taking a look at hotels that are located a mile or two out of the centre. Being a little flexible in your location can save you a substantial amount of money. However, although it may seem cheap at first, you should factor in any costs you may incur travelling to and from your hotel to the places you wish to visit during your stay. If you intend hiring a car whilst you are away, then this can work very well for you and the money you save on your hotel, will probably pay for your car hire!
- Book Early
Now, although waiting to book your hotel can be advantageous, there are some times when booking your hotel needs to be done as soon as possible. If you are going to an event such as a concert, festival or football match where a large number of other people are going, the chances are the demand for hotel rooms is going to be high. This then results in the prices for hotels rooms increasing, especially as the hotel rooms sell out or nearer the time of the event. Hotels are not stupid and will know about all the major events that are scheduled for the year and this means that their rooms will be priced accordingly. If you are planning to visit a major event and wish to find the best deals for a hotel room, it is advisable to book your room as soon as possible to save money and avoid disappointment of there not being any availability.
- Avoid Major Events
As we mentioned previously, trying to book a hotel room when a major event is on, can be difficult and costly. However, if you intend visiting a destination and are flexible with your dates, it is a good idea to check to see whether there are any major events scheduled and if so, avoid going during those periods. Visiting a destination out of season or during a period when there are no events on can save you a lot of money.
- Secret Hotel Deals
A number of websites are now offering ‘Secret Hotel Deals’ and these are offered on the basis that you book a hotel but don’t actually know which hotel it will be. You will be allocated a hotel in your chosen area but you will not be told that name of the hotel until after your booking has been confirmed. Most of these deals are for 4&5 star hotels because these hotels do not like to broadcast their deals. However, although they do not name the hotel before you book, they do provide you with a description of your hotel and this means that you can generally work out which hotel it will be before you book!
Tip: If you see one of the ‘Secret Hotel’ deals and would like to book but would like to try and find which hotel you will probably get allocated, here is a great way to do so.
Each secret hotel deal offers a description of the hotel and this allows you to do a little research of your own. Most of these description are generic description and are taken from the hotels website or other Marketing documentation for the hotel. This means that many other websites as well as the hotel itself will be using it too to advertise the hotel!
Simply ‘Copy’ the description and then go to Google and ‘Paste’ the description into the Google Search bar and click search. This will then return a number of results that match the description.