Looking to find the best hotel for your vacation? Here you have the best Hotel booking tips that will help you understand how to find a cheap hotel online
Whether it is a short vacation in Prague or a road trip in Sicily, booking a hotel is a factor that will significantly affect whether you enjoy your trip.
Some would say that finding cheap deals for hotels abroad is an art in itself and requires a lot of skills, but this is not necessarily true.
The following guide will prove to you that anyone can save money by finding an equal hotel and saving a considerable amount of money on each trip.
This blog will try to help you in the process of booking a hotel and give you tips that can save you money and prevent mistakes along the way.
Do you want to book a hotel and do not know where to start?
What is the difference between Booking.com and Expedia?
I'm sure these are a small part of all the questions, and I admit, the world of tourism in general and hotels, in particular, is complicated.
If you think about it, it's hard to understand the logic behind it.
How can there be so many distribution channels for a single room in a hotel? And how can it be, and are there such significant price differences?
I will start by saying that there are hundreds, if not thousands of different sites, apps, and channels for booking hotels, but in this post, I will introduce you to some of the best-known sites for booking a hotel.
It can be tempting to look for all the hotels in the same destination, but you do not have to do that.
Come focused and think about the things in the hotel that you can not compromise. For example, hotel in the city center, free Wi-Fi, breakfast included in the price, or check-in 24/7.
Filter out hotels that do not meet these criteria, and from the remaining hotels, do another filter of, for example, hotels with bad reviews.
My recommendation: keep your four potential hotels and start searching for the cheapest price.
Do not panic, it may sound like a lot of work, but it is a process of a few minutes that can be done on one website.
Some search engines will show you hotels and indicate the rates on the website(Booking.com).
Others will show you hotels and indicate the different rates on leading sites(Trivago).
The difference is that booking through a search engine like Booking.com will be made within the website, as opposed to booking at a search engine like Trivago, which will be made at an external site to which you will be directed.
For example, if you found a hotel at a cheap price and you want to book it, Trivago will direct you to book at the same site.
As I have already said, it is advisable to use a price comparison engine to find the cheapest prices on booking sites.
However, it is important to know the various booking sites and what they offer.
Therefore, I have prepared for you a brief overview of the main booking sites that I usually use before I go on vacation or road trip:
Booking.Com is the number 1 site that most of you probably know and may have booked through in the past.
The most convenient site and, in my opinion, recommended for finding accommodations.
It has a variety of hotels, apartments, guest houses, etc., the information in it is most accessible to the reader, it has a large variety of images and all the details that are important to know.
Booking.com is without a doubt, the best search engine today.
Other sites have far fewer details, often also far fewer hotels, and almost always far fewer photos of the place. I always start my search in Booking.com.
One of the options in the search on Booking.com is to look for a combination of price and guest rating.
Many times the cheapest hotels are a bit problematic, and the most recommended hotels are expensive, so the system's attempt to combine them is very successful.
Booking.com has a loyalty program called GENIUS, where you get benefits based on your stay.
GENIUS Level 1 comes with bookings and stays at the hotel twice within two years.
This class gives a 10% discount on select accommodations.
GENIUS Level 2 is if you accumulate 5 stays within two years.
This class grants an additional 15% discount at select accommodations, free breakfasts, and a free room upgrade at some hotels.
In Agoda, you can book hotels, holiday apartments, flights, and shuttle services from various airports.
Agoda offers a "Best Price Guarantee".
As part of the policy, it offers to compare the price or give you credits in the association for the difference between the price you booked the room and the cheaper price you found.
Also, note that the cheapest room you found should be for the same dates and conditions you booked with Agoda.
Something worth getting to know is the Agoda POINTS MAX, which is the search engine that incorporates a rewards program that allows you to earn points for an invitation that you document in the association and choose 46 loyalty programs/rewards for your choice.
For example, when you sign up for the site, you can enter your frequent flier number on a particular airline like British Airways, and of course, you should check if the program you want participates in POINTS MAX.
When you get to the hotel search page, next to each type of room you will be listed how many points you will accumulate for each one, and the number of points may be added to the other considerations in choosing the hotel and the room.
In Expedia, you can also book hotels, flights, holiday apartments, packages, car rentals, cruises, etc.
In addition, it also offers ideas and information on sites, attractions, itineraries, and places to be at the destination you are looking for including booking tickets for performances at selected destinations.
Like other sites, email registration will allow you to book hotels at a discount of 10% and more.
Expedia has a rewards program called EXPEDIA REWARDS, in which they claim that their customers save about $ 35 on average on each order using points.
Similar to booking, there are 3 classes (blue, silver, and gold) with different benefits.
BLUE - By joining the program, you can enjoy a 10% discount and more on booking, and you can enjoy Expedia's price adjustment program, the Hotel price Guarantee.
SILVER - To get this status, you need to spend at least $ 5,000 a year or book at least 7 nights a year.
In this class, in addition to the blue class benefits, you get spa benefits and breakfasts, including additional discounts.
In addition, members of this class have priority in waiting for customer service.
GOLD - To reach this prestigious status, you must spend at least $ 10,000 a year or stay at least 15 nights a year in hotels booked through them.
In addition to the benefits of the blue and silver class, members of this class are entitled to an additional 30% points when booking hotels, free room upgrades when possible, and fast customer service.
Trivago is a convenient hotel comparison site that allows you to compare a variety of hotel booking sites such as Booking.com, Expedia, etc.
This way you can compare prices and choose the cheaper place to book.
In addition to its filtering options, there is an option to select a search of hotels at a certain distance from a landmark, such as from the city center and then the results you will get are only of hotels that are within a certain radius of the city center.
In the end, there is no single answer, and it could very well be that you are looking for a hotel on Thursday, you will enter from the home computer, and the cheapest price will be on Booking.com, and on Sunday you will enter from the mobile device and the cheapest price will be in Agoda.
Prices vary depending on the surfing device, the surfer's location, day of the week, time of day, surfing history, loyalty program, availability of rooms with the same provider, and more.
When you find the cheapest price, look at other parameters.
For example, you might find a room on a website 10% cheaper than another site, but a closer look will show that on a website where the hotel is cheaper is without the possibility of cancellation, and therefore the room is cheaper.
When comparing prices, note that the parameters are the same.
If the prices on all the sites are similar, it is better to book through the website where you have booked previous times, especially if on the same website you are a member of a particular loyalty program (like Genius of Booking.com).
Most often, the cheapest prices of hotels will be available at least half a year in advance.
Therefore, it is advisable to start planning your trip as long as possible in advance and start booking the hotels as soon as you have the flight tickets.
The more flexible your search at times, the more likely you are to find cheaper hotels on some dates over others.
Therefore, look for sites where you can do a flexible search.
Keep in mind that flights and hotels during the hot summer seasons, during the holidays, and on weekends will be more expensive compared to the low seasons of the rest of the year.
This gap can save you a lot, especially if you are flying as a family.
Another thing is that sometimes it is worth staying in a hotel outside of the city center if your destination has efficient and cheap transportation. Or maybe even in rural accommodation outside the city, especially if you feel like walking, or renting a car, and not just settle for urban attractions.
Also, many times, small hotels, family hostels, and hostels will be flexible in price from the moment you physically reach them, and you will be able to get along with the owners, who are usually on the spot, unlike the chains of large hotels.
If you are unsure whether to book a particular hotel, you may want to check if it is possible to book it with a cancellation option.
Many hotels provide the option to cancel the reservation a few days before the date of arrival at the hotel.
So, if you find a better deal, you can cancel the reservation and exchange it for a more affordable price - no matter if the price is at your hotel or a hotel nearby.
In any case, you should book a hotel with a cancellation option, and about a month before the arrival date, check the price again.
It's recommended to check the hotel prices you have already booked and also hotels in the immediate area.
You may find a good hotel close to the one you booked at a more attractive price.
Did you have travel insurance?
Does it include cancellation coverage for accommodation due to a medical condition?
If so, you can get a better deal. When you are closed on your dates, you can exchange your order for an order without a cancellation option, which is cheaper.
So, if you have to cancel your vacation, God forbid, you will get the money.
Make sure you order the new order and only then cancel the previous order, which you made with the cancellation option.
There are quite a few options for booking a hotel, and a load of information and supply can cause us confusion and even frustration.
Some of you probably have a favorite site you always book from, but you can open your mind to more options that can be no less good and even cheaper.
Make a list of what is important to you on your trip.
It is very tempting to sit in front of the computer and start looking for hotels, but I recommend a moment before you even open the computer, take a notebook and a pen (possibly in Notes on mobile) and make a list.
What do I mean? It's nice to list that you want a five-star hotel with a private pool from the room, but there is also a reality and it is not always possible.
So what exactly do I recommend writing in that list? Preferences, needs, and desires;
Family composition: how many people? What ages? What type of room and composition of beds will you need accordingly, whether a baby cot is required, whether you prefer a bath or shower, etc.
Location: Do you want a hotel in the city center or outside it but close to public transportation? Is a quiet location important to you?
Budget: Do you have a budget? Note that when you write the budget item on the list, it is only about the accommodation budget and not the other trip items such as transportation, shopping, etc.
Type of accommodation: Are you looking for a hotel on an all-inclusive basis? Or maybe a B&B is for you?
Cancellation Policy: Are you a "risk lover" and prefer to pay less but know that you will not receive a refund for cancellation? Or are you just looking for accommodations that will give a full refund for cancellation?
Facilities: What is important for you to have in the hotel? For example, a pool, free parking, gym, kids club, etc.
Also what is important for you to have in the room? Kitchenette or minibar? Hair dryer, etc
Club member: Do you have a club member in one of the airlines' clubs or a loyalty program on one of the booking sites like Genius on Booking.com.
Today there is no shortage of information online about wherever you want to be, whether it's on the website or across the network and social networks.
My recommendation: do not settle for the reviews you read on the site where you intend to place the reservation, but "go out" and read reviews about the same hotel from another 2-3 websites.
Also, get into relevant groups on social media.
From experience, do not be ashamed to contact people who have posted recommendations on social networks. Usually, people respond positively to sharing information.
Please note that there is a difference between the hotel's star rating and visitor rating.
Hotel star rating comes from various organizations around the world.
The second rating talks about the average score received by that hotel according to the visitors' rating.
A particular hotel may receive 5 stars because it has large rooms, a spa, bathrobes in the room, and is located on an upscale boulevard - and all this meets the standard of a 5-star hotel, but in reviews, it received a score of 7.2 (which is considered low).
The hotel may be of good quality, with a spa and pool and a hairdryer in the room, and the most luxurious bed in the world. But, the service is not pleasant, there is a lot of noise from the pub near the hotel, not the cleanest and other factors.
One last and no less important thing, when you read user reviews, pay attention and distinguish between objective and subjective reviews.
When you have a list of needs, desires and preferences, do not skimp on the use of search filters (if it exists on the site where you place an order).
On a good website you can filter by place rating, the number of stars, location, room type, facilities, location, type of accommodation, price, etc.
The more you narrow the search to the properties you want, the shorter and more efficient your choice of hotel will be.
Be careful not to filter too much. For example, do not filter five-star hotels because you think they are more expensive than your budget, but a certain hotel may offer your dates rates that are similar to four-star hotels.
Congratulations, you have found the hotel you want to book!
You have gone through the first part, and now you are moving on to the second part, where you need to pay close attention to what you are booking, what you are paying for, and what you will receive.
Usually, we do not pay attention to all the conditions when choosing a hotel, but it is important to know.
Price: Check whether the price shown includes taxes, municipal taxation, and additional payments.
Also, please note that the price may change (usually increase) during the booking process.
It's normal, and it happens because the inventory displayed by the sites is built on systems that extract data in real-time from hotels and other providers. So it will often be impossible to "lock" the price while you are looking at it and not yet booked.
Payment terms: note whether the charge is made at the time of the booking. If there is a deposit or all payments done at the hotel at check-in or check-out.
Is the payment charged by the website where you made the reservation or by the hotel?
Currency: Even if you looked at the prices of hotels in US dollars, you may be obligated in another currency.
If the hotel is in Europe, you may charge in Euros.
Cancellation and Refund Policy: Please carefully check the cancellation policy of the room you are booking. It's not always black or white.
Also, check what refund you get in case you cancel, from who you get the refund, and how much time.
Check-in and check-out: light lands at 23:00 while the check-in was at 14:00 noon, you may be required to update the hotel on your late arrival to avoid a No Show situation (where the hotel concludes that no You have arrived and canceled your order).
If you arrive at the hotel at 8:00 in the morning, while check-in is at 14:00, you may ask the hotel for early check-in or at least a place to store your luggage.
Rooms: hotels usually have different names for each type of room, and the same room will be called by a different name on the hotel website compared to another booking site.
In case of any questions, I recommend contacting the hotel and making sure.
Composition of beds: pay attention to whether it is a double bed, two separate beds, a sofa bed, etc.
There will be bookings where you will see a lower rate, but for the reason that you are giving the hotel a free hand to choose the type of beds in the room.
If it suits you perfectly, and if not, then be careful not to choose the same rate.
Meals: please note the differences between a reservation where meals are included in the room rate. And a reservation where the hotel offers meals but are at an additional cost at the hotel.
Do you know all the messages written in red on your screen while you are making the booking?
For example, "only one more room left" or "452 people are looking at the room at the moment"?
Personally, I will say that I do not know if these statements are true, and in the past, there have been people who have tried (and some have succeeded) to prove these statements are not true.
My recommendation: on the one hand, is to ignore it and not let it stress you out, but on the other hand, also not to procrastinate if you have found something you like and want to order.
I have already said that at the end of the day each hotel has a limited stock of rooms, also the prices vary from moment to moment and until you finish the booking they may go up.
You have probably come across sites that offer you the Best Price Guarantee more than once or twice.
Quite a few sites offer this, for example, Booking.com, Agoda, etc.
There are sites where it is called by creative names and slogans such as "We compare the price" for example, on booking.com.
As part of this offer, most sites will allow you to receive a refund (in cash or credit for using the site) if you found the same order at another booking site at a cheaper price than the price you ordered from them.
The conditions under which you can receive a refund:
*same type of room
*same cancellation policy
The conditions under which you will not receive a refund:
*None of the above conditions are met
*You purchased the original room using a loyalty program benefit or rewards
*If you purchased the hotel as part of a package
*A certain amount of time has passed since the time of booking or before check-in
*Another important condition is that the alternative and cheaper offer you have brought should be available at the time of testing of that site (which can be problematic because inventory and order prices change every second).
* Read the "best price" policy offered by each site.
An example where you will not receive a refund:
You booked a deluxe room with a sea view and a double bed for $ 221 at the Hilton Greece Hotel. After a week, you found the same deluxe room on another site for $ 211. But, the room in the new booking you found was with the composition of twin beds (instead of a double bed as in the original booking).
Finally, if you tell me to summarize and give my three tips for a successful hotel booking:
*Book through a reputable and reliable site with good reviews, like Booking.com or Agoda.
Do price comparisons between different sites and services but do not go crazy.
*In the end, if you think about it, Hotel X has Y rooms and even though the same Y rooms are distributed in dozens if not hundreds of different sites, probably the price differences between sites will not be very significant.
Do not forget that our time is worth money and as we deepen in comparison and expand the search, we can spend a lot of precious time on it.
*Make a list, use the search filters, and read all the details up to and including the small print of the order.
But most importantly, do not forget to take it easy and with pleasure, because there is nothing more fun than preparing for a vacation.
In most cases, the prices everywhere are more or less the same. For some people, the many options for booking hotels and all the abundance there can be frustrating and take the thrill out of the experience.
So enjoy it, after all, you are going on vacation.
Hopefully, I was able to help, and the main thing is that you will have a great trip.
Read My Other Blogs:
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2 weeks in sicily: the perfect sicily road trip