Finding a good hotel and making a reservation can be stressful, especially when you are looking for a last-minute room or a room that can accommodate a large family. With the increasing number of hotels accepting online bookings, it is important to know how to use the new tools to compare prices and services in order to find the solution that best suits your needs. Even if you have never booked a hotel room before, you can do it easily if you are methodical.
Finding a good hotel
Determine your budget
Before you start looking for a hotel to make a reservation, you must make sure that the hotel you choose meets all your needs and fits your budget. First of all, you must prepare your budget or the amount of money you are willing to spend. This will help you refine your search and make it faster.
Do you have a rather limited budget that does not allow you to pay for your hotel nights? It may be useful to define both a travel expense limit and another budget that focuses exclusively on hotel accommodation. Having limited funds does not necessarily mean that you will sleep in a cheap and shabby hotel. In reality, discounts are offered to those living on a small budget.
On the other hand, you could take a business trip and be able to issue an invoice for the total amount of your stay on behalf of your company. In such cases, an affordable rate would not be a priority for you.
Take into account other details related to your stay
Do you need a room that can accommodate your family of four or are you looking for a simple room for yourself? Consider the space of the rooms, including the number of beds and bathrooms available. If you are travelling with your wife and children, you may need two large beds and a spacious bathroom. If you are travelling alone, a single bed and a medium-sized bathroom may be sufficient.
If you have a disability, it may be important to keep this in mind when doing your research. Many facilities specify whether they are equipped to accommodate disabled visitors in wheelchairs or whether they offer a special service for their disabled customers. If you wish, you can explicitly call the hotel to get this information.
You might also consider if you want to stay in a hotel that has a spa and fitness centre or if you don’t need any additional equipment. If you need an excellent Internet connection, consider hotels that offer Wifi connection in their rates.
If you are travelling with your family or with many people, you may want to consider booking a suite with a living room and a separate bedroom so that everyone can be accommodated without having to deal with space and privacy issues.
Identify the ideal place
Sometimes, the location of the hotel could be a fundamental choice criterion, even more important than the budget or the services available to guests. For example, you might be interested in hotels located near the location of a work party or conference you are attending or you might be looking for a hotel within walking distance of a specific tourist attraction. You may prefer a downtown location that will allow you to easily visit the city’s neighbourhoods or you may choose a more isolated area that will allow you to enjoy the calm and nature while travelling to other high-traffic areas.
In general, the ideal location will be based on the type of trip you want to make. For business travel, your priority would be to stay close to the location of the conferences or meetings you need to attend.
If you are travelling for pleasure, you can consider a hotel a short distance from the most important monuments to visit or an establishment that offers bike or car rental, so that you can easily travel.
Do an online search
The fastest way to find a hotel that suits your needs is to use one of the many online booking sites. These platforms allow you to specify the date of your trip, your length of stay, your ideal location and the facilities you consider necessary. You can also specify your budget.
Once you enter all this information on a booking site, several options will be displayed. You will be able to choose your hotel based on the prices offered, for example, from the cheapest to the most expensive or you can also use a free online mapping service to determine which establishments are closest to a particular area.
Remember that some of these sites try to omit information such as additional fees charged to customers. Before making your choice, please read all the small print related to the price and services offered.
Some organisations and associations offer their members the possibility to book hotels at special rates. In this case, you should contact the institution in question to obtain all the necessary information.
Compare different institutions
There are special platforms that allow you to compare the different prices offered by certain institutions to facilitate your research. All you will have to do is specify your travel date and budget. These sites will carefully explore a variety of databases and present a list of hotels that best meet your needs and offer lower prices or discounts.
It is also important to read the comments left by clients who have stayed in the facility you are considering. Often, these comments can give you an overall idea of the hotel’s cleanliness level, the quality of customer service and the services offered. You will sometimes see asterisk scores assigned to each hotel based on the overall customer experience. Then, you can evaluate the reviews, location and rates for each hotel to determine the establishment that best meets your needs.
Note that some hotel comparators require visitors to book their rooms before they know exactly where they want to stay. Always read the fine print before booking a hotel room so as not to be surprised by restrictions or stipulations.
Call the hotel for a better rate
Sometimes, a simple phone call to the hotel reception desk can allow you to negotiate a lower price or make a last-minute reservation. You can also get a better idea of the customer service offered as you talk to the hotel staff and ask some specific questions. If possible, call in the evening, as hotel receptionists are usually very busy in the morning and afternoon. It may be useful to ask some of these questions.
- Does the hotel have a bar or restaurant? Is breakfast included in the room rates?
- Are there single rooms for non-smokers?
- Is the hotel located close to public transport? Do you offer transportation services such as bike rentals?
- How far is the facility from a specific region or location, for example, the beach, convention centre or downtown?
- Which rooms offer a better view or a more pleasant stay?
- Is the hotel located in a secure area?
- Are there any special services for people with disabilities?
- What are the conditions for cancelling a reservation?
Make the reservation
Book your room online
Once you have chosen the hotel that best suits your needs, you can make your reservation online on the hotel complex’s website. You will need to provide basic information such as your name, first name and the duration of your trip.
Alternatively, you can make your reservations by calling the hotel by phone. As suggested above, you should try to call late at night and not in the morning when the receptionists are very busy.
If you want to benefit from a special offer, for example when travelling in groups for a meeting or a wedding, the best thing to do is to call the hotel directly to talk to the receptionist. Many establishments do not advertise group rates directly online, but they can offer you affordable rates if you contact them by phone.
Pay by credit card
Most hotels that offer the possibility of booking rooms online require payment by credit card. For a business trip, you can use your company’s credit card to pay for your reservation.
Check to see if your preferred hotel is in partnership with one of the credit card companies of which you are a member in order to benefit from any additional discount. Similarly, many associations are in partnership with hotels that can offer reduced rates.
For an extended stay, you may have to pay for the first two or three nights in advance and then cover the rest of your stay upon arrival. Then, you may have to provide your credit card number during the booking process and pay your bills when you leave the hotel.
Confirm your room reservation
To ensure that your room has been booked, you can print a receipt at the end of the online booking. Similarly, you can ask the hotel to send you a receipt as proof of payment if you have made the reservation by phone.
Read your invoice carefully
The purpose is to check that the dates of your stay and the agreed rates for overnight stays are correct. The hotel must specify all regulatory fees before you can pay for the room or make a reservation. The hotel should be able to explain any additional costs, such as cleaning or parking, so that you are not surprised when you leave.