8 Things You Didn’t Know About Online Hotel Booking

Booking your stay online is often an easy and hassle-free process. Some travellers, however, seem to think that they have a greater negotiating power and seek additional freebies. Booking a hotel stay online has its own advantages. The deals and discounts that a discerning traveller can get on a booking website will more than make up for the freebies.

Here are 8 things to look out for when booking your hotel stay online –

  1. Plan ahead and wait for deals – Planning a vacation well ahead of time provides you one great advantage. You have the time to wait for deals on online hotel booking. Most hotels and travel websites offer seasonal deals and these could be quite a steal. You may also be able to avail of packages that include airport transfer, meals, and spa coupons in such deals.

  2. Compare prices on different websites – Before booking your stay always compare prices on different websites. The tariff for a Garden View Suite at The LaLiT Golf & Spa Resort Goa, for example, may vary considerably on different hotel booking websites. It is also possible that the hotel’s own website may be offering a discount on bookings. It is important to do your own comparison and not depend on web engines.

  3. Read the cancellation policy – Before booking your stay online, it is important to comb through the cancellation policy. Quite often hotels and booking websites allow visitors to cancel without a cancellation fee if the stay is still about 3 weeks later. The closer you cancel to your stay date, the more cancellation fee you may have to pay.

  4. Last minute booking may help – Generally visitors avoid booking at the last minute for fear that tariff hikes are imminent. Last minute bookings, however, place you at an advantage. When hotel occupancy is low, online tariff is often slashed. This discounted fare may not apply to those booking in person. Another advantage is that last minute booking may open up a free upgrade deal on the website.

  5. Look for hotel stars, not website ratings – There are certain things that you will need to carefully look through before booking your hotel stay online. The ratings of the hotel, usually denoted by number of stars, may not be indicative of the star of the hotel. This means that a four-star hotel may have 3 stars against its name on a booking website and this will merely denote the rating given by users to that hotel. This is a difference you must look out for.

  6. Read user reviews, not just descriptions – Hotel descriptions and pictures are very useful when it comes to understanding the services and amenities on offer. These also give us an idea about the views and the location of the hotel. The actual service, hygiene, quality of food, etc. may, however, be better revealed by the reviews of guests who have stayed there.

  7. Look for convenient check-in slots – Travelers booking through websites often do not find an option for late check-in. Any delay in check-in could cause you to lose your booking. Fortunately, there is a convenient fix for this problem. Once you have a confirmed booking, call the hotel and ask them to keep your room ready for a late arrival. Hotels are often glad to comply with this or any other requests (such as dietary restrictions) when informed in advance.

  8. Flexibility in payment options – Many hotels offer a number of payment options particularly when it comes to online bookings. One of the greatest advantages of booking through a website is that it also offers coupons that can be redeemed against future bookings. Look for conversion of credit card points or add to your frequent flyers points when booking through the website.