Whether you travel solo for years or like to indulge in a retreat every now and then, vacations and leisure travel are always a good idea! The range of absolutely unexpected, wild and exciting experiences coupled with the curiosity to discover a new place. It doesn’t matter if it’s a well-planned family trip or an impulsive solo trip, as a traveler there are some things you just can’t compromise.
Whether you travel solo for years or like to indulge in a retreat every now and then, vacations and leisure travel are always a good idea! The range of absolutely unexpected, wild and exciting experiences coupled with the curiosity to discover a new place. It doesn’t matter if it’s a well-planned family trip or an impulsive solo trip, as a traveler there are some things you just can’t compromise. Planning your itinerary, finding the cheapest airline tickets, and finding the best hotel with exclusive deals is a standard process. While there are fewer surprises when traveling by plane, the same cannot be said for accommodation.
Choosing the perfect hotel room is often what makes or breaks the vacation experience. No one wants to be in a shady place with terrible customer service while they’re away to relax. Your hotel room doubles as a home for as long as you are on vacation. Therefore, it is important to find a comfortable and comfortable place. Using the Internet, you can view, compare and book hotel rooms and resorts online before you arrive. But once again, everything has its flaws! Even though online reservations are hardly ever canceled, the reality may be very different from your expectations. In this blog, we are going to cover the 11 things you should check before booking a hotel online.
Location is perhaps the most important factor when making a hotel reservation. If you’ve already planned a route, be sure to look for centrally located hotels that are easily accessible. When booking, be sure to check your hotel’s distance from local tourist sites. After all, you don’t want to spend hours stuck in traffic while on vacation. If you are traveling with your family, check the area with a friend or colleague who has visited the place before. It’s also a great way to get referrals and save money. Also, before you go, print out a map or save Google’s location offline – this will come in handy in an emergency. In addition, the ride is always more pleasant when you know where you are going without any detour.
It’s no secret that vacations are expensive! Therefore, ask any traveler and they will tell you to compare hotel prices before you book. Prices, packages, policies and promotions vary depending on the website and the date of your trip. To benefit from the best offer, it is preferable to book directly on the hotel’s website. Since there is no online travel agent or commission involved, direct bookings are generally cheaper. You can also get an upgrade or free breakfast when you book through the hotel’s website. If you are a student, you will find many hotels that will be happy to give you a special discount. If you are looking for more than 3 days, you can call the property and ask for a special offer or even a free stay for the 4th night. Using cashback, discount codes, and referrals can also help you save money.
3. Cancellation policy
As a traveler, before confirming a reservation for a hotel or rental property, review the cancellation policy. This ensures that if you change or cancel your travel plans, you won’t lose money. Reading the fine print of the cancellation policy saves you money, time and stress. Most hotels offer a 24 hour cancellation policy. This means that you can cancel at any time. However, various other properties have terms such as a 72 hour cancellation policy. Some hotels even charge a cancellation fee, while others offer free cancellations up to a point.
Even if you use an online travel agency or aggregation sites, don’t ignore the terms and conditions. These websites often have a dedicated filter that allows you to book hotels with “free cancellation”. This will prevent you from paying cancellation fees for last minute changes.
4. Hotel reviews
According to a recent survey, it was found that 91% of 18-34 year olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This data is proven by the popularity of review websites like Yelp, Google Maps and TripAdvisor among travelers. Whether you are leaving for a short stay or planning your next job from home, it is essential that you read online reviews properly before making payments or reservations online. Check the date of stay and profiles to confirm that the reviews are genuine. It is best to read 5-10 reviews, both positive and negative, before making the decision to book. This will help you learn more about customer service, cleanliness and the general atmosphere. Negative reviews will prepare you for the typical complaints and challenges you might encounter. It is best to avoid booking hotels or rental properties without photos or reviews.
5. Hotel payment policies
Depending on where you are going, the hotel’s payment policies will be different. However, a common practice followed by most hotels and properties is to retain your credit card for security deposits upon check-in. But since the digital revolution, a large number of hotels and rental properties have started accepting payments online. If you use online travel agencies, you have the option to pay and book or pay when checking in. Although it can be advantageous if you want to book online in advance. But if you want to get the best bang for your buck, put payments on hold until you’ve reached ownership. Another common practice when checking in at the hotel you have booked is to verify your name and ID. Although with newer cloud-based property management systems like Hotelogix, guests can use the option of contactless check-in and skip reception altogether. Also, keep in mind that some hotels only accept credit cards and not debit cards, so it’s a good idea to check ahead.
6. Time of arrival and departure
Before making a reservation, make sure you know if the front desk is open 24 hours a day. This is especially useful if you are arriving early in the morning or late at night. If you anticipate flight delays or get stuck in traffic, it’s best to know about late check-in requirements. However, if you plan to come earlier, ask about room availability. Depending on occupancy, some hotels will allow you to check in earlier if the room is ready. However, if the room is occupied you may have to wait until the guest is gone and housekeeping has done their job. It is also recommended to check whether the hotel or property charges a fee for late check-out. If you are booking using an online travel agent, be sure to coordinate your arrival time with the property manager using their contact details.
7. Luggage storage
Once you have checked in, remember that you will need to be responsible for your valuables and bags. Travelers often tell stories where their items go missing when they leave their hotel or hostel. Although many hotels and hostels today offer free luggage storage, it is best to check. If the property you’re interested in doesn’t offer luggage storage, find the location. It’s also a good idea to have your own lock to keep your bags and personal items safe.
8. Photographs shared by the client
Photographs are just as important as reviews when it comes to choosing a hotel. Before booking a property, look for photographs uploaded by both – the hotel as well as past guests. In a matter of seconds, you will be able to know if the photos match. Compare the photos of the room and the surrounding area. Also look for pictures of the equipment mentioned in the description (if applicable). You can also use Google Maps Street View to determine if the neighborhood and property are safe.
9. Safety features
Since you are traveling out of your comfort zone to an unfamiliar and unfamiliar place, safety should be a major concern. For female travelers in particular, safety cannot be a compromise. Before making an online reservation, look for security features such as on-site guards, fences, and surveillance cameras. Reviews can also help you understand if the property itself and the area are safe. Interacting with online communities can help gain the first-hand experience of tourists who have been there before.
10. Taxes and additional charges
Depending on where you are traveling, some establishments or hotels may charge additional taxes that are not included in the initial booking cost. Also, if you are booking online, be sure to pay attention to the additional booking fees, so that you are not charged extra at the time of check-in.
11. Additional amenities
Thinking of working remotely? Do you cross-country on your bike? Is there a restaurant on site (and what are the prices)? Everyone’s travel needs are unique. To cater for a variety of guests, most hotels have standard amenities that meet the most common needs like parking space, on-site restaurant, free Wi-Fi, etc. If you are looking for something more specific, try contacting the property manager before booking.
Finding a hotel that feels right at home is one of the biggest challenges, even for business travelers. Most people usually book either the first hotel listing that appears in search results or the cheapest. When traveling on a budget, it can be difficult to find amazing properties. However, with a few tips and a checklist like the one above, booking a hotel online will be a snap.
Hotelogix Editorial Office
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