Booking a hotel room is like buying a smart TV. If you don’t do your research beforehand to find the best combination of quality, features, and price. You’re most likely to feel frustrated when you find out after buying it that there’s another store that sells a better TV for a cheaper value. Getting frustrated with a hotel room is even worse because not only do you have to stay there for days. The great deals are also waving at you because they’re probably the next hotel over. To avoid any possible issue, follow these book a hotel room for first-timers guide, and you’ll have a great stay:
- Browse several travel sites. Many hotel bookings are now purchasable through commercial websites, such as Orbitz.com, Travelocity.com, Hotels.com, and Expedia.com. Make sure to book around these websites to get the best deal, and don’t forget to check the hotel website itself. Also, be sure to read reviews of the hotel on these commercial booking websites.
- Check the cancellation policies. If you decide to book on a commercial website, never forget to read their cancellation policy. While most travel sites have ceased charging unreasonable cancellation fees. You need to make sure that you can book a hotel room on the site and cancel without a fee if you have to.
- Always read reviews. Check out consumer review websites, which gathers and aggregates reviews of hotels by former clients. Checking reviews from people most like yourself and learning their feedback about the hotel. Often, the reviews will talk to whatever features you’re looking for in a hotel. It may be informative and can helps you make better decisions based upon them.
- Don’t be fooled on deals that are too good to be true. If a deal seems much cheaper than the surrounding hotels, dig deeper to ensure that the hotel isn’t being renovated or there’s no other reason for the low price (e.g., it’s old and run down, or it’s in a high crime area).
- Check the location. Punch in the address if you have a target geographic area into Google maps. Zoom in to see the exact location, as well as the surrounding area (the map will show you the surrounding restaurants, stores, etc.), and enjoy the perks of Google’s street view feature to see what your hotel looks like, as well as its surrounding area.
- Ask your queries on the phone. Once you’ve narrowed down your list, make time to call them and state your concerns or needs. So, for example, if you will need to make lots of phone calls during your stay, be sure to ask if they offer free local calls and how much for long-distance calls. Or ask anything that concerns you a lot in a hotel. Whatever your concerns, don’t hesitate to ask the concierge, so you can book with confidence.
- Contact a travel agent for remote locations. If your trip involves more remote or exotic destinations, you probably need a travel agent who knows a lot about the area, the culture, and how things work in the area. Travel agents are a must to avoid pitfalls that occur with booking exotic trips online.
Use your credit card when booking a hotel room. Hotel reservations and online travel agents require a debit card or credit card with the MasterCard or Visa logo to make a hotel reservation. Although some hotels only accept a deposit (which can be refundable or not, depending on their policy) to finalize a room reservation, others need full payment. And don’t forget your confirmation number for your hotel reservation.
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