Read these 10 Hotel Reservations Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Hotels tips and hundreds of other topics.
Special discount programs might lower the cost of a hotel reservation:
Be sure to check for special hotel deals with your memberships, associations or clubs such as AAA or COSTCO.
Join appropriate premium clubs, loyalty or frequent flyer programs which can offer hotel discounts.
Check credit cards you have for special agreements with certain discount hotels.
Often special package discounts can be found when booking your room with a certain airline, rental car or attraction ticket package.
Check to if hotel discounts are available for age groups, young and old, as well as, for students if appropriate.
Check for group discounts are available if you are bringing your friends.
Check for discounts are often for government, military or corporate employees if appropriate. Some hotels will even extend these discounts during leisure travel.
Finding discount hotel reservations on the internet is easy. Almost all internet hotel reservation systems have rate guarantees, special internet rates (NetRates, etc.) are safe and secure if you book online and most have a toll free number available if that is your preference or if you have questions that need to be answered before making a hotel reservation. Some hotel reservation systems like AccommodationFinders.com have a large selection of hotels and overall low rates, some like LastMinuteDealFinder.com deal with last minute hotel and travel deals, some like Road-Trips-USA.com can help you plan a road or weekend trip, some like SaveOnTravelPackages.com specialize in Air and Hotel Packages while others like DiscountTravelArrangements.com offer discount hotels as part of a full range of travel options. Some hotel reservation systems offer discount hotel reservations for specific travel destinations like VegasReservations.com which specializes in discount Las Vegas hotels and StayInDisneyWorld.com which offers discount hotels in or near Disney World. Which hotel reservation system you choose should depend on the rates offered, your needs as well as other considerations. Shop wisely and save.
Whether you speak with a travel agent, an 800-service or a hotel directly...ask for a reservation for "checking in on the --th of September, out on the --th." Using the phrase "through" is asking for trouble - does "through" mean you leave on the 11th or you stay the night of the 11th? Use check out dates so you don't get burned by miscommunication.
You should verify the following before making a hotel reservation:
Be sure to ask about any other groups or conventions that have booked the hotel at the same time since any large group could adversely effect your stay.
Ask about a hotel's services such as shuttles, babysitting, free meals or recreational facilities, if you plan on taking advantage of them and make sure those services will be available when you will need them.
Make sure you know just what special really means, if you are reserving a special room. Is your "ocean view" room right on the beach or can you just barely see the ocean if you look closely.
Be sure to check the hotel's check-in and checkout time.
Make sure you get complete address of the hotel and ask for directions if you need them.
It is a good idea to confirm all hotel reservations directly with the company that will eventually provide the service. If you make your hotel reservation through a third party, there may be a delay in time before the travel industry supplier can specifically identify your particular hotel reservation. Many hotel consolidators hold a group of reservations in advance and may only notify the travel supplier of your name a few days before your reservation date.
Online hotel consolidator's can save you money. Before using a hotel consolidator, you should carefully investigate the details so you can find the best reservation service.
As with any online purchase, evaluate the site's security to make sure your credit card numbers and other private information are secure.
Be sure to read all the fine print and disclaimers since you'll be bound by those terms. Hotel consolidators often sign agreements with hotels that add additional restrictions on top of the general policies of the hotel. Those restrictions vary from consolidator to consolidator, from hotel property to hotel property and can even vary from reservation to reservation so it is important that you read all the terms of the purchase to make sure you can live with the restrictions.
Make sure you can get a refund or change your reservation once you have purchased a hotel reservation and, if they do allow a change, most consolidators charge a penalty fee.
You usually must pay for your entire hotel stay at the time you make a hotel reservation.
Know what items are included and what items are extra, including processing, booking and/or shipping and handling charges.
Check to see if the rates are "per room" or "per person, based on double occupancy". The "per person, based on double occupancy" rate is twice that of the first.
Check to see if you can use frequent flyer miles or other points programs and regular coupons certainly won't apply to the special prices offered through a hotel consolidator.
Find out how to contact the Consolidator's Customer Service Department and take that contact information with you on your trip. Be sure that they have a customer support system with which you are comfortable.
Know how they will confirm your reservation. Be sure to request and record your reservation confirmation number.
Hotel consolidators buy groups of tickets or rooms at discounted rates and can provide reservations at considerably lower prices.
Hotel consolidators may be able to take reservations when other sources are sold out since the hotel consolidators have made advance purchase agreements.
Finding discount hotels and hotel deals is easy. Hotel reservation systems that offer hotel discounts are everywhere. Most hotel reservation systems have a Rate or Price Guarantee but are they worthwhile? Read them and find out. Most say something like "... reservation cannot be for one of our non-discounted hotel properties" , "... lower rate must be available for booking with identical specifications of the original request (ex: same hotel, same date and same room type), "Rate guarantee does not apply to all dates including certain holidays and major events" and "... you must contact us within 24 hours of booking your prepaid hotel reservations". Are guarantees for hotel reservations any good? You'll have to decide for yourself. Although some guarantees are better than others, if finding the absolute best hotel deal is important to you than checking rates at numerous hotel reservation systems and hotel web sites is necessary. How you value your time is up to you.
Cheap hotel and cheap hotels are common keywords for internet searches. Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it. While finding a great hotel deal is what most people want, finding a discount hotel which is truly cheap may not. Cheap hotels can be old and/or small and/or rundown and/or poorly maintained with small rooms and few if any amenities. Unless price is the only consideration for choosing a discount hotel, be sure to consider location, room and bed type, amenities as well as your overall needs when choosing a hotel. Great rates on great hotels is what most people really what most people want.
You will need the following information to make a hotel reservation:
The name of the person or persons who will be staying at the hotel.
The number of guests staying in the room.
The credit card type, number and expiration date.
The name and location of the hotel that you want to reserve a room at.
The date and time you'll be checking in and checking out.
The type of room and number and size of beds you want to reserve, such as standard, business, suite, etc.
Any special requests, such as smoking/nonsmoking, spa appointments, childproofing or room location.
The name of any discounts or coupons that you are planning to apply to the stay.
Some hotels like to have your flight information in case they keep track of delayed flights.
If reserving more than one room, make sure they give you a confirmation number for each room you reserve. If you will have separate confirmation numbers for each room, it will be clear that you will need more than one room.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|