This might seem like a pretty pointless article. Everyone knows how to book a hotel, right? Well, yes booking a hotel isn’t exactly rocket science but there are all kinds of things you can do to make the process easier, get more for your money and have an all round better time.
As a frequent traveler, I often find myself yearning to book a hotel instead of a hostel just for a night or two. I crave some personal space away from the snores of strangers. So, I splash out now and then. But, I’m careful with my splashing and I’d like to show you how to become a hotel booking pro.
1. Pick Your Priorities
Decide what is important to you when booking a hotel before you go ahead and seal the deal. Personally, I’m a sucker for a good breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the day but if it isn’t included I tend not to bother. I’m pretty bad at staying healthy on the go. You might want other things like an en-suite, common room or pool. Or maybe you want a hotel that is a bit unusual for one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences?
Whatever you want, make a note of it as this will help you narrow down your hotel search.
2. Take Your Time When You Book a Hotel
If you have time to take then take it. Don’t just book the first place with a good review on TripAdvisor. I recommend looking at a number of different hotel-related websites and apps, such as Booking.com, Hostelworld and HotelTonight. Compare the prices and see where you can snag a sweet hotel deal.
3. Cross Reference Hotel Reviews
I never used to remember to read reviews of hotels before I booked them. If the photos looked nice, that was enough for me. Oh, how foolish I was. Reviews are the most important thing to take into account when booking accommodation. It might look like a gleaming palace but if there is anything wrong with it, you can be sure someone will let you know.
Most booking websites have their own review systems so take a look at this first. Sometimes there will be lots of reviews saying roughly the same thing. In this case, your search can probably end there. In the event that the hotel reviews are ambiguous, head over to TripAdvisor and see what people have to say about the place there.
4. Know How to Find Hotel Deals
The easiest way to find cheap hotels is simply to Google “cheap hotels in xxxx” (obviously with the name of the city you are in and not a bunch of X’s). Other good buzzwords to google are “hotel deals” and “discount hotel”. If this doesn’t prove fruitful then there are other ways to get cut-price hotel rooms.
HotelTonight is great for cheap, nice hotels but you can only book up to one week in advance. Alternatively, if you have a Booking.com genius account then you can get some reasonable discounts on hotels. You get a genius account if you use Booking.com to book a hotel ten times.
5. Don’t Book a Hotel At All
This can be a bit of a gamble but I have found a number of times that the cheapest hotels are the ones that are not online. How do you find them? You just have to rock up and wander around until you come across a hotel that you like. It’s not ideal but it can be quite fun (if it’s not dark/raining/a billion degrees).
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list but I hope that these tips come in handy for next time you book a hotel. Enjoy!