Booking a hotel online has never been easier, but only if you know what to look for and what to avoid. One of the major advantages of booking your hotel online is the sheer variety of choices available. Do a simple search on the Internet for a hotel in any location and you are likely to be faced with hundreds of thousands of results to choose from whereas if you limit your choice of hotels to holiday brochures, newspaper advertisements and third party referrals then obviously there will be fewer options.
Online, you basically have access to just about every hotel that is out there and all you have to do is find the right hotel for you.
Booking a hotel through an operator
There are some advantages to booking your hotel or entire holiday package through a tour operator, for example, everything is done for you which can save you a lot of time but you have to trust that their choice of hotels are suitable and up to standard.
If you intend to travel to one of the major tourist destinations then a tour operator is likely to have some excellent price deals on offer as they will often buy up all or most of the rooms in the main hotels in a major tourist destination. This means you could have access to hotels through an operator that might not otherwise be available if you wanted to make a booking yourself directly with the hotel.
When booking your holiday through an operator it worth checking that they are a licensed ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) tour operator then if something goes wrong with any part of the booking you have someone to help you sort it out and won’t have to battle it out on your own. Most companies selling flights must hold an ATOL Licence by law.
Booking a hotel yourself
First of all, the results of any Internet search is likely to bring up at the top of the search all the travel booking companies and operators offering hotels, sometimes even the same hotels at what they say are discounted prices. You can narrow these results by searching for specific criteria, perhaps facilities you would like a hotel to offer or those that cater for children or pets, or who provide entertainment and so on.
Another way of locating hotels online is to go to the websites of airline companies, car rental firms and other travel sites who are likely to have links to hotels at special rates and you can check these out too.
It is also worth checking your credit card company and any loyalty cards you might have as they could have negotiated special deals with hotels in certain areas.
Once you’ve managed to identify several possible hotels that might suit you, read all the online reviews you can find about each one, this will give you a general idea of their popularity and efficiency and could highlight any areas or reasons that might put you off staying there, then locate the hotel’s own website. You will often get a far better price by booking through the hotel’s website directly as the tour operators are usually selling the hotel rooms at a more expensive price than the hotel is as this is how they get their cut.
Once you’ve located the hotel’s own website you can check the small print or the ‘about us’ section of their website to see if your booking is financially protected or not and of course you can email them with any questions you might have, book online directly through their site or even give them a call to negotiate a better price.
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