When it comes to booking a hotel for vacation, families want comfort, cleanliness and amenities – and all at a budget they can afford. Can you have it all? Yes! By following a few money-saving tips.
Let me tell you that whatever we learnt so far from our online hotel booking experiences is really shocking and heartbreaking. Here are some useful tips to not get trapped in the money-making tactics practised by hotels and booking websites:
1. The truth about rack rates
Several big luxury hotels publish high rates on their websites but same hotel rooms are available at much cheaper rates on various travel booking websites.
For example, if you check a hotel for the direct booking they will tell you rates of the room without breakfast. But for the same hotel, you will find cheaper rates with free complimentary breakfast on other travel booking websites.
When you start the booking process, they will silently raise the prices with tags of city tax, service taxes etc.
TIP: Make tabulation list and jolt down the prices, with taxes and free breakfast in the hotel websites as well as other travel websites. Call both of them and confirm the rates in written e-mails first.
2. Your IP address is being tracked
The moment you start searching for a hotel destination and while you are busy comparing prices the top hacking softwares starts showing you the pop ups like rates are increasing, property is sold or only few rooms are left etc.
They know your demand and they start supplying you the information they want you to see.
TIP: If you search from your home, make the booking from a friend’s home or your office or your mobile data. And please do not give ur email id in the price watch hook.
3. Kids age drama
Some hotel rates drastically change depending on the number and age of kids. While searching, first check the rate for 2 adults. Next, search rate for 2 adults with 1 kid. Again, check rate for 2 adults with 2 kids. Now put the child’s age 11 years and check rates. Next, put child’s age 12 years and check rates. You can understand how it is programmed.
TIP: In the final time of booking enter the correct age to avoid any drama at the hotel. They know your tricks well and they are waiting for you to lie so that they can charge you a hefty amount.
4. Location nuisance
Check the airport location and distance to the hotel first instead of rates. Maybe what you saved in booking goes in airport shuttle taxi.
If the hotel says 10 minutes drive, don’t just trust it. Search on the Google map and see if you wish to stay near the airport and willing to travel to the city or if you wish to stay in the city and see the city within close proximity.
Tip : Try to stay in city. You can walk around to have some local sightseeing.
5. Breakfast mania
Wherever you are going, check for the top ten hotels with free breakfast, and then check top ten family hotels because by that you will get the idea of hotel’s vibe. Check the travellers photo on websites to get the idea of breakfast. Hotels charge very heavily for the breakfast.
TIP: If you are not an early eater, then you can try breakfast at a nearby local restaurant. Before booking, send an e-mail to the hotel to check their offer prices with breakfast and without breakfast. Compare it with other website offers as well.
6. Don’t be lured by useless amenities
Swimming pool and gym are two useless amenities for most travellers. Don’t get lured by them unless you are fitness freak.
TIP : Look for a property which offers great room facilities at lesser prices if your stay is short.
7. Free travel guides are expensive too
Many hotels offer you free travel guides who actually are appointed to push you towards their choice of tourist attractions with fixed commissions. They will eat with you at most expensive places and you will end up in getting robed by a nice smiling person.
TIP: Before starting your journey give yourself sufficient time to research well. Make a list and hire a local taxi driver to show you places. Read reviews of the other travellers and dig out information from them. They might surprise you with their experiences too.
8. Check-in-time nonsense
If you are landing at 5.00 am and hotel checkin timings are from 3.00 pm, then trust me, with little kids you will go through hell. Hotels are not blind as it is a joint cheating operation of tour operators and hotels. They are earning that way only so that you pay for one night extra to get early morning check-in. It is a big game.
TIP: Before booking, send the hotel an email that your flight timings are this and you will check-in early and you are travelling with children. Put some pressure on them to ensure that they will give you early check-in confirmation.
9. Currency exchange and taxes
Make three tabulation bars . Your currency mode, hotel’s country currency and taxes. Check with your hotel how much is the city tax, sales tax and other hidden charges.
Be ready for no responses from hotels. They are not interested in calculative and brilliant customers travelling on a budget. They want a maximum of business class travellers or inattentive travellers. So if you are not checking little details in the first place, then you might end up in paying big amounts while being in a foreign land.
TIP : Keep a calculator around.
10. Hotel transport services
Most hotels offer local sightseeing tours with drivers and vehicles and to avoid any cheating outside taxi drivers. Hotels have charts and packages too.
TIP: Check online about the city’s local tour operators and check the price difference with the hotel’s tour package. If you are not sure of a local vibe, then go for secured hotel transport only.
Happy journey to u all !
This is a guest blog post written by Prachi Varshney, who is a food blogger, writer and content writer based in Doha. You can find more about Prachi on her blog.