Advantages of Reserving a Hotel Online
Booking a hotel online offers some true advantages above making travel arrangements by phone or through a standard travel service. Not too long ago, booking a hotel online was a new concept which offered some amount of convenience, but there was also risk. The online experience left many users digging for more information about quality of the hotel and the surround area. For travelers with previous knowledge of a hotel, the risk was worth the reward of finding a lower cost online. For travelers new to a hotel location, better information was available from a knowledgable travel agent. Today, many improvements to online travel websites are evident. Hotel chains take advantage of the relationships between these websites and their customers by providing excellent hotel rates online.
Most of the time, online prices are lower than traditional hotel bookings by phone or through travel services that receive a commission on their bookings. Most hotel chains now offer special online pricing directly through their website, bypassing online travel sites. Keep in mind that most online "internet only" prices have a different cancellation policy. Many internet only prices do not allow customers to cancel a reservation without being charged a fee. Check their policies before booking.
Internet-based travel websites also offer last-minute rooms at very low prices. When hotels have an extra inventory of rooms available they periodically offer the rooms at low prices. Some online companies pre-purchase these rooms at low prices in order to package them with vacations or room-only reservations to customers. Look for these deals online.
Plan ahead and find out the going rate for a particular hotel during the time you plan to travel. Book a hotel reservation with a good cancellation policy at the best rate you can find in advance. As the date for travel approaches, check for last-minute deals to lower the cost of your current reservation or upgrade the level of your room at the same rate.
Most of the large hotel chains have loyalty programs that reward their guests with discounted or free hotel stays. Marriott, Holiday Inn, Hilton, Hyatt and others all have loyalty programs. These companies also offer last-minute deals for their loyalty customers online. Check the loyalty programs before leaving for a vacation. In some cases, you will be able to upgrade to a nicer hotel for the same cost.
Comparing hotels online is one of the best features of internet hotel shopping. Use online websites to directly compare different hotel classes and locations. For a specific price range, hotel shoppers can see all the choices for a given city or area targeted. In addition, use multiple travel websites and check the hotel website directly to compare price quotes received for a specific hotel.
Check Hotel Location
Most online travel websites have a link to an aerial map for directions to each location. The aerial maps from bing and google are also very useful in reviewing the area around the accommodations. See if the hotel area has restaurants and looks safe, or if it is located within an interstate ramp. Use the online tools to compare the location to the places you need to visit while traveling.
Online Hotel Reviews
There are good online hote reviews and bad ones. Take each review with a grain of salt. Generally, you can get the feeling if reviews are consistently telling if a hotel is well-kept or if it is not a well-run establishment from the reviews. Researching online reviews are a big advantage over booking by phone or through a travel agency where you only have one opinion.