Thursday, February 25, 2016

Flash Back Thursday: Pitfalls of Online Booking

Most of us rarely use a travel agent these days. We can book most things ourselves online. You can get hotel reservations by using you computer, your tablet and even your smartphone. It is fast, convenient and at times confusing. 

Some pitfalls that you need to watch out for when booking online are:

Third party booking agents

Have you ever tried to simply book a hotel and found yourself on a third party site? Some of these like and are fine and have competitive rates however, if you want to get reward credits, this is not the way to go. You may also find that hotels are not quite as happy when you use a consolidator, not always but sometimes. 

The problem with some other sites is that you may find yourself hijacked and charged booking fees. You should never pay a fee to book a hotel, seriously, you are giving them your business and you are going to be charged extra, I think not!!

You also may not be able to specify what type of bed you want. For me this is the most important issue, I do not want a double bed under any circumstances, it must be at least a queen or twins.

Overseas booking

When you are booking a  room outside the country, I am most familiar with Europe, I often deal directly with the hotel by email. It cuts down on misunderstandings and confusion. You will have the email later if there is any discrepancy. You also get to know the staff and it can be helpful, really in my experience as helpful as Tripadvisor in determining if this is a place you will feel comfortable staying. Always ask if breakfast is included in the rate, often it is.

In conclusion, always look your reservations over carefully. Be sure you are getting exactly what you requested. make sure it is the exact hotel you requested and check the dates and check in policy. 

Before making the booking, read the cancellation policy. Often the lowest rate will not allow you to change or cancel your reservation. If you are sure nothing will change, by all means grab this rate. If however you are prone to changes, make sure your rate allows this. This is one area that is often overlooked and if you don't want to find yourself charged for a room you aren't going to use, be sure that you can cancel before you hit the send button. If in doubt, call the hotel directly using Skype.

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