Flights and hotels – the two biggest expense of any given holiday. As trips will usually take a week or so, and often even longer, accommodation that seems cheap at first glance will rack up costs over time. The more money being spent on the hotel, the less is left over for the things people actually want to do while on their holiday.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be as expensive as all that. Numerous resources and strategies exist that can allow budding jetsetters a chance to travel cheaply and get the most bang for their buck.
What sort of hotel you choose to stay at is going to be one of the more important decisions you’ll make about your holiday as it will be your home base for the rest of the trip. It’s where you’ll keep your things, where you’ll go to rest and recover each night, and it’s where you’ll prepare for the next day. So, making sure it has everything you need to complement and enhance the rest of the holiday is key.
Although it’s still possible to book hotels upon arrival, it’s more sensible to book in advance. If travelling as part of a package this will already have been done when the holiday was booked, which makes the process easier. However, there’s far more choice and flexibility when booking the hotel independently, and so holidaymakers in this situation will book their hotels online.
This opens up several options to you. The most advantageous way to book a hotel online is to book directly with the hotel itself. Hotels have to advertise the same rates everywhere online - something called ‘rate parity’. However, by finding a hotel and making them an offer directly for the chosen room you can often beat the online prices so it’s always worth trying and some hotel booking platforms allow you to do this in a couple of taps. Some hotels might also prioritise upgrades and services to guests who book directly. Finding hotel websites can obviously be done on any search engine, and apps such as Google Maps will also list hotels in the area if the option is selected. You can then access and browse these hotels individually.
Keep in mind however that getting the best deals on hotels requires a lot of work and could require hours of pouring through individual websites to find the most affordable rooms. One resource to reduce this workload is to use hotel booking websites.
Hotel booking websites are a quick and convenient way to quickly browse through dozens or even hundreds of hotels in a given area, allowing you to search for rooms by basis of type, cost, availability and size. This allows for great ease in research and can allow you to quickly narrow down your ideal hotel in minutes rather than hours.
Another great use for these sites is to compare prices online as well. Using the search functionality provided, you can easily compare potential hotels against each other to make sure you get the best deal. As said above, if you can, choose a platform that allows you to make offers to the hotel for the room you want, rather just accepting the list price.
Booking through a third party can carry its share of risks and complications. Some hotel booking sites may have additional fees added at the time you come to pay (they often dress it up as ‘local taxes & hotel fees’), so you might be paying more than you first thought. These mark ups also mean that your selection of hotels might be limited to those prepared to allow those fees, or those hotels are promoted higher on these third party sites, above hotels that might be better choices for you.
Finally, if you book through a third party, you’re both a customer of the booking site you used, as well as the hotel. So, in the event of complications or missing bookings, you may be dealing with the booking site’s customer relations team first of all. This adds an extra layer that can either be useful (an additional level of security/insurance/assistance) or a real pain, with the site and hotel passing the buck to each other - so choose your platform wisely!