With the advent of the internet and many different travel websites, it is easier than ever to find and book inexpensive hotel rooms, right from your computer. A simple search-engine can bring up hundreds of websites where a traveler can compare rooms and rates, in addition to getting the hotel ratings and see the amenities they offer. It is important for the traveler to have a small list of what they definitely need in a room, whether it be bed size, smoking or non-smoking, a mini-fridge or kitchenette, or other hotel amenities such as a pool or gym. The traveler should also, if possible, be flexible with the nights they are staying. Travel around the holidays and weekends tend to book faster, so there are less rooms available.
Depending on the website the traveler uses, someone can either bid on a room by entering the top price you will pay, or can book the hotel room directly from the website. The traveler must be sure to double-check all of the information, including the travel dates, the location is correct, and of course the price agreed upon. The traveler must also read the fine-print of contract before the final booking. This will contain important information about cancellations and late arrivals. With some hotels, if the traveler is late in arriving by one hour, the room may be re-sold to another guest. For these instances, it is crucial to obtain phone numbers of the hotel and for an agent at the booking agency.
When the traveler is finally ready to book the hotel room, the choice of payment is also important. If possible, the guest should use a credit card that may provide them airline miles or points for future upgrades. If the hotel website has their own rewards program, and provided there is no fee for such a program, it is usually well worth the time to sign up. Sometimes with as few as two or three nights’ stay, the guest can qualify for a free night or room upgrades. If the hotel owns several different hotel brands, many times the rewards program will cover all of these different hotels. Most of these accounts can be monitored online, so there is no paperwork to keep track of. If the traveler books a stay with their rewards membership, please be sure to double-check that any points have been applied to your account after your stay is paid for. The traveler should also be sure to double-check the room confirmation by calling one or two days before arrival by using the confirmation number supplied by the booking site. This can prevent unnecessary stress by finding upon arrival that the reservation was not received.
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