Recently I searched and booked hotels for my future trip and remembered how difficult and scary it was to book a hotel via the Internet for my first independent trips. It’s easy for me now (although every time I worry and check everything several times anyway), someone still refuses independent trips because they don’t know how and where it is better to book a hotel. In this article I will talk about the most popular accommodation reservation services and demonstrate how to use them.
Yes, of course, you can book a hotel directly on its official website. Perhaps in some cases it will be more profitable, but not always. This option is suitable if you are a regular guest of a hotel and participate in its loyalty program. You can compare prices on the official website of the hotel and in all other cases. But it will take extra time. Well, if you go to one hotel on vacation, and if you have them on the route 5-6-7 or more? Tired of checking.
Now there are a lot of sites for booking hotels. And it’s not just booking! Hotels.ru, Hotels.com, Agoda, Ostrovok, Ozon.travel, tripadvisor and many others. I’ll tell you about best accommodation booking sites.
Booking hotels on Booking.com
I start with a site what I usually use for booking hotels. This is booking.com . It is considered the most popular for booking hotels in Europe. Since I mainly travel in Europe, I use mainly Booking. There were no problems at the moment. The main advantages of booking:
- Huge selection of lodging: hotels, guest houses, apartments, villas, even unusual accommodation such as boats (boat houses)
- A huge number of filters to quickly and easily select the appropriate option.
- Most hotels have free cancellation
- Most hotels are without pre-payment, that is, payment takes place directly at the hotel (I remember only once when the cost of one night was charged off from the card in advance)
- Booking prices are often the best prices.
How to book a hotel on Booking.com
Now I’ll show you step by step how to book a hotel on Booking and what you should pay attention to. We start by going to the site using the link . I am already registered, so I immediately see the information on my account. In fact, I recommend immediately creating your personal account and booking through it.
Let’s look for a hotel in Genoa for 2 nights from February 6.
On the results page we see a list of hotels available for the dates indicated. This list is very large, therefore, I recommend using filters (on the left side of the screen) and sorting (usually sort by price). You can also see the location on the map and select a hotel by location.
Let’s filter and sort the options.
In the filters I mark the price range, I choose the type of accommodation “hotel” (I want to check into a hotel), “turn on” breakfast, I also choose a rating based on reviews from 8 points. By the way, I prefer to do the filter according to the rating, and not according to the stardom of the hotel – it is better to rely after all on the reviews and impressions of the guests, and not on the “stardom”. Reviews at the booking are as truthful as possible (unlike the Tripadvisor), because you can write a review only after eviction from the hotel within a couple of weeks (the letter arrives in the mail), therefore there should not be any “wound” reviews here. I also sorted by price.
Since I already booked the Chopin hotel , we’ll see it. By the way, after booking the hotel, a city guide from Booking becomes available to you. In principle, you can study 🙂
Now you need to see if the hotel is really good, what are the nuances of booking, and in general, whether it is worth booking. Be sure to read reviews, see photos, the location of the hotel. If you liked the hotel, but are not yet ready to book it, you can add it to your favorites list (“heart” icon) and return later.
The following is a description and most importantly, the choice of number. Be sure to see what is included in the price of your room, what amenities are there (for example, a private bathroom, not a shared one, a balcony, shower, etc.) Pay attention to additional fees . For example, hotels in Italy charge a city tax. In Genoa, it is still divine, only 1 euro per person per day. In Turin – 2.5 euros. The amount of tax depends not only on the city, but also on the stardom of the hotel, keep in mind! Also, in the line of additional payments, a cleaning fee (typical for apartments) or a service charge (especially typical for expensive hotels) may be included. Also look at the cancellation policy – is there a possibility of free cancellation and whether you need to pay something in advance.
We reserve – we enter our data.
If you are making a reservation for a visa , be sure to register ALL guests – simply separated by commas. If you wish, enter in a special window. If possible, also mark the time of arrival. Especially if you book a accommodation facility where the reception is not round-the-clock (guest houses, b & bs, apartments, etc.), otherwise you just might not wait and stay at night on the street with suitcases.
At the next stage, enter the contact details and bank card number (some hotels require a three-digit card code, some do not). That’s all, the hotel is booked!
You will also receive information about the reservation by e-mail. I recommend that you print a voucher before your trip (preferably in the language of the host country). Usually no one asks for these printouts and check-in is just by passport. The only time we had a misunderstanding in a hotel in St. Petersburg, when the girl decided to calculate the cost of the room at the current price, then the printed voucher came in handy. There have never been such cases abroad.
Now that you have registered on the Booking website and made a reservation, you can see your personal account. You can see the information on upcoming reservations or your booking history. It looks something like this:
From your account, you can cancel the reservation.
How to cancel a hotel reservation on Booking.com
You can cancel the reservation (or change it) from your personal account, or the link in the letter. We select the reservation and click on “see reservation” On this page we see the cost of cancellation and the term of the free cancellation (if you selected this option when booking)
So I canceled a hotel reservation in Milan. I designed it when applying for an Italian visa , but then the plans changed, and we booked hotels in a different direction.
You can choose a reason, or simply indicate “for personal reasons.” That’s it, the reservation is canceled.
Booking and paying for hotels at Hotels.com
And another hotel booking site, hotels.com. When I search for hotels, I compare prices on it. More often, the prices are higher than at the booking, or almost the same. But it happens differently.
Benefits of Hotel.com:
- The ability to book with payment not only at the hotel, but also with full prepayment (in our currency). At the same time, retaining the possibility of free cancellation (if you select the appropriate option). Why is this needed? Firstly, for some visas, for example, for a Greek visa (Schengen), an advance payment of 30% (if I’m not mistaken) of the cost of living is required. Secondly, when the course is unstable. So, the jump in the euro at the end of 2015 was not terrible for us, and we went to Finland at pre-crisis prices, since the hotels were fully paid. Thirdly, if the hotel is already paid, you do not need to bring extra money with you on a trip.
- 8% discount when booking in the mobile application and 10% discount on the coupon. From time to time, hotels.com sends coupons to the newsletter (it does not apply to all reservations, but it’s worth checking). If the coupon has ended and you are in no hurry, wait 2-3 days, they will send a new one))
- You can participate in the loyalty program. After booking 10 nights through the website, one night can be booked for free.
How to book a hotel at Hotels.com
We go to the site via the link and enter the data into the search.
In general, then the procedure is standard – apply filters, look for hotels, read reviews, book. You can use the card. I will show you the main “chip”, thanks to which I save on hotels. I will choose a specific hotel Dock Milano in Turin.
We look at the price. 149 €. With free cancellation and breakfast. You can save or use “nights” (with the accumulation of 10 nights, one night can be booked for free). We see that you can pay both on the site and in the hotel.
Compare prices with booking – 149.20 €. At a booking 20 cents more. That’s how I save)))) Just kidding! We assume that the cost is the same.
We return to hotels and click “book”. Select “Pay now.” In the box on the right, click “Apply discount”, enter the code (it comes to the subscribers’ mail constantly). And this is 14 € cheaper!
You need to pay immediately, in €. However, the possibility of free cancellation is still available!
Also try logging in via your mobile phone. Prices are sometimes cheaper than when viewing the site through a PC.
As you can see, also a great option! From time to time I book hotels this way.
Search Hotels at Hotellook.com
Hotellook.com is the “younger brother” of Jetradar.com, it was created as a ticket search engine (by the way, wrote about it in detail here ), but it only searches for hotels – compares prices in different reservation systems and offers the most favorable options.
- You can find the cheapest hotel reservation option. And all on one site. No need to check all reservation systems.
- Intuitive interface and many filters
- Low price calendar – when choosing a date, the calendar is highlighted in different colors – green is the cheapest day, red is the most expensive
How to book a hotel at Hotellook
To find a hotel, go to the website via the link and enter the data
Choose dates. This is where you can see the calendar of low prices, which I spoke about:
Click search and see the results. Understanding the work area is not difficult. The interface is not much different from the Booking interface. You can use filters and sorting.
We apply the filter: type of accommodation – hotel, breakfast included, guest rating from 8 points. You can also use the map and choose a hotel by location. Sort by price – from low to high. In the first lines goes the hotel, which we booked on Booking.com. Let’s compare the prices at the same time and see if it was possible to book cheaper somewhere.
The cheapest price just on Booking is 192 €. Let me remind you, we booked at Booking for 138 €.
Interesting! I click on “book” and go to the website of the Booking. The price for our number is 138 €! The cheapest option is much more expensive here. Therefore, choosing a hotel on Hotellook, be sure to go to the seller’s website and check the final price there!
If we take another hotel, then we already see a “spread” in prices more serious. The prices on the Agoda and on the Booking differ by 40 €! And this is for 2 days! And if you book for a longer period?
Again, do not forget to go to the seller’s website to make sure that this amount is correct. We look at Agoda – 63 € per night (126 € per two nights). If you like, then you can book 🙂
As you can see for yourself, Hotellook has its own advantages. Using it, you can save a lot!
Rental of apartments with local residents through special sites
There is another option, how to book accommodation on a trip. It is to rent housing directly from the locals. Yes, of course, you can do it on the spot, upon arrival, and this option is not bad if your vacation lasts a month or two, or even six months. And if the vacation is limited to standard 10-14 days, when every minute counts, it is better to take care of everything in advance. You can rent a house with the locals (apartment, house, villa, tent, treehouse, van, etc.) through homeaway.com or airbnb.com . So, we rented an apartment in Armenia for only $ 30 per day. And at our disposal was a whole apartment (small but cozy)!
The advantages of these sites:
- You can feel like a local resident – live next to them, go to a coffee shop around the corner or a supermarket on a nearby street.
- Savings – sometimes the cost of an apartment (or even a house) is comparable to the cost of a standard hotel room
- On the site there are very interesting options – tree houses, castles, mills, lighthouses and many others.
There is an article about airbnb, so I won’t repeat it here.
As you can see, nothing complicated! Try it and you will succeed too!