5 Things To Remember When Booking Your First Hotel Room
When booking a hotel room for the first time, it’s really easy to end up spending more than you planned, or even needed to in the first place. Don’t worry, even the veteran traveler finds himself overspending on accommodations from time-to-time. But if you are on a tight budget where every penny counts, here are 5 things to remember when booking your first hotel room:
Ask About Additional Fees Or Charges – Resort fee? Isn’t that the same as the hotel room fee? Isn’t the hotel, itself, a resort???
While most guides might save this tip for the #3 or #4 slot, it should really be one of your main focuses when searching for a hotel room. After all, how are you supposed to properly budget your trip without knowing exactly how much your lodgings will cost you? The last thing you want is to find yourself at the end of your trip using the hotel’s convenient little TV-checkout, only to find your $90-per-night hotel room was really costing you $150 per night. Yes, that can happen. Some hotels, especially ones in major cities, can charge $40 or more for overnight parking, per night. Ouch!
Before you pull the trigger on booking any hotel room, always ask about any additional fees or charges you need to take into account (that includes taxes). Don’t try to find this information on the website either, because it is either vague or non-existent.
Understand How Promotional Deals Work– What do you mean I can’t get the room for that price? It says “Summer Savings Special” on the promotional email. What do you mean July 4th weekend is a blackout day? Is July 4th not considered part of the summer?
Promotional emails from your favorite hotel establishments are awesome. They keep you informed and up-to-date on any upcoming deals and ways to save on a future vacation. If anything, you should plan your trips around promotional deals so that you can save a ton on your hotel stay. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of the rules and restrictions of these promotional deals. Often times, they require you to schedule your visit at certain times of the month when the hotel isn’t busy. In other words, they’re great deals…if you like taking your vacation trips Monday through Thursday. Fridays, weekends and holidays are almost always excluded from these promotions, so schedule accordingly.
Understand How Promotional Deals Work (Part 2) –What do you mean we were entitled to a complimentary all-you-can-eat breakfast during our stay?
Part of understanding how your promotional hotel package works is also understanding what perks you are entitled to. Often times, people are quick to assume that anything else included in their package comes with a catch, otherwise known as a “service charge.” However, things like complimentary breakfast, shuttle service and restaurant vouchers or coupons to nearby establishments are often included in promotional deals. Not taking advantage of these little perks is like throwing away free money, especially when one of those perks is a hot meal. Hotels like Hampton Inn offer a free, continental breakfast for all guests, while other chains like Hyatt offer a free, full breakfast buffet to AAA members.
Compare Rates Between Travel Websites And The Actual Hotel – You mean, it could have been cheaper if I booked through the hotel directly!?
People are often quick to pull the trigger on discount deals they find online after going through numerous travel sites. While such sites may offer great deals and bargains for packages that include round-trip airfare, accommodations and car rentals, it doesn’t hurt to actual check the hotel’s website for deals or promotions they are offering exclusively. If all you are looking for is a place to stay, booking through the hotel directly can get you some of the best rates if you check their website, or even call them by phone and ask about any discounted rates. If you are looking for travel arrangements, accommodations and the whole 9-yards, a travel website may be a good place to look and save since they can combine deals for airline tickets and hotel arrangements for more savings.
Become Familiar With A Hotel – Four Points and Four Seasons are two different hotel companies?
Hotel chains offer different things as far as lodging, amenities, services, available locations and club member services. No matter where you’re visiting, there is almost always several options for lodgings, so get familiar with some of the most popular chains and find, which is best suited towards your needs:
- Hyatt: A global hospitality company known for its popular Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency brands. Their properties span across the globe and range from high-rise hotels to vacation resorts.
- Hampton Inn: A member of the Hilton family of hotels, Hampton Inn is known for offering comfortable accommodations throughout the US for both business and vacation travel.
- Marriot: Marriot is another lodging company with establishments located all over the world, offering luxurious and comforting amenities within a competitive market.
- Best Western: Best Western is touted as the world’s biggest hotel family, where each location holds a special, local appeal while maintaining a high-standard of quality that signifies the Best Western brand name.