Finding and booking the right hotel for your European trip should be an easy task, right? After all, isn’t the internet easy to research and book?
Yes and no. It has never been easy to get information about hotels around the world, but it can also be easy to fall into the trap set by hotel marketers, intricate websites, and even other travelers.
Here are five tips to make your hotel research more efficient and travel cheaper.
Tip 1: Beware of online hotel reviews!
Many travel websites offer hotel reviews submitted by readers. While most of these reviews are probably legitimate, we always suggest approaching these reviews with a healthy dose of skepticism. You don’t know who is posting an opinion or why they are posting.
For example, many returning visitors are engaged in writing a review when they are crazy about something. He has often been blamed for a frustrating experience that is not to blame for a hotel.
In addition, the owner of a hotel can “fire” a competitor’s hotel with a malicious anonymous review and run away without being detected. Conversely, hotel owners can give excellent reviews. You never know where those opinions will come from.
Tip 2: Don’t confuse hotel “discounts” with good deals!
On some booking sites you’d love to find useful hotels with discounted rates – sometimes up to 50% off! Be skeptical.
When hotels merge with certain websites, they need to compete with other hotels to attract your attention. One way to get to the top of the list is to offer the biggest discount.
Guess what’s going on? Hotels first inflate the normal rate, then turn around and “lower” those prices with a “50% discount !!!” to provide a bedroom. But no one would ever pay that “normal” price! It’s a scam, but that hotel is at the top of the list.
When you see deep discount claims, shop around and find out what kind of sense it makes for the type of hotel you’re looking for and compare it.
Tip 3: Release yourself!
If you are looking for smaller independent hotels, you will often find more interesting, better located and cheaper hotels!
Large booking websites prefer to deal with giant chains because they are easier to register and manage. If you only look at the big sites, you won’t know that there are even smaller hotels!
In many old European cities, strict zoning laws prohibit modern construction in their historic sites. Therefore, with huge (non-luxury) hotel chains located on the outskirts of the city, smaller, cheaper hotels are located in old buildings in the middle of the action.
Spend time hunting around independent hotels! They list smaller websites aimed at Europe, Venere.com, Booking.com and EuroCheapo.com (which I edit), smaller hotels, non-chain hotels and family-run ones.
Tip 4: Check out this hotel rate!
Call the hotel to check prices online before booking, as you will find a cheaper rate.
Booking websites charge the hotel a fee for reservations. To cover this, many hotels charge an extra fee for the “online” room rate, thus inflating the price.
Try to find the hotel phone number and check the prices! This can be very difficult as most websites will not provide a hotel phone number. After all, they want to book through them!
And don’t worry about not being able to speak the language! Almost all hotel receptionists in Europe can speak at least English to check the prices for you.
Tip 5: Be careful when booking with additional costs.
While we are researching hotel prices, we often come across popular booking websites that show a hotel price, but then show a much higher price when you are ready to enter your credit card information.
How can they do that? Here are some of their favorite tricks:
They wait until the last minute to reveal their taxes (they can be very high in Europe and are always part of the price!).
Another tactic is to pay a “service fee” even though they already charge a 10% commission from the hotel!
More shamelessly, they invent some business around the “security fee”. Earnings, anyone?
We recommend booking only through booking websites that show all costs in advance.
Next step: book with confidence.
Now that we’ve taken the time to explore some of the tricks of the trade, you’re better suited to research and book with confidence. And don’t forget to have fun! After all, you are going on a European adventure! Have a nice trip!