Can I Get A Hotel Room For A Few Hours – Booking a hotel is easy, isn’t it? And often it is: choose your destination, choose your date, enter the payment information and voila, happy travel!
However, there are some big mistakes you can make when it comes to hotel reservations. From booking on the wrong website to forgetting to check some important information, these mistakes can easily make or break your trip. Read on to find out what you should avoid when booking that hotel room.
Can I Get A Hotel Room For A Few Hours
I recently spoke with a front desk agent about how his hotel chain distributes rooms at check-in. Curious, I asked his staff what method they use to determine who gets the best room. He revealed this amazing surprise: those who book through the hotel’s website or are members of the hotel’s loyalty program often get first dibs on the room page, with the best view and quiet area. Travelers who book through online travel agencies (OTAs), such as Priceline, often get a “drive home” room (what he calls an “ice machine room,” or basically what’s left of that). The representative couldn’t tell me how many hotel chains do this, but said it’s “common practice” and that it improves the deal for travelers who book regular rates.
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Solution: Joining a hotel loyalty program is usually free, and membership can guarantee you a better room reservation, a free night or essential services such as breakfast or Wi-Fi.
If having the best room is the key to a pleasant trip, then book directly through the hotel’s website. But when those low and low OTA prices can’t be beat – we know the feeling – you can always request a room type or location.
King or twin beds? Upstairs or downstairs? Do not smoke? View of the water? Three red M&Ms in one? When booking your hotel, most booking engines will allow you to submit a request or add feedback about your stay. However, in the fine print, many hotels also state that your request is not guaranteed.
Solution: The old saying “expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed” rings true here, but it’s a cool comfort when you need help. First, be aware that hotels will generally try to honor your request. If, upon check-in, you find that your double bed has been made into one or you have been placed in a smoking room, speak to the front desk representative and request a change – respectfully. Also, it’s worth calling the hotel before you arrive to confirm your request, especially if they’re made for medical reasons.
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For the sin of this journey, I am guilty as charged. On a trip abroad several years ago, I noticed that my flight left on May 14th, so I booked my destination hotel for the night of May 14th. I neglected to check that my red-eye flight landed on the morning of the 15th. This meant I paid for an expensive (and non-refundable) room that I didn’t need.
Solution: Unlike your naïve correspondent, make sure you have your flight schedule when you book, and double check your arrival and departure dates. Also, consider the time zone. If you are crossing an international date line in transit, yes, your entry date may be different than you expect. It’s also not a bad idea to have someone check your reservation before you click “confirm” or “pay”, to make sure the dates you’ve chosen are correct.
When booking hotels, credit cards are king. Credit cards not only offer rewards like airline miles, free nights or cash back bonuses, but they also offer certain guarantees that debit and credit cards don’t (like fraud protection or instant refunds).
Another trick that most travelers don’t know? Most hotels will require a security deposit if you use a debit card to prevent overdraft fees if your account doesn’t have enough funds. These extra deposits can add up: I once paid a $100 deposit in Las Vegas that didn’t show up in my account for two weeks.
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Solution: If you are smart about money management and choose the right type of credit card, you can see many benefits when booking a home. NerdWallet rounds up the best credit cards and travel benefits. Also, be sure to check out Tim Winship’s Miles & Points column, which SmarterTravel does weekly. In it, Winship lists current credit card promotions.
Travelers, beware: Deceptive hotel names or location information may lead you to book an airport hotel when you think you’re visiting the heart of the country. You’d be surprised how often travelers see a hotel name and quickly book it without checking if it’s in the right place. After all, some hotels may call themselves “close to the city center,” but a quick search may reveal that they are at the airport…two hours away.
Solution: Check the email address and get the exact location of the hotel in Google Maps. Always enter the address of the hotel and see how far it is from popular attractions and restaurants by walking, by car or by public transport. Try entering the addresses of some of the attractions you want to see on your way to your destination and plan a route map. You may want to explore the neighborhood using Google Maps Street View. And if there are many single chain hotels in town, make sure you book in the right area – the Hyatt Times Square and the Hyatt Flushing are very different.
Back in March, contributing editor Ed Perkins reported on one of the most outrageous paid vacations we’ve seen yet. At a hotel in Colorado, the $170 room rate was topped up with a $35 cleaning fee, a $40 resort fee, a $10 pool and spa fee and a $5.10 processing fee. Wow.
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Solution: You may face some fees, such as housekeeping or newspaper delivery, if you do not want to take advantage of such services. Others, such as resort fees, are mandatory, so you need to bear the additional costs when booking a hotel. Hotels are expected to clearly display resort fees, but OTAs may not and instead include vague language such as “additional fees may apply.” So call the resort and ask for free about additional resort fees before booking.
If you’ve ever been hooked on Oyster’s Fakeout feature, you know that hotels go to great lengths to make their properties look their best. But when you arrive, that infinity pool can be the size of a postage stamp, and those luxurious clothes can feel like sandpaper. Take what the hotel says about itself with a grain of salt (or sand).
Solution: Do your research. Reading user reviews is a tricky balance. You want to read as many reviews as possible without suffering from information overload. You also want to provide an unbiased and recent review. The best way to get the right resort photos is to choose your review site wisely. TripAdvisor and Oyster (which, like us, are owned by TripAdvisor) provide a very accurate overview of what your hotel has to offer; Oyster Room Photos is a great resource if you’re wondering if your room stacks up to luxury hotel photos – and maybe Photoshop photos. Don’t doubt the overqualified reviewers, and the converse is also true: If you see that Bob Grump has given one star to every hotel he’s ever stayed in, please question Bob Grump’s judgment.
As many procrastinators will readily admit, waiting until the last minute to plan a trip can have negative consequences for your credit card balance. Hotel prices can increase in the days leading up to a certain date, and you may be left without a room if everything is fixed (or if there is nothing left in your budget). On the other hand, being an extra planner can have its own downsides: Sure, you might want to get all your travel ducks in a row as soon as possible, but it can cost you money to book your hotel room too far in advance.
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Solution: There is no simple answer about when, exactly, is the best time to book a hotel room. The rate depends on many factors: location, season, crowd, even weather. As a general rule, bookings more than 21 days before your arrival date are void for the most popular destinations; You will be at risk of stolen prices. Your best bet is to start checking prices at least 40 days in advance and follow the trends. If the price seems to increase, book.
If you want to make sure you get the lowest price, hotel booking website Tingo (SmartTravel’s sister company) will automatically track your hotel and book you at the new lowest price when the price drops. Of course, if you’re waiting until 11 a.m. and hotel options seem limited, check out the Hotel Tonight app for last-minute deals.
I see your favorite hotel advertised as “Good Price!” And immediately plunked down the card number and
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