Can You Get A Hotel Room For A Few Hours – Booking a hotel seems easy enough, right? And often it is: choose a destination, choose your dates, enter your payment information and voila, happy travels!
However, when it comes to booking hotels, you can make big mistakes. From booking on the wrong sites to forgetting to check some important information, these mistakes can easily ruin your trip. Read on to find out what to avoid when booking your hotel room.
Can You Get A Hotel Room For A Few Hours
I was recently talking with a former agent about how his hotel chain allocates rooms at check-in. Curious, I asked what method her staff used to determine who got the best rooms. He revealed this shocking news: those who book through the hotel’s website or are hotel loyalty members are usually given information about room allocations, with better views and quieter spaces. Travelers who book through online travel agencies (OTAs) like Priceline often get “commercial” rooms (what she calls “refrigerator rooms,” or basically whatever’s left). The agent couldn’t tell me how many hotel chains do this, but said it’s a “very common practice” and that it sweetens the deal for travelers booking regular rates.
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The fix: Hotel loyalty programs are often free, and membership can guarantee better room placement, free nights, or perks like free breakfast or Wi-Fi.
If having the best possible room is the key to a happy trip, then book directly through the hotel’s website. But when low, low OTA prices can’t be beat—we know the feeling—you can always request a specific room type or location.
A king-size bed or two twins? High or low floor? Smoking? Water view? Three single red M&Ms? When you book a hotel, most booking engines allow you to make a request or add comments about your stay. However, in the fine print, most hotels also state that your requests are not guaranteed.
The Solution: The old adage “Don’t wait and you’ll never be disappointed” rings true here, but when you really want comfort, it’s cold comfort. First, keep in mind that hotels will usually try to accommodate your requests. If you discover at check-in that your double bed has been converted to a single bed or that you have been placed in a smoking room, speak to the front desk agent and politely request a change. It is also important to call the hotel prior to arrival to confirm your requests, especially if they are made for medical reasons.
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Of this sin of travel I am guilty of being accused. A few years ago, while traveling abroad, I noticed that my flight left on May 14th, so I booked my destination hotel for the night of May 14th. A teenager’s mistake. I totally neglected to check if my flight was a red eye that landed early on the morning of the 15th. This means I paid for an expensive (and non-refundable) room that I didn’t need.
The Fix: Unlike your hapless writer, make sure you have your flight plan handy when you book and check your arrival and departure dates. Also consider time zones. If you cross the international date line in transit, yes, your check-in date may be different than you expect. It’s also not a bad idea to ask someone to review your order before you click “confirm” or “pay” to make sure the data you’ve chosen is correct.
When booking a hotel, credit cards are king. Not only do credit cards offer rewards like airline miles, free nights, or cash back rewards, but they also offer certain guarantees that debit and cash cards don’t (like fraud protection or instant refunds).
Another tip that many travelers don’t know? Most hotels require a security deposit if you use a debit card to protect against 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 wasn’t returned to my account for two weeks.
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The solution: If you’re smart about managing your money and choosing the right type of credit card, you can see many benefits when booking accommodation. NerdWallet rounds up the best credit cards with travel benefits. Also, be sure to catch Tim Winship’s Miles & Points column that SmarterTravel does every week. In it, Winship lists current credit card promotions.
Travelers beware: An incorrect hotel name or location description can lead you to book an airport hotel when you think you’re in the heart of your destination. You’d be surprised how travelers see a hotel name and quickly save it without checking if it’s in the right place. After all, some hotels may claim to be “close to downtown,” but a quick search may show they’re at the airport… two hours away.
Fix: Check your email address and find the hotel’s exact location on Google Maps. Always enter a hotel’s address and see how far it is from popular attractions and restaurants by foot, car or public transport. Try entering the addresses of some of the attractions you want to see at your destination and plot the route. You can also explore the neighborhood with Google Maps Street View. And if there are multiple chain hotels in that city, be sure to book a property in the right neighborhood—Hyatt Times Square and Hyatt Flushing are actually very different.
In March, contributing editor Ed Perkins reported one of the most expensive resort fees we’ve ever seen. At a hotel in Colorado, a good room rate of $170 was artificially inflated by a $35 service charge, a $40 resort fee, a $10 pool and spa fee, and a processing fee of $5.10. Ugh
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Fix: If you don’t want to use such services, you may have to deal with charges such as housekeeping or newspaper delivery. Others, such as resort fees, are mandatory, so you’ll need to consider the additional costs when booking that hotel. Hotels are expected to clearly display resort fees, but OTAs can’t use vague language like “charges extra.” Therefore, call the resort before booking and ask about additional costs.
If you’ve ever mastered Oyster’s Photo Fakeout feature, you know that hotels strive to perfect their properties. But upon arrival, that infinity pool really can be the size of a postage stamp, and those plush beds can feel like rock. Take everything a hotel says about itself with a grain of salt (or sand).
The fix: do your research. Reading user reviews is a difficult balancing act. You want to read as many reviews as possible without suffering from information overload. You also want the reviews to be unbiased and up-to-date. The best way to get an accurate picture of a resort is to choose your review sites wisely. TripAdvisor and Oyster (which, like us, are owned by TripAdvisor) provide an accurate preview of what your hotel has to offer; Oyster room photos are a great resource if you’re wondering how your room compares to the hotel’s own images and possibly photoshop. Be suspicious of reviews that praise too much, and the opposite is also true: if you see that Bob Gramp has given a small star to every hotel he’s stayed at, don’t hesitate to question Bob Gramp’s judgment.
As most travelers readily admit, waiting until the last minute to make travel plans can have serious consequences on your credit card balance. Hotel prices can go up in the days leading up to a certain date, and you could end up without a room if everything is full (or if something is out of your budget). On the other hand, being an advanced planner can have its downsides: sure, you can have all your travel ducks in a row as soon as possible, but it can cost money to book your hotel room early.
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The solution: There are no simple answers to when is the right time to book a hotel room. Prices depend on many factors: location, seasonality, number of conventions and even the weather. As a general rule, bookings more than 21 days before the departure date are prohibited for the most popular destinations; you put yourself at risk of high prices. Your best bet is to start checking prices at least 40 days in advance and monitor the trend. Book if prices go up.
If you want to make sure you get the lowest price, hotel booking site Tingo (a sister company of SmartTravel) will automatically monitor your hotel and rebook you at a new, lower price if prices drop. Of course, if you’ve waited until the 11th hour and your hotel options are looking slim, check out the Hotel Tonight app for some real last-minute deals.
We saw a hotel you liked with an “excellent rating!” advertise. and immediately entered a credit card number and
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