As of 15th April 2016, you probably have heard that Airlines which are operating out of Malaysia will be charged 1000% more in fees, which may, eventually lead to higher airfares. Click here if you have no idea what we’re talking about. So… The Coverage would like to share a few useful tips we’ve compiled to help you save on hotels instead.
When Booking a Hotel…..
1. Look for alternatives to hotels.
One word: AirBnB. The good thing about booking a place to stay through AirBnB will not only save you some moolah but living with the hosts who are locals would also enable you to learn more about the place you’ll be travelling to and they’ll probably be able to show you places where you can get the best food or the cheapest shopping, which are usually not your touristy places (so there you go… you’ll save more on that, too!) But if you love privacy, you’ll be happy to know that some owners also do rent their entire place out.
2. Don’t book a hotel near the city
The closer a hotel is to town, the more costly it’ll be. So let’s not even talk about the hotels that are IN town itself. For more savings, it’s better to get a hotel a little further from the city or touristy areas but do study the means of transportation available and the transportation costs – We say, google maps is a good app to use for this as it will give you options on the best ways to get to a destination, according to what works best for you.
3. Leverage points
Do your credit cards, loyalty cards or hotel membership cards allow you to trade the points for hotel stays? Otherwise, you can also use hotel booking sites such as Hotels.com that rewards loyalty. Book 10 nights with them and they’ll give you one free.
4. Watch for deals and discounts
Now this can be tricky but also very rewarding. Check out sites like Groupon. Simply google the discount site and your destination and you’ll get into their site in the right place. Now, on to the tricky part… When you buy through Groupon, you buy a coupon and until you use that coupon, you won’t know whether you can book for the nights you want – regardless of whether the nights are open when you buy. So, a good way to start is by reading the fine print. Call the hotel directly. Ask if they’d like to match the price. If they can’t honor the price, confirm that you can book the reservation with a Groupon coupon number. Yes? Have the person reserve the dates and keep him/her on the phone until you hit book on the Groupon site and receive your confirmation coupon number. Pay for the reservation with the coupon number.
If they won’t stay on the phone, confirm their cancellation policy and book your room and call back to cancel and re-book with your coupon code once you get it.
5. Know what’s included and what’s not
If breakfast is included you’ll save on your food expense. If there isn’t free WiFi, don’t fret as that’s pretty easy to grab at a local coffee shop or off your phone if you won’t be charged for roaming…. and… always, always, always make sure that the number of persons on the room reservation voucher matches the number of persons who will be staying there. Or else, check with the hotel for the costs of additional persons.
6. Avoid hidden hotel fees
Before you book your accommodation, get a handle on what your actual costs could be. Here are some of the hidden costs you may need to consider: Parking fees, Wifi charges, Telephone charges, Bottled water on your bedside (unless it says complimentary, its not), Towels at the pool, Cancellation fees, Early check-in or late check-out fees, Service fees, Tipping for staff, Minibar treats and Luggage storage space.
7. Get a reputation
Whether you’re visiting the same hotel on a regular basis or using the same hotel chain internationally, get something for your loyalty. Be friendly with the reservation staff or hotel manager and get a reputation as a guest they want back. Alternatively, go big on social media with the hotel: review the hotel on your blog, share postings of your stay with them. Then, email the links to the hotel manager and thank them for their service. For your next trip, email the same manager and find out if you’re able to get a better price by booking through him/her.
8. It’s all about the right timing
According to TripAdvisor, it’s always best to book European hotels early – Best summer hotel rates are usually on offer between 3-5months in advance. However, this doesn’t work for Istanbul and Paris where there are many hotels. As for Asian hotels, the later the better. Prices are typically dipped at their lowest point two weeks prior to your arrival date. Booking a city hotel more than 5 months in advance will only cost more. The two big exceptions to this are Barcelona and Moscow where you can have significant savings up to 55% by booking about 7 months before your trip.
Having given out all these tips, it’s important to remember that if you plan to visit a place where there are limited hotels (say, a deserted island) and/or if you know you’ll be needing a couple of rooms joined together or a few big family rooms, it’s always advisable to book with the accommodation in advance. After all, a vacation is time to yourself and you’ll want nothing but the best out of it!