Finding and booking the perfect hotel for your upcoming trip to Europe should be an easy task, right? After all, hasn’t the Internet made it easy to explore and book?
Yes and no. Getting information about hotels around the world has never been so easy, but it’s also easy to fall into the trap of hotel marketers, tricky websites, and even other travelers.
Here are five tips to make your hotel research more efficient and make your trip more accessible.
Tip # 1: be careful with hotel reviews online!
Many travel sites offer hotel reviews from readers. Although most of these reviews are likely to be legitimate, we always suggest approaching these reviews with a healthy dose of skepticism. You never know who publishes this review, or why they publish.
For example, many regular visitors write reviews only when they think about something. They often blame the hotel for a disappointing experience that is not a hotel mistake.
In addition, the owner of the hotel can “rekindle” a competing hotel with an unpleasant anonymous review and go unnoticed. Conversely, hotel owners can give themselves good reviews. You just never know who these reviews come from.
Tip number 2: do not confuse the “discounts” of the hotel with great offers!
On some booking sites, you may be glad to find affordable hotels with discounts – sometimes up to 50%! Be skeptical
When hotels collaborate with certain sites, they have to compete with other hotels to get 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 raise their normal prices, then turn around and “lower” these prices to offer a room with a 50% discount !!! But no one would ever pay that “normal” price! This is a hoax, but this hotel is at the top of the list.
When you see statements about big discounts, take a look at the shops and find out what is the reasonable price for the chosen type of hotel and compare.
Tip number 3: free yourself!
When searching for small independent hotels you will often find more interesting, more profitable and cheaper hotels!
Large booking sites often prefer to deal with huge chains, as they are easier to register and manage. If you search only on large sites, you will not even know about the existence of small hotels!
In many old Europe cities, strict zoning laws prohibit modern construction in their historic centers. Because of this, huge hotel chains (which are not luxurious) are usually located on the outskirts of the city, while many cheaper small hotels are located in old buildings right in the middle of the action.
Spend time hunting for independent hotels! Smaller, European-oriented websites such as Venere.com, Booking.com, and EuroCheapo.com (which I edit) contain a list of small, non-chain and family-friendly hotels.
Tip # 4: Double-check this hotel rate!
Call the hotel to check prices before booking online, as you can find a cheaper rate.
Booking sites charge a booking fee from the hotel. To cover this, many hotels charge extra for the cost of an online room, which leads to higher prices.
Try to find the hotel phone number and double-check prices! This can be quite difficult, as most websites do not provide you with a hotel phone number. In the end, they want you to book through them!
And don’t worry about not being able to speak this language! Almost all hotel receptionists in Europe can speak at least enough English to check prices for you.
Tip # 5: Beware of extra costs when booking.
When researching hotel prices, we often come across well-known reservation sites that first show a single price for a hotel, but then show a much higher overall price as soon as you are ready to enter your credit card details.
How can they do this? Here are some of their favorite tricks:
They wait until the last minute to reveal local taxes (which can be very high in Europe and are always part of the price!).
Another tactic is to use a “service charge”, even though they already charge up to 10% commission on the hotel!
More shamelessly, they come up with a business about a “security fee”. Speculation, anyone?
We recommend booking only through booking sites that show all costs in advance.
Next step: book with confidence.
Now that we have taken the time to learn some tricks, you are better prepared for research and self-confidence. And don’t forget to have some fun! In the end, you embark on a European adventure! Bon Voyage!