Five things travellers should do when booking a hotel

Experts have revealed the common mistakes guests make when booking a hotel room that means they often pay more than they should.

Here are some of the simple ways to make sure you get the best room while keeping your costs low.

John McMahon, the chief executive officer of online hotel travel agency Five Star Alliance, said one of the biggest mistakes people made was not questioning why a hotel room seemed to be a bargain.

“(Ask) things like, ‘Is there any construction going on at the hotel?’” he told Travel + Leisure.

“I once checked into a hotel in Tampa that overlooked the river. The only problem was the windows were covered with adhesive because they were cleaning the facade of the building. So much for the view.”

Guests should also ask if things like service changes or cancellation fees were included, as this could make your stay much more expensive than first suggested.

Mr McMahon also said using booking or travel agents could offer hidden benefits, due to knowing the resorts and dealing with them often.

“Generally, it’s more advantageous to book through a travel consultant who can secure extra amenities because of their relationship with the hotel,” he said.

“Many travel advisers have contracts with hotels for automatic upgrades on bookings.”

If you want to take things into your own hands, be cheeky and tag them on social media before heading there.

“Honeymooners should follow the hotel on Twitter and Instagram and tag (them) a week in advance of their arrival,” he said.

“That puts your reservation on the hotel’s radar and will help your upgrade chances.”

Marriott Rewards vice president Rich Toohey agreed, saying the hotel had a system of points that meant it could give freebies or gifts to people who posted about their stay on social media.

“It was a cool opportunity for (guests) to take advantage of and participate by doing what they’re already doing,” he said of the initiative.

With the pandemic resulting in a lot of empty hotels, it could be worth just calling a hotel and seeing if they had any deals they couldn’t advertise online right now.

Jane Pendlebury, from British hospitality workers association HOSPA, who launched the Sleepover to Help Turnover scheme that offered freebies and discounts to hotel guests, spoke to Sun Online Travel about how to find a bargain following COVID-19 restrictions.

“Families should look where they want to go and just call the hotel – they may have great offers which they can’t make public but can offer you,” she said.

“You won’t find many big names putting deals out there in the public space as they don’t want to damage their brand or get their rates back to normal, but if you call them you can always get something even better.”

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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