Whenever you travel, one thing you can count on is staying overnight. Most people use a hotel of some sort. While many are using VRBO’s, the vast majority of my clients use a hotel. So what’s the best way to book hotels?
On your own
Many people book hotels own their own. You can go directly to the hotel site, say Marriott or Hilton. Or you can use the many on line reservation companies like Expedia, Hotels.com or Priceline. This is an approach I recommend many times. First, for domestic hotels or large chain hotels, it’s easy. If the hotel nights you are booking are part of a do it yourself vacation, then you really have no other choice. And this will likely work out just fine. I can provide recommendations but there’s so many choices in many cities, that it’s best to do it yourself.
As part of a package
In most cases, when I plan a trip to say Italy or Australia, I’ll purchase the hotels through a packager or tour operator. Why? First, I know the hotel is vetted – so there’s a level of trust (location, quality, service, cleanliness). Second, if there’s an issue, I have lots of clout to make things right. Third, it’s typically a much better deal for the customer since the packager buys in bulk and can use that leverage to negotiate lower prices or better value (for example, rates include breakfast or WIFI).
Recently I had a customer in Ireland that we purchased hotels through CIE. The hotel was centrally located but that meant is was smack in the middle of a huge local celebration which went on all night. Our clients had trouble sleeping with all the noise. CIE apologized, offered to move them to a quieter hotel and even offered them some compensation. That simply would not happen if they had booked on their own.
It’s your cruise
The nice thing about a cruise of course is never having to pack and unpack. Your hotel goes with you. So there’s really no need to worry about booking a hotel when booking a cruise. Still, it’s important to think of your cruise as a hotel to ensure you select the right cabin category for your needs.
Pre and post stays
Lots of people add pre and post vacation stays to their vacation. And so they need extra nights of hotels. There’s lots of options here:
- Many times the tour operator, packager or cruise line has negotiated rates at local hotels. Many times, we’ll work with AmaWaterways for our river guests; that way they stay in the same hotel as the river cruise pre or post cruise extension.
- There’s other operators that specialize in this sort of thing that travel agents have access to; it’s their bread and butter and offer great rates.
- If you’re looking to stay the night before you flight out from the US, you might consider a park and fly package. In many cases, the cost of the park and fly package is less than it would cost you to simply park at the airport for the duration of your trip. This is a great option in many cases.
Have a question?
How to book hotels when you travel? Lots of times its best to do it yourself, but other times you’ll do better off going through your travel agent. There’s lots of other specific examples that we haven’t covered here. If you still have a question, give me a call or send me an email. I love answering travel questions of all sorts.
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