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What every traveler should know about booking hotels

There was a time when making hotel reservations was as simple as picking up the phone and booking a room for a specific period of time. Depending on how your travels were going, I would sometimes have the misfortune of having to book the same day and hope for the best, but all in all, booking a hotel room was no big deal.

We, things have certainly changed! When the occasional “booker” hostel room decides it’s time to make a reservation, nervous sweating begins. Palms take over, internal temperatures start to rise, voices start cracking. The question at hand is that we are always bombarded by commercials in our airwaves saying we can find better deals using technology. Online booking, booking apps, and email alerts and text messages for falling prices are now the way to book a hotel room not necessarily the right way but the smart way. Of course, nobody wants to look stupid, right?

To start, let’s leave it simple. First of all, you always want to make sure you have the correct dates for your prospective reservation at the correct hotel. In other words, have the basic information spelled correctly even before you begin. Sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people try to book a hotel room with the wrong information.

You also want to be sure to try and book soon. Although this may not always be possible, it helps to get things out of your mind faster than you wait until the last minute before booking. Also avoid the hassle of not having a room to reserve because of something on the calendar that brings people to town. An example would be trying to book a hotel near the beach during the Spring Break season.

It pays to think about how you book so you can avoid contending with overbooking, time constraints, and heavy travel windows. For example, if you’re traveling on weekends, try to book a room at a hotel that tends to have a penchant for business bookings. In the same sense, if you travel during the week, you like to stay in a hotel that has more than one “resort” feel. In this way, you are still trying to travel opposite to the general travel traffic.

Finally, here is a bit of input regarding online booking and discount applications and websites – it can go either way. You can actually save some serious cash reserves in some way, but you can end up being booked at a mystery hotel whose identity is unknown until the booking is made. In some cases, you also have to act quickly to take advantage of the hotel’s booking business to get the price, which you may not be able to do right away. It is also important to know how to “walk” from a hotel. “Walking” means that if a hotel cannot raise your reservation, you will pay overnight. Hotels overbook assuming there will be “no shows”. Regardless of how and when you make the reservation, your indirect / third party booking leaves you as a low priority, and if you are not fortunate enough to be booked into a hotel where everyone is present, you will be “walked”.

Surprisingly, booking hotel bookings directly with a hotel by phone or through their own website is the best way to book in many cases and provide the most benefits. Whether through loyalty programs, flexibility in negotiating prices, or being a frequent guest, connecting the old-fashioned way seems like the best bet for managing your living room.