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Booking Direct — Secrets from a Hotel Insider

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Let’s face it, when planning a trip, where you stay can make or break your vacation. There are so many things to consider – the overall services, quality and location of the hotel to start, but sometimes the little things play a big role in the overall feel. From décor and food to WIFI and extras – a hotel provides that pleasant feeling at the end of the day which makes you smile and relax. But budgets come in to play and many people ask “How do I get the best deal in a hotel”?

For many people booking travel online is the way to go. We spend our time researching hotels and reading reviews, after all there are many online booking sites to choose from offering low rates. What you need to know is that these sites generally offer the lowest price for the lowest room type and when you book through a third party it’s harder to get upgrades and special requests. Try booking directly on the hotel’s website instead. Hotels and airlines will often offer special deals on their sites not found anywhere else.

What else can you do?

Turn ON your private browsing feature. When you’re online googling deals and checking out interesting travel sites, do it privately. Travel sites are smart, and they like to play sneaky. Every major site uses cookies to track your number of visits and browsing history while on their site and they feel no shame in raising the price of your hotel or airfare just because you’ve visited them frequently.

In fact, travel is a multi-billion dollar industry and these sites are fiercely competitive. They will use pop up ads to sell that hotel you just viewed back to you the next time you turn on the computer.

One of the best ways to get a great deal on a hotel is to book directly with the hotel. Just call them…Really? Yes, in this digital world making a phone call might seem strange, but hotels love it. Don’t call central reservations, call the actual hotel property you want to stay at directly (during business hours) and speak to a live reservations agent. This industry thrives on personalized service so if they don’t have a live person who can help you don’t stay there.

You can also go directly to the hotel’s own website and book there. Here you are again dealing directly with the hotel as opposed to a third party and you should get a better rate.

Finally – always be nice to the front desk staff, they hold a lot of power and have the authority to upgrade you and send you free wine or breakfasts…but more on that next time.

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