Hotel booking mistakes you might be making & how to avoid them
In a rush to book a hotel room? Slow down a second! While planning a holiday is exciting, it’s important not to let your heart rule your head when choosing the best hotel deal, or you could end up losing money or making a silly error. To help you make wiser booking decisions, we’ve shared some of the most common hotel booking mistakes and expert tips on how to avoid them.
Mistake #1 - Failing to check hotel reviews
Before you book a hotel room, it’s worth knowing what to expect. Sure, a hotel’s website will present lots of fancy photos and beautifully worded descriptions, but when it comes to honesty, it’s better to hear from previous guests. We recommend reading customer reviews on various websites, such as Google and TripAdvisor, as well as social media.
Stick to reading the most recent reviews, and be mindful that there will be times when a “customer” has written an over-the-top 5-star review in exchange for a free stay. This should be disclosed within reviews, but it doesn’t always happen. It’s also worth taking overly negative reviews that criticise everything about a hotel with a pinch of salt. There’s just no pleasing some people! In this case, it’s worth seeing how the hotel has responded to the negative feedback as a testimony of their customer service.
If most of the hotel’s reviews are positive, you also have a good chance of having a positive experience. On the other hand, if there’s a lot of negative feedback, it’s a sign to move on to your next choice.
Mistake # 2 Not comparing hotel deals
Don’t book a room just because the hotel website says it’s an exclusive deal or it’s running a time-limited offer. Instead, take your time to compare hotel deals and shop around for the best offers.
It’s also crucial to check that everything is included in the price so you aren’t surprised by hidden fees - for example, taxes, cleaning fees, admin or booking fees, and extra costs for children, pets or additional guests. If the hotel booking information isn’t clear, ask customer service to clarify it and get answers to your questions.
Mistake #3 Booking the wrong dates
We know what you’re thinking…how could anyone get their holiday dates wrong? But trust us. It happens more often than you think! Especially when there is a difference in time zone. When booking a hotel in a different time zone, ensure you have your flight itinerary and double-check your arrival and departure dates.
If you’ve already booked the wrong hotel dates, contact the company you’ve booked with as soon as possible to see if you can change them. Unfortunately, if you’ve booked a non-refundable hotel room, you won’t be able to get your money back. You can, however, sell hotel rooms you can no longer use on PlansChange.com More on that in the section below!
Mistake #4 Failing to read the cancellation policy
Before booking a hotel room, knowing what will happen if you need to change or cancel your reservation is essential. Often you’ll be able to cancel your reservation within several days or weeks and still get your money back, or the hotel may allow you to change your booking to another date and pay the difference (if there is one) in rates.
However, if you’ve booked a cheap hotel room, chances are it’s non-refundable. A non-refundable hotel booking means that if you need to cancel your hotel reservation (because of bad weather, family illness or any other reason), you won’t be able to get your money back.
Many will tell you that booking a non-refundable hotel is a mistake in itself. But we disagree. Booking a non-refundable hotel room can save you significant money, as the rates are often far cheaper. Yes, it’s risky, but we have a backup solution if your travel plans change - re-selling your non-refundable hotel booking on our marketplace.
PlansChange is a unique marketplace connecting sellers who can no longer use their hotel rooms and buyers looking for great hotel deals not available elsewhere. List your hotel reservation on our website and decide on the price (which must be the same or cheaper than the price you paid.) Then we’ll share it with buyers looking for cheap hotel deals. When it sells, you will recover some of your costs and won’t be left entirely out of pocket - hurray! We keep our fees small, so you get as much money back as possible. We’ll also tell you how much it will cost to sell your hotel room with Plans Change upfront. And if there’s no sale, there’s no fee. We’re fair like that!
Mistake #5 - Not researching the location
When comparing hotel prices, you will find some hotels have very similar names. Hence why it’s always important to double-check the location of a hotel before booking. Additionally, if you are booking with a big hotel chain with hundreds of hotels across the globe, make sure you choose the right hotel in your desired location.
We also think it’s important to check that a hotel’s location is right for you and close to everything you need. Unfortunately, some hotels can have very misleading descriptions that lead you to think you’re getting a centrally-located hotel when in reality, it’s the back of beyond! Always put the hotel address into Google Maps to pinpoint its exact location and see how far it is from popular attractions, restaurants, shops, train stations, bus routes and anything else you want to be close to.
Mistake #6 - Not checking what’s included or excluded in the hotel reservation
Before you confirm a hotel booking and pay with your credit card, you must check exactly what’s included (or excluded) in the hotel reservation. For instance, does the hotel provide free parking for guests? Remember that many city centre hotels do not have car parks, so you will need to consider where you will park close by and how much it will cost you.
While many big hotel chains offer complimentary breakfast with hotel reservations, it’s not always true. So first, find out whether your hotel room comes with breakfast. If not, see how much it’ll cost and decide whether you still want to proceed with your booking.
A common mistake people make when booking a spa hotel is thinking treatments are included. Most commonly, spa hotels provide free access to facilities like their pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and relaxation areas, but guests must book and pay for spa treatments separately. Always check the booking information and contact the hotel’s customer service team with any questions.
Mistake #7 - Not signing up for a hotel’s loyalty program
Did you know that it’s common practice in the hotel industry to assign better rooms to guests who are part of a hotel’s loyalty program? Yes, loyalty members often get first dibs on hotel rooms with better views or quieter locations, so it’s well worth signing up for a hotel’s loyalty scheme. What’s more, hotel loyalty programs are often free to join and include extra benefits like free WiFi usage.
The good news is that even if you book a discounted hotel through Plans Change, you will still make your payment directly to the accommodation provider and, therefore, will still be eligible to collect your loyalty points. It’s a win-win situation!
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading through these common hotel booking mistakes and learnt something from our tips on avoiding them. Don’t forget to check out our current Resale Deals for exclusive hotel offers you won’t find anywhere else!