SEARCHING AND BOOKING HOTELS ON THE INTERNET
For a full-fledged trip, it is necessary to choose a hotel very carefully, because a noisy or poorly located hotel can spoil the mood and impression of the trip for any traveler. Therefore, it is important to learn how to search, choose and book hotels on the Internet on your own.
Before you start exploring the search for hotels on the Internet, let’s take a look at some details.
- How do hotels set prices?
As a rule, hotels do not have certain tariffs, final and unregulated. They all depend on the load. If the hotel is heavily underloaded according to the plan, the price is reduced; if it is overloaded, the price is increased. If plans for loading are suddenly violated, they announce sales. This means that you can always find hotels with lower prices at a given time or some promotions.
- How does a hotel search service work?
Below you can try some services that do not sell anything themselves, but search for the best and most suitable deals among the huge number of hotels or various websites around the world offering online booking.
- Is it safe to book a hotel online?
Yes, because the search engines will eventually redirect you to the booking site where you will end up choosing a hotel. Since these are usually very serious Internet platforms, they provide a high level of security.
- Why use search engines?
Very often, hotels and booking services arrange promotions, discounts, sales, but tourists often do not even know about it. Moreover, promotions may be different for different booking services.
- Why is it better to search for hotels in search engines?
It happens that tourists come across unscrupulous travel organizers, who just disappear after receiving payment for a hotel or tour, and people on vacation do not have the opportunity, and sometimes even the means, to check into their hotel. In the case of self-search and booking, such situations are practically excluded, since the booking service is the only intermediary between you and the hotel, and you have a reservation for this hotel. In addition, hotels take their relationship with booking platforms and their reputation on these platforms quite seriously, so they try to avoid getting into trouble with customers who come from this platform.
Conclusions. With a huge number of hotels in the world, it is quite difficult to find the right hotel without the help of various platforms. Booking platforms use the latest advances in technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to offer you the most suitable and cost-effective option.
The general rule: the sooner you start tracking prices for hotels in the chosen direction, the better. Numerous studies show that it is optimal to start looking for hotels about 3 months before the trip, although there are exceptions to this rule too. Moreover, in most cases this is the period recommended for applying for a visa.
Recommendation. Almost all hotel search systems publish reviews of tourists. We strongly recommend that you carefully study the reviews of other tourists and the administration’s responses to them before booking. Of course, any hotel has shortcomings, and there is always something to complain about, however, the reaction of hotels to reviews allows us to draw a conclusion about their attitude towards tourists.
As a rule, all hotel search systems also allow instant hotel booking, both with payment and in some cases without it. The only thing that may be required is registration on the website.
Information disclosure. We are affiliated partners of several systems for searching and booking hotels. This means that if after visiting their page you buy or book something, we will receive a small reward. This reward does not increase the final price and you do not have to pay anything more than what is indicated on the site!
Today there are several ways to find the right hotel.
Way 1. Hotel Online Travel Agency (OTA)
Such systems collect a lot of information about their partner hotels. Of course, they do not do this for free, however, the price indicated on the website is final, and you do not have to pay anything beyond this price.
The most famous hotel OTA is Booking.com, and we will look at its main features as an example.
Before searching, it is advisable to register on the website, so that later your name will be automatically indicated when booking. Therefore, try not to make mistakes when entering your data and email. Moreover, in the future you may receive email messages about any special offers, discounts, promotions, so this can be useful.
At the bottom, we can see the so-called search box or search form. This form is found on almost all travel websites in various variations, but it is not difficult to use – just enter the destination, arrival and departure dates, and the number of travelers, then click the Search button. The system will display a list of hotels, but there are too many.
The advantage of Booking com is that it can be sorted by many parameters, so the list of hotels can be easily reorganized to suit your own interests. Just click on the Top pick for your search button and select a sorting criterion.
To the right of the Top pick for your search button there is the map icon. When you click on it, the system will display not just a list, but show the location of hotels on the map.
As you can see, in this example 529 hotels were found in Berlin, and if you study each one separately, it will take a lot of time and effort.
There are filters to select hotels according to certain criteria. It’s a column with squares on the left. These are functions that filter information according to the characteristics you specify, so you do not have to view all objects, but only those that are selected according to the given parameters.
For example, there are such filters: Health & safety, Star Rating, Distance from the center of Berlin and others. There is a relatively new filter Sustainability that shows the most sustainable hotels, which is very important in modern times.
Opposite each filter is the number of hotels that meet this criterion. If you choose this filter, the system will display a new list of all hotels that meet the specified search criteria.
It is allowed to mark several filters at once, in this case a list of hotels that meet all the selected criteria will be displayed.
For example, by turning on the Sustainability and Property Type filters, we will see only 63 hotels that provide apartments and meet sustainability requirements.
It is important to know that the numbers in the blue squares on the right indicate the rating of the hotel according to tourist reviews, the maximum is 10 points.
What is more important – before booking, you should carefully study the page of the selected hotel, which will open if you click on its name. The platform displays the maximum amount of information about the selected hotel, including additional services, equipment, living conditions, check-in and check-out times, photos from both owners and hotel guests, and many other useful information.
Way 2: Universal OTAs
In addition to platforms that are highly specialized in hotels, like Booking com, there are also universal OTAs that allow you to search not only hotels, but also transport, air tickets, trains, etc. For example, Trip.com.
When you click on the link, you will see a window similar to the one discussed earlier with filters and sorting criteria.
Universal OTAs differ from hotel OTAs by searching not only for hotels, but also for air tickets, trains, car rentals, and much more. You just need to open the appropriate tab.
Way 3. Systems for searching low prices and special offers
Such systems use various modern technologies, and they are able to find the lowest prices and the most profitable promotions for you personally.
Unlike usual OTAs, communication with the client mainly takes place in messengers. It means that you will receive the best personalized offers through the messenger.
For example, let’s look at the Snaptravel service.
All you need to do is enter in the search box the destination, arrival and departure dates, and the number of tourists.
After clicking the Search button, a new window will open where you can choose a method of contacting to send you personalized offers:
After that, you should wait a bit and you will receive special offers from hotels through the communication channel you have chosen.
It is worth noting that the Snaptravel system can search not only hotels with the best prices, but also flights.
Way 4. Hotel Metasearch
This method is somewhat different from searching through OTA. Metasearch engines look at many different websites, platforms and OTAs, and based on this information, give the tourist options that are different in price and content.
We will consider the capabilities of metasearch engines on the example of the Hotellook metasearch engine. However, many metasearch systems also have these capabilities.
To start search, just follow the link.
A search form similar to the Booking.com will open:
We must do the same: enter the destination, dates and number of travelers, and click the search button. The system will display the found hotels:
Pay attention to the tools on the left side, such as “Sort”, “Price per night”, “Star rating”, etc. These are filters similar to Booking com. By moving the sliders and choosing options according to your preferences, you can see only those hotels that meet your conditions.
Further, after pressing the “Book now” button, you will be redirected to the page of the selected online hotel booking website.
We have looked at several options for searching hotels and places to stay, but there are other options and platforms for searching. Moreover, new technologies appear all the time, but the essence and interface is still and will remain the same – all platforms strive to provide tourists with the best option.
As you can see, learning how to independently search and book hotels around the world without leaving your home is not difficult.
We recommend that you study different search engines in more detail, try different filters and sorting types. When you acquire these skills, you will be able to easily fit into a budget and get the most for your money.
And remember – until you book a hotel, you do not pay anything to anyone, therefore you can safely practice in search of hotels for as long as you like and improve your skills, which are so necessary for a smart tourist!