Good To Know

Tips for Making the Most of an Online Hotel Reservation


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Travelers tend to compare prices on various OTA websites before booking hotels. Make sure that travelers can find you easily by optimizing your website through search engine optimization.

Make Sure You’re Not Being Scammed

Regarding online hotel reservations, scammers are all too willing to steal your personal information and sabotage your vacation plans. According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), bogus third-party sites cost travelers more than $200 million annually.

The scams typically look legitimate enough to fool the average consumer with copyrighted images and a URL that includes the hotel’s name. Then, they use misleading marketing tactics to pressure travelers into booking a room, such as messages that say “three rooms left” or “sale ends tonight.”

Sometimes, the websites will even have the hotel’s logo and look just like the real thing, with a fake reservation system built into the website. The reservation system will work by allowing guests to input their planned check-in and check-out dates into a calendar; then, the site will show them rates based on those dates. The hotel will then verify the booking and notify the guest if any special requests were made, such as a request for a particular bed configuration or access to a room with a view.

To avoid these scams, double-check the hotel’s official website and ensure you use a trusted booking agency. Also, always book with a credit card. Using a credit card can protect you against cyber thieves and ensure that refunds or cancellations are processed quickly. You should also ensure the website and the payment page are secure, with a padlock symbol displayed in your browser toolbar or at the URL’s start.

Check the Cancellation Policy

While some hotels offer free cancellation, it is only sometimes available. Be sure to read the teeny-tiny fine print and note any restrictions. For example, a hotel may be unable to accommodate special requests due to the weather or a medical emergency.

Similarly, some hotels will allow guests to cancel their reservations with credit towards future stays or other perks instead of a refund. It is important to remember that if you booked your room through an online travel agency or hotel website, their cancellation policy will apply and differ from the hotel’s.

Some hotels have stricter policies, such as a non-refundable cancellation policy requiring full payment in advance and not allowing for changes or cancellations. On the other hand, a partial refund policy will enable guests to cancel their reservation for a portion of the cost and often imposes a penalty, such as one night’s stay or a set cancellation/no-show fee.

Regardless of your hotel’s cancellation policy, it is always better to reschedule a reservation if possible than to cancel and lose money. However, if you need more time to reschedule, contact the hotel and explain your situation carefully. They may require you to provide a reason for the cancellation request, and you should be polite and respectful during this pandemic.

Use a Credit Card for Payment

If you’re making a hotel booking online, like at Booking.com, you may be asked to provide a credit card number for payment. However, if you want to avoid any problems, then it’s best to use a debit card instead. This way, you can monitor your transactions in real-time and avoid any unexpected charges.

Another benefit of using a debit card is that it gives you more protection. For example, if the hotel accidentally charges you for something you disagreed with, you can dispute this with your credit card company. In contrast, if you paid with cash or a check, it might be harder to get your money back.

Lastly, a credit card can help you build your credit score. This is because it can be used to demonstrate responsible financial behavior, which can boost your creditworthiness in the long run. This is especially true if you pay off your credit card balance in full every month.

Moreover, some credit cards come with travel rewards for free hotel stays and airline tickets. Therefore, if you’re planning to book a hotel, make sure that you choose a card that has excellent travel benefits.

Know Your Rights

While rare, there may be times when a hotel needs to meet expectations. While these situations are always frustrating, it’s essential to be compassionate and work with the guest to find a solution. This might mean helping them to find another room, offering a refund, or even upgrading them to a more luxurious suite.

For hotels, an online reservation system can streamline the process of accepting bookings and allowing guests to pay ahead of time. This can reduce the workload for your staff and make customer service more efficient. Plus, these systems often come with analytics tools that can help you better understand your guests, their preferences, and which upgrades you’re selling the most.


Samantha hails from Virginia and is a proud wife to a retired Deputy Sheriff and mother to two amazing little boys named Jack & William. A veteran product reviewer; Samantha has been reviewing products for 12 years and offers high quality product reviews with original photography.

Samantha hails from Virginia and is a proud wife to a retired Deputy Sheriff and mother to two amazing little boys named Jack & William. A veteran product reviewer; Samantha has been reviewing products for 12 years and offers high quality product reviews with original photography.

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