How to Avoid Online Hotel Booking Scams

We’ve all done it – fallen head over heels for the perfect hotel and decided to book a room there and then. Sometimes though, we can end up paying more and getting less. So how can you make sure that you are getting the most out of your money, and not the wool pulled over your eyes instead? Our handy guide will tell you what to do and what to look out for when you book your stay at a hotel.

Book Direct

Try to always book direct with the hotel. There are plenty of websites out there that claim to offer incredible deals but they always have to add their own margin, and some sites may not be reliable. Dealing with the hotel directly means that your booking will be safe and secure. You may also be surprised at the offers you find on a hotel’s website or by simply enquiring – booking direct doesn’t always have to be more expensive.

Be Site Aware

Be aware of what sites you are using. It’s easy to click on the first search result that pops up, but those can simply be third-party adverts. Designed to look like the hotel’s official website, these pages can to lead nothing more than costly complications. So make sure that you scroll through those search results carefully!

What Are You Paying For?

You should always make sure you’re sure of what’s included in the price too. Some hotels include breakfast in the room price, whereas others require you to pay each morning. This could be a costly surprise, so always double check. Some also include spa treatments, use of the gym and other amenities in the price – but never presume. Oh, and don’t forget to see if the WiFi is free or not. If you’re travelling abroad, it’s often the only way of avoiding expensive calls and data usage. If you’re not sure, always ask.

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Read Some Reviews

We can’t state how important it is to read some reviews before you book! It’s best to use an independent site for this, as a hotel will generally only include favourable ones on their own site. Look out for cleanliness, the attitude of the staff, quality of the food and anything else you value on a holiday. Reading through some honest opinions is a good way of making sure you’re going to be getting what you are paying for. Also, check for the most recent reviews, as a hotel can quickly go downhill – 100 good reviews over five years may not be so telling as five bad reviews in the last month.

Check the Small Print

Last but not least, always check the small print. Many hotels can sneak in little clauses or exemptions – such as an offer only being available on a certain date or for a certain sized party. They can trip up even the most experienced of travellers, so make sure that you’re not one of the ones who gets caught out! Also check the cancellation policy – if you can get a full refund up to 24 hours before check-in, you won’t be out of pocket if your travel plans change at the last minute.

Make a Decision Carefully

As long as you keep your wits about you, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to get the best deal possible on your hotel. Just remember to take your time and be as thorough as you possibly can – a rushed decision could end up costing you a lot of money in the long run! Provided you do all that we’ve said though, you can look forward to a great holiday!

About the Author

Laura Reeve is the Marketing Executive for Avanti Travel Insurance, who specialise in travel insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions, and are one of very few that have no upper age limit on their policies.

Photo credit: Unsplash / Ryan McGuire