Booking your hotel online primer: Have a great time, and read this before you book!
There are a few basics you’ll need to know before you begin to book your hotel online, in Asia or elsewhere.
The good news is, WoWasis has done your investigative work for you, which we accomplished by test-booking our own reservations through various companies.
We’ll tell you why we selected Agoda as our prime hotel booker, but first, let’s discuss how online bookers work.
Online hotel bookers carry no inventory, they are aggregators.
Once you book online, they’ll send you a confirmation email initially, indicating that your booking was received. This does not mean you have a room yet!
Once your booking request is received by the online booker, the booker then telephones your desired hotel to ensure that the room really is available for your requested dates.
If it is, then you get your confirmation email, and you have a room!
If not, the booker will generally send you an email indicating your preferred hotel is not available, and will offer you other choices.
The only reason veteran travelers bother with online booking at all, is price.
Online bookers cut great deals with hotels for very good rates that even your travel agent may not get.
This is because the booker carries no inventory and can offer a “take it or leave it” deal to the hotel.
But the booking takes very little of the hotel’s personnel time, and absolutely no marketing budget is needed to help the online booker, so it’s a win-win for the booker and the hotel.
So now you know the business story behind the booker. Here are two important caveats:
Book well in advance.
If you need that room tomorrow, you may be disappointed, as the online booker still has to call the hotel to ensure the room’s available, and you may not get your email in time, if the room isn’t available.
Be careful to ensure you’re not booking unneeded days.
Online bookers (even Agoda, which we use) charge fees for days you booked, but didn’t use.
It’s better to err on the side of caution, book fewer days, and extend your stay if you want, than it is to overbook, and pay a penalty when you leave earlier.
Why did we, here at WoWasis, choose Agoda as our Asian online hotel booker?
We did a lot of research before selecting Agoda as our choice.
Here’s why Agoda passed our test:
The room is always there at the price offered, extras included. One of Agoda’s competitors booked a room for a friend, but the price was higher when he arrived, and the promised free breakfast was not included. The booker didn’t make it right, so we couldn’t use them, too unreliable.
Agoda can get rooms in virtually every Asian country. We used Macau as a test, and we were surprised at the number of well-known online bookers that couldn’t get us a room.
Agoda really does have better prices. Another online booker was asking $160 USD for the same room we booked at Agoda for $85 USD.
Bottom line is this. Try to book at least 3 days before you’ll need your room, and make sure you read your email every day during that time. You can use our partners hotels.com and Travelocity for non-Asian hotels, but we think you’ll be a lot more happier if you use Agoda for Asian travel.
Have a great time, save some money by using an online booker like Agoda, and book early