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The Problems Of Using The Internet To Book A Hotel

May 29, 2008
Using the internet to book a hotel room has certainly become the most popular way of at least starting your investigations. Within seconds it is possible for you to be able to identify a range of hotels which fit certain criteria, such as, location, price and specific facilities.

Although the internet does offer tremendous advantages, it is always worth accepting that this immediate access to standard, public information has its downfalls. Whilst starting your investigation this way, it is advisable not to make it the only way in which you reserve your hotel room.

The first obvious downfall of using the internet is the fact that you do not have access to one single individual who could perhaps provide with you with a better idea of what you will be able to get for your money. Whilst the photographs on the web page might look smart and sophisticated, speaking to somebody on the phone gives you a good idea of the kind of service you might expect. For example, how long does it take them to answer? What is their manner like? How well do they listen? Are they prepared to go an extra mile in order to make you a happy customer?

Asking questions based on what they say can generate a dialogue which will give you far more information than a web page that has been written to appeal to the average customer, or to a specific type of customer, which may not necessarily be yourself.

Another problem with booking online this way is that you have no opportunity for negotiation on price. It is still remarkable how many people assume that the price printed is the price everyone pays, or that you certainly will have to pay. This is most definitely not the case, and most hotels have between a 30% and 40% negotiation border. The fact that most people don't bother to use it is clearly the hotel's gain. Booking online gives the hotel the opportunity to charge everyone the maximum price they can. Whereas, either in person or over the phone, you have the chance to barter on that price, and more often than not, achieve a far lower rate.

One other point to bear in mind is that if you are using the internet, and in particular using a comparison site, you are effectively going through a third party agent. This third party agent will obviously be working on a commission basis. As a result, the price will clearly be inflated beyond that which is necessary, since the hotel will already be working at a reduced price, as they will need to pay the agent their commission rate. Therefore, whilst advisable to use the internet to begin with, the personal touch will always gain you an advantage.

Perhaps a cheeky, but revealing question to ask is either whether the person on the phone has seen the website for the hotel, or what they think of the website. Their reaction can tell you quite a bit. Have they taken the time and trouble to look at their own site? Do they know what information it is advertising? Do they like it, or have reservations about it themselves? It's an easy question to slip in to the conversation, but one that can sometimes be more revealing than any other.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant about luggage, cruises, hotels, and shopping. You will find the best marketplace for luggage, cruises, hotels, and shopping at these sites for bags, luggage, hotels, cruises, internet booking, and shopping.
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