A guide to booking a hotel online
The Top 7 Things You Should Know
- Choose your ideal location.
- Compare facilities.
- Set a budget.
- Take advantage of travel deals and discounts.
- Check for extra services offered.
- Don't believe every review you read.
- Don't lose your confirmation documents.
Booking a hotel online can be quicker and simpler than making reservations over the phone. Modern travel websites can carry out a comprehensive hotel search according to your preferences, and results pages can be used to compare UK hotels with ease. The UK Net Guides hotel search can help you find the perfect accommodation for your trip.
Hotels are often listed in order of their distance from your chosen destination. When comparing hotels in Liverpool, for example, accommodation can be based in the city centre or the outskirts. You will need to consider how your hotel's location will complement what you plan to do during your stay – do you want easy access to attractions and nearby restaurants or are you happy to travel in to the city by public transport or car?
What a hotel does or does not offer its guests is also a common consideration when booking a hotel online. Most hotel listings include details of amenities such as en-suite bathrooms, whether the hotel has a restaurant or bar or if the rooms include items such as hairdryers, bathrobes or complementary toiletries. For some travellers, a gym is a must-have for any trip away, while others may require tea and coffee-making facilities.
Some hotels also offer activities and events for their guests. Country hotels with large grounds may offer archery, clay pigeon shooting and other sports, while others host afternoon tea and other special dining experiences. If you’re planning a relaxing break, a spa hotel may be ideal, combining hospitality and treatments such as massage, facials and body wraps. Compare different hotels to ensure the facilities you would like are included.
Cost is also an important factor, with expenses varying significantly between five-star luxury accommodation and budget bed and breakfasts. Deciding the maximum you would like to spend is useful when booking hotels online, as you can easily dismiss hotels that exceed your budget.
There are ways to make extra savings – room-only rates, that don't include breakfast, are often cheaper. Travel websites commonly feature promotions for certain dates or hotels, ideal for guests who can be flexible about where and when they go away.
Booking a hotel online also offers the distinct advantage of being able to read about the experiences of others before entering your credit card details. Instead of relying on glossy hotel brochures, why not check out some travel review sites to see what their hospitality is really like? Some previous guests also include their own photos with reviews, giving you a clearer picture about what the hotel is like to stay in.
However, take reviews with a pinch of salt – the fact is, some travellers like to complain and raise issues that would barely affect the average hotel guest. Read a mixture of positive and negative reviews to get a more standard view of the hotel's quality.
The nature of your trip will determine the level of service you require. Business travellers may wish to stay in a hotel that offers breakfast to go and is sensitive to guest privacy, whereas honeymooning couples might appreciate some extra attention. If you are planning a romantic break, why not choose a hotel that delivers champagne to your room or serves breakfast in bed?
Further useful information
- Details of attractions and events across the UK can be found at Visit Britain.
- The Microsoft Safety and Security Centre offers more information about staying safe while booking hotels online.