How to Find Hotels While Traveling
When I started to think about how to find hotels while traveling on my around the world trip, I researched a few hotel sites and gave them each a trial. I did this by checking prices and booking hotels in a few cities and then cancelling so I could see how hard that would be if I needed to do so. Because besides being able to find hotel deals, I wanted to be able to cancel easily and get a refund easily.
Of course I also checked prices on the exact same hotels to see how much surcharge the sites added to the basic hotel price. Then I read the fine print so see what else could be a factor. Last, I checked the perks of using each site. I wanted to use one site for the whole trip so I could get the most free nights! Hotels.com gives you a free night for every 10 nights you pay for! I love that and took full advantage.
I also wanted to be able to find hotel rates and book from my iPhone on the fly in case we liked a town and wanted to stay as an impromptu adventure. All the sites I checked had this and the prices didn't vary by much so it really came down to customer service, and how easy it was to cancel and get a refund. Based on all these factors I decided to use Hotels.com and I am so glad I did.
|Mary and Jesus, Almudena Cathedral, Madrid|
Great Customer Service from Hotels.comMaybe my Madrid story will illustrate why I love Hotels.com so much. First of all, Madrid was the only city where our hotel did not exceed our expectations. But I'm not sure it was the fault of the site anyway. Our "adventure" started a few hours after I booked our room when I got a message from the hotel that was not friendly informing me that I had better not be late or I would be at their mercy and might have to wait up to 4 hours for them to come back and check us in. They explained that they had several properties and would meet us, thus the need for us to be timely. Okay, but we were traveling by train with no control over the train's timeliness, and didn't know how hard it would be to get a taxi or how long we would have to wait for it.
This made me ill at ease so I emailed customer service at Hotels.com that I would like to cancel and get a different hotel because they seemed so nice in the description and then changed into jerks about being on time. But somehow I used the wrong email address and it was not received until the following week so I never got a response.
|Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid, Spain|
So we went on to Madrid anyway and actually got to the hotel before we were due but guess who was late? Them!!! The other thing I should mention is that I had emailed them and told them I had a broken ankle and would need to be on the bottom floor or there would need to be an elevator. So guess where they placed us? On the 5th floor!!! And there was no elevator!!! I did manage to climb the stairs to the top but the last straw was that this room looked nothing like the photos that had been posted on Hotels.com. I won't bore you with all the details of how different it was! LOL
This was just too much to deal with so I called customer service even though it was very expensive for me to do so. (Roaming charges are expensive for my carrier!) After telling the representative my sad tale and explaining that the room was nothing like the photos and I thought they had been defrauded by the hotel, the representative put me on hold for just about 2 minutes and said they would be crediting my account $200 and investigating the photo situation. And of course I did not have to stay in a room so high up with no elevator! Yay! Plus I got the correct email address so this would never happen again.
This made our eventual room in Madrid essentially free so we still love Hotels.com. It could have been prevented but they fixed it and paid us back. What more could you ask for?
That is the only bad experience we've ever had anyway! Most of the hotels we booked turned out to be prettier and much nicer than the photos. And we have gotten so many free nights! Plus many of the hotels we stayed in upgraded our room for free. I have never stayed in so many beautiful rooms. I think this is because they want to be on the top of the recommended list at Hotels.com. So they treat its customers really well hoping for good reviews. It works! I'm a very happy customer!
You can read all about my travels around the world at Peace,Love,Travel Light
All Photos © Heather Burns, All Rights reserved.
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