Sep 23rd, 2005, 10:49 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,034
So now I'm thinking, against the best advice I give others: "don't think too much"..I open up a little internet booking service for fodors or beat the best rate you can find or your first night free. :0

Yes, I'm joking.
KimJapan is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 06:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 278

i wasn't aiming for sarcasm, rather a moment of playful brevity. reading through the thread, i became entranced with the discussion and was really impressed with kim's answer to a challenging question, (though i must confess i've rarely tried contacting the hotel directly for a better price). so i guess i was half serious and half joking: seriously impressed with kim's adroit response, but also aiming to poke fun at how serious we all can get (myself included) when it comes to discussing something that is supposed to be inherently pleasurable and fun. i hope my comment didn't come off as mean-spirited, as i love the democratic flow of information and ideas on fodors, and how passionate many of us are. passion is such a funny thing: this tide of emotion sweeping through us, making us feel alive and engaged with our existence, but it can also backfire. for instance, i recently got overly passionate with my brother-in-law, who is dear to me, because he said "cobble hill (brooklyn) is similar to pasadena"--i replied with such intensity that one might have thought he had deliberately smeared horesradish sauce on my soul.
alibi13 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 01:43 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,342
Thanks kim, craig and others for all of your info that you've contributed to this thread. Wow, one can get a lot of varied ideas and helpful info from you all and I really do appreciate all of your suggestions and experiences.
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 02:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,892
Well, after debating about whether to "let it go" or not, I would like to respond to KimJapan:

Kim - your comment re: "It has never been my experience that any booking agency has a better price than the hotel's direct price. I'm sure it can happen, just not in my case." was maybe not wrong but it seemed rather absolute to me - granted there was the disclaimer but as alibi13 pointed out, we do tend to get "emotional" on this forum at times. I contacted the Penn a while ago and asked if they would match asiarooms' rates and they told me there was no way. Therefore, I have gone ahead and booked through asiarooms for February. My feeling is that it is high season and I am not a last minute person who can wait to see what I can negotiate at short notice. Hopefully, I will not have to cancel or make changes with asiarooms as the posters experiences in doing that on this thread are not good.

Interesting you bring up Balidiscovery - I did not pay their posted rates and I don't believe I have suggested that anyone do that. I had them negotiate with my 3 hotels and did much better. Maybe I could have gotten even better deals by going direct - live and learn. I do feel we got a heck of deal in Bali.

I do regret not beating up Laem Set Inn in the summer of 2000 (off-season for Thailand) - I was a newbie to Asia at the time and they were way overpriced with low occupancy. We did however stay in the awesome Lipa Noi Honeymoon Suite, which I understand is usually booked so it might have been hard to negotiate. No, we were not on our honeymoon.

Just for your information, we have received far better rates for hotels in Luang Prabang, Laos and Siem Reap, Cambodia through local contacts (guides) than either direct or through hotel websites.

And in India, our best hotel rates came through a Delhi-based travel agency - contacting the hotels directly was a waste of time.

So that is where I am coming from. It sounds like I have had some different experiences as you say.
Craig is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 03:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,631
We do have different experiences. Typically, I find the internet rates nearly unbeatable. I have asked hotels directly a number of times whether they could match the internet rate and in every instance they said no. I have had the experience of finding better than internet rates directly from hotels when I have a "frequent guest" advantage. In those cases, a call to the hotel (or sometimes even to the chain's 800 number) has given me an immediate offer of a price lower than the internet price. If it's a place I've stayed before, I don't hesitate to mention that. (I also mention it on check-in, as it has resulted in an upgrade sometimes. I'm careful not to be demanding in any way, more the "I'm so delighted to be returning to my favorite hotel in ____!" approach.)

I expect that some of the differences we are discussing have to do with traveling at different times of the year (Craig, you comment about high season seems right to me.). I'm also guessing that small places like you mentioned, Kim, on Bali may be more likely to match prices than larger places.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 03:56 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,034
Craig...I'm sorry about the emotional part. For some reason, yesterday was one of those days that I wasn't in the best of moods. Looking back, I can now read between the lines of what you wrote and understand that you weren't telling my I was wrong or my experience was untrue.

I do think it is important for anyone who might use any booking site to know that they might not always get the best price that way.

I'm not a last minute person either. I spend lots of time researching our destination and hotel choices. What I've found to work to my advantage is that I can book a room directly with the hotel, even if I find the rate too high very early on, and that booking will guarantee me a room is available for me. Then I periodically check rates, both at the hotel and inquire to booking sites. For example, booking in summer for a trip after the New Year is possible, but discount rates won't be available yet. Since my booking with the hotel has no cancellation or change penalty up to 6 pm day of check in (usually), I can change my rate for my booking without a hitch. If I do find an excellent rate on a booking site, I can then call or e-mail the hotel and ask if they'll meet or better it. The Pen Bangkok is one place that this happened, and they beat the rate, and then gave us the same rate and benefits the next year, even though their rates had risen overall quite a bit.

I will certainly continue to check booking sites and private agents wherever we go, and perhaps I will find, as you have, that Cambodia and Laos operate on a system all their own. India is another place where I'm sure you are right about getting a better price from the local agents who can negotiate for you.

The biggest problem I have with indirect booking is the up front payment, before seeing the room, or even the hotel. There is always that little worry that the place won't be what we expected or worse yet, our reservation won't be there at all or they will have no record of our payment, adding hassle to what should be a vacation.

Craig, I think you will really enjoy the Peninsula. For a big hotel, the service is very personal, with the staff greeting us all by name from the first meeting at the airport. They cannot do enough to make your stay excellent. Sounds a bit strange, but if you have anything linen, get it laundered and husbands linen pants and my linen shirt came back looking the best they ever had, crisp, with sharp creases that held all day, and for some reason, the fabric resisted wrinkles during wear like never before and never since.
KimJapan is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 07:22 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 7
Finally received my $664 refund after two 1/2 months. Had to get 'ugly' with the staff before I got some resolution. It appears that anyone who has the need to cancel a reservation has difficulty, however, if there is no cancellation need -- experiences are generally good. Based on this, I will refrain from cancelling my other reservations thru them and take the advise of people who have had good experiences with this company.
jmadison is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 07:38 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 155
I've used asiarooms to book hotels for our Dec/Jan trip to Thailand, and the service was very good. Their rates are the best that I can find! After booking with Asiarooms, I took another Fodorite's advise and emailed our bkk hotel, Novotel Siam Square directly just to doublecheck, and they confirmed my reservation.

Just a note though. Make sure you don't make any changes after booking. They charge $7 for any changes, once the hotel has confirmed the reservation. In my case, the hotel was so quick and confirmed less than 12 hrs of my reservation. Initially, Asiarooms tried to charge the $7 but I reasoned that it wasn't right since it had only been less than 12 hrs, so they waived it!
paigeTN is offline  
Nov 29th, 2005, 12:32 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 8
There will be no problem using the credit card with this service, I have booked with them before, however, I agree with Craig that you should read their policy carfully (in FAQ) before you submit a booking. And you will find a well service waiting for you.
morgan2005 is offline  
Nov 29th, 2005, 10:29 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 32
Hello, is a nightmare!!!
The first time I tried to book The club @ the legian and FS Sayan.
They wanted to charge $1000 more than they quoted for the Legian for the dates I wanted. So I cancelled both BEFORE they were confirmed and swithced dates.
They didnt release my money ($5500 USD) even though I didn't purchase the rooms. I had enough room on my CC to switch the dates and get the rate I wanted @ The Legian.
So I do both reservations again with the new dates and new updated rates...
They come back and say they want $600 more than what the web site said again!!!!!
So I cancel..but now I have ove 10,000 USD tied up with them AND I HAVEN"T EVEN PURCHASED ANYTHING!!!!!
Now they are telling me its going to take 4 or 5 days to be released.
I told them that I dont want to tie up any more money with them and they are preventing me to book a different hotel with them.
Needless to say I am furious!!
I will let you know what happens.
jbb524 is offline  
Nov 29th, 2005, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 32

They are based in Thailand...that is why you don't have any problems booking a room there!!!

jbb524 is offline  
Nov 29th, 2005, 04:50 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 8
From my experience, this kind of website, they do need to block your money first for security or something, otherwise they will not have money to pay direct at the hotel. ANyway, jbb524, keep update us what happe with your refund.
morgan2005 is offline  
Nov 29th, 2005, 05:34 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,034
Many other booking sites, like and and do not take any credit card information until they can tell you availability and price. If I were to use a booking site, I would not use one that required a credit card for an inquiry like does. While has competitive prices, there are many reports of absent or late refunds on cancellations as well as charging credit cards when no reservation has been made. I've seen this type of complaint about on many forums...if you google you'll easily find lots of feedback about them.
KimJapan is offline  
Dec 7th, 2005, 11:02 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 278
for our forthcoming holiday to Thailand i booked five different hotels through asiarooms. In all cases the rates were by far the most competitive. In all cases i followed the booking with an email to the hotel and in all cases they confirmed the booking. One hotel I had to cancel - i got a message back informing of a refund withon 24 hours. Granted the refund took four weeks to appear on my credit card but both asiarooms and my bank at home confirmed that international credit card refunds take a while.

As for the problem one poster mentions of the room not being available on the spot: asiarooms only provides a service, the hotels are booked by travel agents on the spot whose name appears on the voucher so not much use calling asiarooms about it.

As many have said, whenever using a booking website it is key to doublecheck with the hotel itself. But as far as refunds are concerned i've had a long wait but not a problem.
brusselschap is offline  

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