Booking Hotel On-Line

Aug 17th, 2001, 04:07 AM
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Booking Hotel On-Line

We'd like to book a hotel room in Florence, Italy on-line but would also like to request a room with a view. Is there a hotel website that will let us request a special room? Also, we may have narrowed our choices to 1) Hotel Torre Guelfa, 2) Hotel le Cascine or maybe 3) River Hotel. Any suggestions? Thank you.
Aug 17th, 2001, 04:28 AM
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Hi is one very good website that allows you to book rooms. Whether or not you use that service, I think it's always a good idea to confirm your arrangements or preferences directly with the hotel, by phone or fax, so you can establish yourself as their customer.
Aug 17th, 2001, 04:33 AM
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Strong suggestion to contact hotels directly when making a booking. I find e-mail isn't treated seriously quite often. Fax is usually very reliable, though sometimes hotels won't waste money on a reply if they have no space. I usually find a phone call works best, backed up by a fax (in either direction) confirming what was agreed.

Especially when you have a special request direct contact is far better than going through a middle man.

Aug 17th, 2001, 04:54 AM
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Isn't it easier and also more of a sure thing if you use your travel agent to make all the arrangements. Most times they get better rates than contacting hotel directly.
Aug 17th, 2001, 06:09 AM
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I always book on-line if given the option and have had no problems...and I concure the is a good pace to start. But for a particular room, you do need to follow up your reservation with a fax or phone call. And a very enthusiatic recommendation for the Hotel Torre Guelfa---the rooms are nothing special, but the roof-top view with a bottle of wine at sunset of Florence positively glowing is a site and experience you won't soon forget.
Aug 17th, 2001, 06:13 AM
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You'll find that many European hotels pay no commissions to travel agents. Perhaps the majority. And I've found very few small hotels, the kind many FOdorites favor that provide the best value-for-money, that pay commissions.

So, you and a travel agent have a problem. Either you'll be asking your travel agent to spend their time as well as money on a phone call or fax for which they get no compensation, or your agent will be asking you to pay for their work, which is only fair.

In fact, this is the reason that so many come to this forum asking about hotel such and such, of which few of us have heard. An agent has booked the client into a hotel which does pay a commission. (Or the poster is on a tour, and most tours use hotels that have to struggle for business as well.) In either case the hotel has to resort to taking groups or paying commissions because of some lack ... most often location.

I know of few cases in Europe where a travel agent would get a better rate than you would calling directly. Most of those exceptions relate to very large travel agencies that handle commercial accounts. Such agents have, typically, a discount agreement with a major chain or two. Which is the reason you see people on business in downtown Rome staying at the inconvenient Sheraton Roma ... that's where the company gets the discount.

Most leisure travelers would get a better location and a better price by staying at one of the many excellent small hotels mentioned on this site. Better to pay for the hotel's quality, ambience and location than for a recognizable chain name. The "cost" is that you might have to make the reservation yourself ... hardly a steep price.

Aug 17th, 2001, 06:21 AM
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Here's my two cents worth. I've never had a problem booking a hotel on-line, either directly to their website, or through www.venere. or www.itwg. I have recently tried faxing to a place with no e-mail, and I never received a reply. The $6.35 for the fax was also excessive, IMO. As to how to obtain a room with a view, many of the hotel website reservation forms have a space for comments. I just had an e-mail back and forth with a hotel in Sorrento. When I first requested a room with a view, the hotel wrote back that they had no balcony rooms with views. I didn't care so much for the balcony so responded, and they e-mailed back saying they had a room with a view without a balcony, and all for $37 a night! This was much easier, and cheaper, than trying to do this by fax.

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