booking hotels online

Old Apr 14th, 2010, 05:43 PM
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rml
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booking hotels online

going to Rome, Naples,Capri, Amalfi Coast what is a good site to book my hotel reservations on line...Expedia? Travelocity? etc...reasonable rates and good customer service....thanks!!
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Old Apr 14th, 2010, 05:48 PM
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I always book directly with the hotel.
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Old Apr 14th, 2010, 05:55 PM
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I use tripadvisor and then check booking.com or venere to compare prices with the hotel website and try to book with the hotel.
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Old Apr 14th, 2010, 05:55 PM
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I always book directly also, but you can search on venere.com.
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Old Apr 14th, 2010, 06:46 PM
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There is no substitute for checking all available resources. Whenever possible, I book directly with the hotels also.

Third party booking sites are useful for getting an idea of rates and for the reviews. But, you always have to double check the rates. Often, you get better rates directly, and you definitely receive better service and, usually, a better choice of rooms.
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Old Apr 14th, 2010, 08:16 PM
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You do know that if you check on hotels via Trip Advisor, you often with one click can check out five or more of the online services at the same time? Even if you don't book with one of them, it gives you a pretty good feel for what the cost could/should be.

While I've often booked with hotels directly, I've used at least eight online services: hotels.com, Expedia, booking.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, Otel, www.reservetravel.com, Venere, and I also consult chain sites: Best Western, Starwood, etc.

Not only should you look for the best deal based on price/value added for room booked, I recommend you check for any extra fees and taxes that can be tacked on afterward. Sometimes one online agency with a higher priced room actually has included all taxes with their rate while the so-called "cheaper" rate offered by a competitor keeps taxes and other fees out of their posted rate.

As a general rule, I prefer not to go with a "pre-paid" rate, as tempting as they are, because often the rates will go lower for even flexible rates in the weeks/days ahead. Once, though, Otel offered a non-refundable Bed and Breakfast rate for a 4* hotel in Prague that was easily $100 different per room than any other fare I had seen, and I did pre-pay. It was such a good deal, I was afraid that my voucher would be refused when we were checking in (we weren't).

For international "chains" (Marriott, Starwood, etc) I often call their reservations line to double check that the hotel in question is not offering some sort of price drop or special, and it's much easier to get the exact room configuration that you need that way, too. Both Marriott and Starwood have been able to get me non-smoking rooms when their search engines have shown them as unavailable. Be aware that often signing in as a priority customer with these chains can actually end up "hiding" more advantageous rate.

And it's funny that sometimes, a AAA or AARP "discount" rate costs MORE than the hotel's best rate, too.

In dealing with one hotel in the US that I visit no less than four times a year, I have used a different online booking agency each time because the hotel's own online rate structure is astronomical. Often it's meant as much as $100 difference for a room there.

Good luck.
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Old Apr 14th, 2010, 08:22 PM
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appreciate your help!! sounds like i will book directly with hotel..do you think i will need translator also i am looking at smaller hotels i guess i just pay with credit card and they will send me reservation confirmation?
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Old Apr 14th, 2010, 10:52 PM
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I have booked with Hotwire at prices significantly lower than any I could find elsewhere. It was somewhat of a gamble, since I didn't know what hotel I was purchasing until after I had completed my purchase but we are pleased with the savings and hotels we have purchased.

I used hotwire to purchase hotels in DC & VA also & they were significantly lower than other rates I could find on-line. I was a bit concerned about whether I'd have any hassles at check in but have not and was not charged anything since it was all pre-paid.

It is a risk you take when you purchase pre-paid that perhaps rates may decine to lower than you paid or you may want to change your plans. We found the savings to be worth taking that risk and we liked knowing that we didn't have to worry about paying for those hotel nights.

I have checked directly with hotels and rates are pretty wild at times, as has been posted above. Sometimes AAA or Costco would net a good discount while other times the internet rate or some special was better. Guidebooks often have options that offer e-mail addresses. We booked several B&Bs that way as well.

Good luck & happy travels!
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Old Apr 15th, 2010, 12:26 AM
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to help decipher hotwire.com hotels before purchasing, www.betterbidding.com has a hotel list that can many times define the hotel.
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Old Apr 15th, 2010, 02:03 AM
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In Europe, I use www.traveleurope.com a lot to book hotels. You give your credit card as a guarantee, but you only pay for the room direct to the hotel on check-out. Because you don't pre-pay, you have a period where you can cancel without penalty if you need to - usually up to 48 hours beforehand. If not www.traveleurope.com then I've sometimes used booking.com with the same success.
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Old Apr 15th, 2010, 05:37 AM
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I've never noticed any difference in the rooms I've gotten when reserving through a 3rd party website as opposed to directly with the hotel. I've gotten good and bad rooms either way--though if it's a bad room I always ask to change and usually don't have a problem getting another room, whether I booked directly or not.
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Old Apr 15th, 2010, 05:55 AM
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I found a better price on the most recent hotel that I booked on another site so I contacted the hotel and asked if they would match it.....they did.

I did go through Hotwire for a hotel in Las Vegas, being fairly certain that it was the Wynn and it was.
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Old Apr 15th, 2010, 07:08 AM
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One thing I have noticed is that Italian hotels own websites often have more restrictive cancellation policies than the policies listed on the big sites for the same property. Or the Italian hotel websites may be entirely silent as to the cancellation policy. So if that is important to you, make sure you compare that item as well.
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Old Apr 15th, 2010, 07:33 AM
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Venere.com is an especially useful research tool because its map divides each city into zones to give you a good sense of hotel locations relative to places of interest. I have sometimes also used it for booking, with totally satisfactory results.
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Old Apr 15th, 2010, 07:36 AM
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You won't find Hotwire or Priceline helpful for most of Italy as they usually have chain hotels which aren't typically in the central/historic parts of the cities. Not many successes listed for Italian cities and the prices tend to be higher than if you just booked a non-chain hotel.
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