Faxing hotels...any tips?

Oct 20th, 2000, 08:31 AM
  #1  
Linda
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Faxing hotels...any tips?

I am getting ready to make some reservations for our various stops in Europe. I will be faxing the hotels that don't have email. I was wondering if anyone had any hints or tips on doing this. Any experiences you want to share about how best to get the results that I want (along with a confirmed reservation!).

Thanks, Linda
 
Oct 20th, 2000, 09:04 AM
  #2  
Lori
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Be extremely clear and concise in asking for what you want. Double Room, Single Room, # of persons in room, private shower or bath, breakfast yes or no, and most importantly the date you are arriving and the date you are checking out!!! Do not send your credit card information until you hear back from the hotel with the availability. The hotel will then ask you for your credit card to reserve the room and make sure you ask them for a confirmation fax. Keep that fax with you on your trip in case you have any problems. I have booked lots of hotels in France via e-mail and fax and have, thankfully, never had a problem. Good Luck!
 
Oct 20th, 2000, 09:05 AM
  #3  
elaine
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Here are some suggestions
Don't use American-style terms with European hotels. Don't say a "double room" and assume that means two beds or one full-size. Never expect a queen-sized bed or larger unless you confirm it is available-those are primarily only in luxury hotels. If two people will be staying in the room, sharing a bed, then ask for "a room for two people with one large bed". If you want separate beds, then ask for "a room for two people with two beds". By the way, a room with two beds is more likely to be larger, on average, than a room with one large bed.
If you want a bathroom with a shower, say this. If a bathtub is what you need, say that too. Don't assume that you will necessarily have a tub AND shower; it may be one or the other. Rooms with showers-only are often less-expensive.
When you book a hotel, find out what their cancellation policy is, and get it in writing (via fax, or print out an email). If a hotel interests you, book it now. If you wait to call back a week later, the room you wanted may be gone. Reconfirm your booking before you leave on your trip.
If you will be arriving at an odd hour (after 5pm or before 8am, for example), let the hotel know this before you arrive. You don't want them to give your room away, and you don't want to arrive and find the front door locked and the front desk unstaffed, as once happened to me.
 
Oct 20th, 2000, 09:14 AM
  #4  
elvira
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1) Make sure you spell out everything Example: "room with toilet" can mean you get a toilet in your room, but the shower is down the hall, so tell them you want a full bathroom en suite.
2) Give the approximate time of your arrival, and emphasize if it is going to be a very late arrival (some small hotels lock the front door late at night - giving the residents a key - and so there is no one at the front desk) so someone will be expecting you.
3) You may not get a return fax; small hotels run on a tight budget, and a fax over long-distance/international rates is expensive. If you do NOT get a fax back in a few days, call the hotel and confirm they've received it.
4) If you are going to write the fax in English, use very clear language (avoid contractions, slang, etc.). Many smaller hotels have staff who speak English, or if not, someone they can ask (like a school-age son!) to translate your fax, so give them the courtesy of 'perfect' English!
5) If you get a return fax, be sure to take it with you on your trip. The desk clerk might not speak English, but he'll probably have the original fax close by. If you confirm over the phone, make a note of the name of the person and the date/time. Again, if the clerk doesn't speak English, that information will help him find your reservation.
6) If you have to cancel your reservation, call/fax as soon as possible to let them know. If you are running behind schedule, call the hotel and tell them you will be arriving late (see note #2).
7) And this is the most important one: ENJOY YOUR TRIP!
 
Oct 20th, 2000, 09:31 AM
  #5  
Lori
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Linda,
All good advise, I will add to be very clear about the date of arrival, i.e. Thursday, March 9, 2001 or whatever. Don't write 3/9/01 - that can be confused because most often Europeans put the day first, then month, then year. I've found it is easier to write it all out. As everyone said be very explicit about the bed size - a twin bedded room for 2 people means each gets a bed (usually single/twin size). A double can just mean a double sized bed and they can be pretty uncomfortable for 2 people. Keep copies (several of them) of everything you fax.
 
Oct 20th, 2000, 10:26 AM
  #6  
One Tongue
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You might also want to consider using one of the web based translation sites to translate your request from English into the proper language, and then fax both the English and native language copies. Even though the translations will not be perfect, it will help those hotels that do not have real good English skills to decipher what you are looking for.

One site that is good for this is found at http://babelfish.altavista.com/translate.dyn

You can type in your English note, have it translated to most any language, then you could cut and paste the answer into your Word document that you will print out and the use to fax.

I also do this when I use e-mail to request information or reservations. Just an attempt to make things go smoother.
 
Oct 20th, 2000, 11:53 AM
  #7  
Linda
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Thanks everyone for your suggestion on faxing. I was thinking that being very specific would probably be an important thing. One thing I am curious about is that I keep hearing about how small a "double" size be is. We have a king at home, and I think maybe we should just get twins otherwise we won't get any sleep squished in a European double.

Thanks again,
Linda
 
Oct 20th, 2000, 12:14 PM
  #8  
Lori
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Linda,
If you are used to a king (we are too) go with a twin (2 beds) otherwise one of you literally will be hanging off the bed or on the floor You might run across a hotel with a queen size but I would not risk it. Usually the twins are pushed close together anyway in most hotels.
 
Oct 20th, 2000, 12:38 PM
  #9  
greg
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Presuming you have done the research of each hotel already, Elvira's recommendation is right on. Let me add few things.

2) The informing the time of arrival and any changes to it cannot be over emphasized. If the hotel does not have email, it is likely to be a mom and pop place and the front "desk" is staffed only as late as known. Many places we stayed, the owners knew exactly when we'd be there given the train arrival time I gave to them. They'd lock the front door and retreat to their quarters as soon as we arrived.

Also regarding reply 3). Our experience is that no written confirmation is the norm. Here is a typical scenario:

Me by fax: do you have a room available?
Hotel by fax: yes, rates, send cc #
Me by fax: here is my cc#, pls confirm
Hotel: no response
Me by fax: pls give me a confirmation
Hotel: no resonse
Me by phone: did you receive my cc#? Hotel: yes, you are all set

The Europeans take verbal commitments more seriously than Americans. We had to overcome this cultural difference. Even so, I always travel with list of alternate lodgings with me. So far, all verbal confirmations had been reliable.

Few hotel required deposit on local currency. Since they were minorities where we went, we skipped those places.
 
Oct 20th, 2000, 06:25 PM
  #10  
Christina
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I don't know about other country's usual measures, but in France, a std double bed is 140 cm.
 
Oct 20th, 2000, 07:36 PM
  #11  
Paule
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Another consideration if you live in a small place and use your own phone/fax, (rather than one in an office)-- make sure you specify a time frame for the hotel to return your fax, preferably in the European time format. Remember, they are anywhere from 5 or 6 or more hours ahead of the U.S. and if someone returns the fax first thing in the morning THEIR time, it will be...well, waaaay too early for me, anyway! I got several faxes returned at 4:00AM while I was planning a trip to Italy!

So my advice: try asking the hotel to return a fax at 15:00 (or so) hours; it is afternoon there, butmorning here. Or, turn off the fax at night. I ended up turning the darn thing off at night, since even after turning off the ringer, the sound of the machine going off in our small apartment would wake us up.
 
Oct 20th, 2000, 08:53 PM
  #12  
Linda
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Hi Paule,

I hadn't thought about the "later" end of the time difference! Good thing you mentioned it. As it is I will be sitting with the phone in one hand and my finger over the "on" button on the fax as I only have the one line.

Also, thanks for the info on the double beds; I'll stick with twins!

Thanks again,
Linda
 

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