French Hotel Reservation Center Rates

Aug 3rd, 2001, 05:45 PM
  #1  
Jeannette
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French Hotel Reservation Center Rates

I'm trying to book a hotel in Paris for this September. I contacted a few that still had rooms available but their rates were $40 more per night than the rates for their hotels for the same room and same dates as my trip that are posted with the French Hotel Reservation Center on france.com.

I faxed and/or e-mailed one hotel and the French Hotel Reservation Center asking for an explanation but didn't hear anything and I'm anxious to book although I don't want to be stupid about it.

Also, I contacted one hotel directly but they said they have no rooms available although the Reservation Center is showing 5 rooms available in that hotel as of today. I wonder if the Reservation Center buys up rooms in advance like a consolidator.

If you happen to know how this all works, I'd appreciate a little insight. THANKS!!
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 06:58 PM
  #2  
Donna
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Over on the AOL boards, folks have reported intermittent problems when booking rooms in Paris through online booking sites. If the hotel claims to be sold out and French Hotel Reservation Center claims rooms are available, common sense tells you the hotel has the most up to date information. ALSO, booking sites for Europe are simply intermediaries, in my experience. They do not have better rates, they just make the reservation for you. To the best of my knowledge, they do not buy up blocks of rooms. In Paris, anyway, your best bet is to contact hotels directly. Have you tried www.parishotel.com? This site has direct links to the hotels. ALWAYS request a fax confirmation. In France, a fax confirmation is a "contract", not to be confused with e-mail, etc. One booking agent that DOES contract with the hotels (although not a lot of hotels participate) is www.hoteldiscount.com (prepayment is required). When booking here, be SURE to check the rates directly with the hotel. And, who knows? It's entirely possibly that hoteldiscounts (which has nearly entirely taken over online booking links in the US) has a "deal" with French Hotel Reservation Center. In any event, the French are "different" when it comes to reservations. They prefer the direct route. You can always fax your request. If you receive no response in a few days, they've probably been full up for months and don't care to absorb the expense of faxing everyone back. Don't be timid about phoning. Nearly every hotel has a reservations clerk with a decent command of English. When calling, start off with "Parlez vous Anglais?" If there's a very long pause, they've probably gone after someone who does. In the alternative, you could always use an good old-fashioned travel agent.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 07:22 PM
  #3  
Surlok
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Jeanette,

If you mean the same service, also known as digitalfrance.com, why don't you call them on the phone?

When such discrepancies happen, I guess the best way to have them sorted out is by phone.

If we're talking about the same reservation service, their number is:

1-800-230-0426

Good luck,

Surlok
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 09:04 PM
  #4  
Surlok
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Jeanette,

I just realized that you might be trying to book a room in Paris during the Fashion shows week. Since almost all hotels are heavily booked, what they do is keeping a few rooms that they'll sell to last minute travelers at higher rates. Try to book in mid to late October and check what happens.

Surlok
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 09:05 PM
  #5  
StCirq
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Better still, Jeannette, call the hotel by phone and ask. The one time I tried to book a hotel in France on the web I got completely tangled in an insane series of reservations for the wrong number of people at the wrong hotel in the wrong city at the wrong time, and no apologies - AND I would have paid more than I ended up paying by booking directly. I'm not saying it's not possible to use the web efficiently to book a hotel in France, but if you have any concerns at all, call the hotel directly.Wouldn't you do the same for a hotel in NYC? Don't be scared off by calling a foreign country - a hotel in Paris will have someone who speaks some French on hand to take your call. Just be polite and ask "Est-ce que vous parlez anglais?" They will almost certainly run and get someone who speaks English if the person who answers the phone doesn't. Better still, if you have the fax number, fax the hotel and request information and a confirmation of a reservation if they can make one. Take that fax with you on your trip in case there's a problem.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 10:19 PM
  #6  
Jeannette
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Thank you all for your replies and the information. I tried to call the Reservation Center several times but there was no answer. I left a message on the answering machine but did not receive a return call. I suspect they closed for the weekend and will return Monday. From what you've told me, their rates are probably incorrect and I'm best to book directly with the hotels at the higher rates quoted to me.
Thanks, again.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 10:41 PM
  #7  
Surlok
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Jeanette,

StCirq is probably right. I recall three years ago, when I wanted a room in Paris, in the 6eme, by early September. I started to try finding a room in June, and tried nearly all on line booking services available. What they offered me were the least desired options of hotels. I started, then, to fax the hotels directly, and most didn't even bother to fax me back.

I ended up calling hotel by hotel on the phone, and that's how I got a room at Hotel D'Aubusson, at the rate of nearly 200 dollars per night. It seemed terribly expensive for a single room, but it was my only option for that area. The hotel was much better than I had expected, and I've stayed there for a couple of times more. So, do as StCirq suggested, call directly the hotels, and after having found what you want, have the hotel faxing you a booking confirmation.

Good luck,

Surlok
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 11:33 PM
  #8  
John H
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Jeannette,

Having been in France last September -- and knowing how virtually every hotel is sold out at that time -- I would definitely go directly to hotels (via fax or phone) for reservations. It's just too easy for things to get screwed up at that time of year. (I booked my rooms in April last year and booked in February for this year's trip). Even if you might be able to save a few bucks, the peace of mind from getting a confirmed reservation faxed to you by a hotel is worth the extra money.

One other note: I don't believe that, even with a faxed confirmation, a confirmation is binding unless the hotel has actually charged a deposit against your credit card. (For my upoming trip, I have faxed confirmations from every hotel; but only some of them have already charged through a deposit on my credit card). Maybe others can enlighten us on this issue. In any event, book as soon as possible -- it is already the 11th hour!

Enjoy your trip.

john

John
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 10:35 AM
  #9  
Jeannette
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This is Jeannette again. I received a reply from one hotel that said that if I booked directly with the hotel, the rate would be 1500 FF but that if I booked through the French Reservation Center, the rate would be 1200 FF. I will save money using the French Reservation Center because they have an allotment of rooms at the lower rate and a special contract with the hotel to honor that rate. So, it looks like the French Reservation Center is the way to go if they have a room you want.

Jeannette
 

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