Online hotel reservation sites reliable?

Mar 7th, 2014, 06:27 AM
  #1  
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Online hotel reservation sites reliable?

Hi,

I'm looking for hotels in Bergen, Stockholm and Copenhagen. Are online hotel reservation websites reliable? Does anyone have any recommendations? Also, would like to get some suggestions on midrange hotels.

Thanks,
Julie
jules2_1 is offline  
Mar 7th, 2014, 06:37 AM
  #2  
 
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booking.com
iris1745 is online now  
Mar 7th, 2014, 06:39 AM
  #3  
 
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I think they are for the most part reliable but I far prefer to use them as a guide to what it out there and contact the hotels directly by email. That way I usually get same or better prices...last minute availability and have the opportunity to find out more about the differences in rooms.
Lois2 is offline  
Mar 7th, 2014, 06:44 AM
  #4  
 
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I only use booking sites when the hotel does not have it's own on line reservation service. Mostly I look in guide books for hotel information.
adrienne is offline  
Mar 7th, 2014, 06:52 AM
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The booking.com site gives many reviews of hotels and the reviews are usually reliable.

Of our 9 stops in Spain last year, I used this site for 7 of the hotels and chose the 'free cancellation' option.

Then a few weeks away from out trip, I saw a better price on the booking site, cancelled without charge and then booked again at a lower price.

At that point I did have to pay the first nights charge.

I also go to the hotels reservation service, but many times I would have to pay up front and I avoid that with booking.com
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Mar 7th, 2014, 07:11 AM
  #6  
 
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I use hotel booking sites all the time. Sometimes the booking sites have better deals than booking directly on the hotel's own website, depending where/when you are going of course.

Copenhagen: the Admiral, the Square
Stockholm: Radisson Blu Waterfront, Marriott Courtyard
Odin is offline  
Mar 7th, 2014, 08:17 AM
  #7  
 
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I also use booking.com when there is no difference in prices or terms compared to the hotel site. Booking.com is easier to use than many hotel sites that come with convoluted (bad translation) wordings on terms and conditions. I also like booking.com keeping track of cancelled bookings. When I book directly at hotel site, I need to keep email copy/print out of the cancellation acknowledgements.
Booking.com, however, does not always differentiate room types sufficiently, and I end up using the hotel site to make sure I am selecting a specific type of double room.
greg is offline  
Mar 7th, 2014, 09:04 AM
  #8  
 
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I use booking.com most of the time. Their web site makes it very easy to manage your bookings, to change something, or to cancel. It's especially convenient when your trip involves multiple hotels. I also check the hotel's own website, but if the price is the same, or even just a little lower, I prefer to use booking.com in order to have the reservation management facility.

I, like others, usually choose to pay extra to have free cancellation.

Even if you use a reservation site like booking.com, there's nothing to prevent you from calling the hotel to ask questions or to make special requests. I often do this.

Other reservation sites I use from time to time are www.venere.com , www.expedia.com , www.hotels.com , and www.laterooms.com . I've never had a problem with any of them, but I find booking.com to have the better web site.

I especially like the fact that booking.com allows you to easily narrow your search to include just the central part of a large city. For example, if you enter your destination as "Rome centre city", it will show you just the more central neighborhoods. All of the reservation sites allow you to choose a specific neighborhood, but I don't know of many others that have the facility to group the more central ones in a single search. Venere.com used to have th possibility of checking off multiple neighborhoods, but for some strange reason they dropped that useful feature when they last redid their website. Laterooms.com lets you indicate how many kilometers from the center you're willing to stay, but that's not as useful, because 5 km in one direction may be altogether different than 5 km in another direction. Besides, I never know where exactly they consider the center to be.

By the way, expedia.com, hotels.com, and venere.com are all under the Tripadvisor umbrella now. I don't know how independent they are. They still seem to have different prices and the hotels they offer are not identical.
bvlenci is offline  
Mar 7th, 2014, 10:43 AM
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Just finished booking hotels in Stockholm and Copenhagen. I too used several resources (booking.com, hotels.com, Rick Steves, Google hotel finder). When I had an idea of where we wanted to be, I then went to Trip Adviser for reviews. I ended up in both locations going directly to the hotels for a couple reasons. This area of Europe has "cabin" rooms, which is rooms without a window. On trip adviser, some people complained that their great deal through the booking service landed them in a cabin room. We are also going in Sept in Stockholm which is a higher cost month (most places in locations I wanted were either $300+ or a hostel, which seems very popular there) and we are traveling with 3 other couples making a booking service more complicated.

We did look at the Radissons' which looked wonderful, but would have put us in those prices over our budget (especially with being there 3 nights in each location).

Friends stayed in Copenhagen at the Strand in July, near the water and really liked it and got a great price and breakfast. However, in August they did not have their getaway prices. We actually ended up booking directly at Hotel Bethel, a little more basic, but great location in Nyhavn a few blocks from the Strand for about $190 with breakfast, and can cancel up to 24 hours before arrival with no fee.

Price depends a lot on which month (Aug is cheaper than Sept in Stockholm, July is cheaper than Aug in Copenhagen) and if you are there during the week which is more expensive than a weekend. Street noise can be an issue too, and when booking directly with the hotel, you can generally request a higher floor if it helps. I actually did not see any difference in prices between the services and the hotels I checked out, the differences came in ability to cancel, if breakfast was inclued, and location within the hotel.
Have a great trip!
ReillyQ is offline  
Mar 7th, 2014, 11:35 AM
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haven't been wrong in using booking.com so far.
venere.com is also not bad.

both give you best prices in my experience.
apscoradiales is offline  
Mar 7th, 2014, 12:07 PM
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I've been using the same websites, and filter the search for the lowest price to highest price property. Then, I look for those hotels/B&B's that have substantially higher customer ratings.

So far, I have had nothing but great experiences staying with the highest rated but cheap hotels.

I also use TripAdvisor to check up on the individual hotels/B&B's to see what people are saying about them.

And has been mentioned above, you can always contact the hotels online to see if they're willing to offer a better rate.
Bamaman is offline  
Mar 7th, 2014, 12:19 PM
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I often start with www.trivago.com because it is a meta-search site, and it searches both Booking.com, Venere.com and several others. Sometimes there is a real low-ball price from Otel or some other obscure agency, but I've never taken one of those - - usually always wind up with booking.com.
dfourh is offline  
Mar 7th, 2014, 12:25 PM
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Look at Scandic Hotels. They are a Scandinavian based xhain xomprable to a Hilton. They often offer specials on their website.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Mar 7th, 2014, 04:11 PM
  #14  
kja
 
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I use booking.com routinely and have never had a problem.
I have used venere.com occasionally and have not had any problems.
Just be sure to read the cancellation policy for any given hotel before you book.
kja is offline  
Mar 8th, 2014, 08:15 AM
  #15  
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Thanks everyone for the recommendation. I will check out booking.com.
jules2_1 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2014, 09:40 AM
  #16  
 
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Using trivago.com is probably the easiest way.
As dfourh explained, it searches many travel websites and shows you the price differences between booking, expedia, etc
If you have a preference for booking.com or any other, you can still pick them. But you see at least how much more you pay for the same room.
I did a few reservations thru otel eventually. And even though their web design looks a bit antique, it worked smoothly.
Comparing the cancellation policies is a must, though. Some really cheap offers are pre-paid/non-refundable.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Mar 9th, 2014, 10:29 AM
  #17  
 
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Try http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk or http://www.tripadvisor.com plenty of god reviews and you get to check prices through several booking engines at once.
Never had a problem myself but have read several complaints where people have ended up being sent back and forward between hotel and booking site when wanting to make a change in reservation with neither party accepting responsibility. If there is not a good saving in price then book directly with hotel to eliminate middleman. If booking engine says hotel full or not available try directly with hotel as booking engine rooms may be limited.
Don't expect to get the best rooms in the house if you are getting a cheap deal - on top of your savings the hotel is paying a commission.
dyoll is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 05:08 AM
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Hi Julie, I have been using Booking.com for more than 10 years. Never, EVER, had a problem.

Moreover, 3 years ago I found a credit card charge from a hotel in France (I live in Australia). When I did the reservation it clearly said "no deposit required, your credit card number will only be used to guarantee the booking". I emailed the hotel, they apologized but said that they usually charged a deposit. I was not happy, so I emailed Booking.com. Not only they fixed the problem immediately, reimbursing my credit card, I was also very surprised to receive an international phone call from a supervisor to make sure I was satisfied with the service.

I have also used many many times Venere.com and Laterooms. Again, never a problem, by once I tried to contact Venere (I can't remember why) and it was not easy.
Silvia_B is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 07:14 AM
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I don't get what the big deal about booking.com is. I don't find them any better than any other on-line service. I go to hotelscombined.com which gives you the prices for various online sites, and then you can compare them.

I've booked on Otel.com. The absolute best price I had seen anywhere by a couple of hundred dollars for Dresden (I think)! Got a fantastic room.

The way I do my hotel shopping is
(1) Go to Trip Advisor and Booking to read reviews.
(2) Then ALWAYS go to the hotel's own site. Many times they will give you a discount for booking directly with them. Note if there's a discount code that they give you to put in when booking.

(3) Then I go to hotelscombined.com.

(4) Finally, I've figured out the best price (type of room, with/without breakfast included, etc.) and book.
kenav is offline  
May 22nd, 2014, 12:01 AM
  #20  
 
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Kenav, I couldn't agree more. Your system is exactly what I do too and in the same order. However, somehow I usually end up doing the bookings with Booking.com.

The simple answer is: because you don't have to pay anything upfront to have a confirmed booking. And you can modify or cancel any time you want, as many times as you want without paying anything. Ususally you cannot do that with the hotels directly and with many of the other booking systems.
Silvia_B is offline  

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