Are you sure that the hotel you’ve just booked really exists? With the help of online technology, booking a hotel for your dream vacation is so easy. Even if the hotel is half a world away, you now have easy access to see its photos and descriptions online which can help you make a decision in only a short period of time. A study suggested that, even only in the United States, more than 480 hotel rooms are booked via online channels in a minute. However, are you sure that you are not getting scammed?
Earlier this year, there was a complaint posted on a forum describing a horrible travel experience by one woman who booked a room online. At first glance, everything seemed like a great deal. However, upon her arrival at the location mentioned in the website, she was shocked to find that there was nothing there! She thought that there might be some mistake with her map and decided to ask the local people for help. Unfortunately, no one had ever heard of the hotel and the contact number stated in the website was also unavailable.
Only one conclusion can be reached regarding this incident… the hotel regrettably never existed in the first place!
Lucky for her, she was still able to find an accommodation that night. However, it would be more reassuring if this incident never happened, right? Hence, how can you be sure that this will not happen to you on your next trip?
Here are 5 recommended tips for all travel lovers out there who might benefit from this information:
• Don’t forget to check the hotel’s official website
No matter how beautiful the photos or descriptions are on banners and ads that you see around you, if you find the hotel interesting, you have to go to its official website to really see what the hotel is all about. The design and details which you can find there, such as its awards from recognizable and reputable organizations, can give you a rough idea on the trustability factor of the hotel.
• Read the hotel reviews
This is pretty straight-forward. If there are people talking about their experience at a hotel, then it means that it definitely exists. However, what you need to look for is a hotel which has a lot of very good reviews and perhaps, a few negative reviews. Why? It’s because there is nothing perfect in this world. If a hotel only has good reviews, then it might turn out to be too good to be true!
• Pay at the hotel upon arrival
On online travel agencies, there might be rates featured for paying on the date of booking or for paying upon arrival. Though the latter might be a bit more expensive than the former, to protect yourself, you can choose the more expensive option which can help guarantee that you will not be paying for a fake hotel.
• Book from the official website
Although you see the hotel name on the URL, take an extra minute to make sure that you are definitely on the hotel’s official website. Check to see if the URL contains a small lock symbol and starts with https:// which means that it’s a secure payment site. Then, book directly to ensure that you will get the accommodation you want and need.
• Contact the hotel directly
Two-way communication is always the best way to check the existence of the hotel you are interested in. Before deciding to make a reservation, in this day and age, it is not unusual to contact the hotel directly via its official social media channels or by phone where you can ask about the best rate they are offering. You can also double-check if the site you are going to book through is, in any way, affiliated with the hotel.
In conclusion: If a rate seems too good to be true, it probably is. Check with the hotel directly to ensure that the shockingly low price you see online is not a scam from fraudulent travel agencies or fake hotel booking sites.