It’s so simple these days to head to an online booking site and within a few clicks you’ve selected a hotel and you’re done. But you must make sure you read the fine print, know what you’re buying and exactly what you’re going to get. Whether you are after Canberra’s cheapest accommodation or a more premium hotel experience, you can find everything online these days.
Real time bookings
Some booking sites will collect your money immediately but do not actually secure a booking immediately, they may only send a booking request to the hotel, so your booking is not guaranteed. Ensure you’re aware whether your booking has been confirmed or requested, and if it’s only a request then remember to follow up in a few days to ensure it’s been booked.
Date amendments and Cancellations
Not all bookings are able to be changed or cancelled, and some changes or cancellations can incur fees from 50% to 100%. Read the fine print and make sure you note whether you’re getting a better deal because the booking doesn’t allow changes or cancellations, or whether you’re paying a bit extra because you aren’t sure about the dates and may need the flexibility to change them.
Rates on any site should clearly state which currency is being quoted, whether the rate is per person, per room, per night, any rate inclusions, and any taxes that will be charged. It should also allow you to convert the currency into your local currency so you can see exactly how much you are paying.
The booking site should clearly show the location of the accommodation, and how close it is to local transport, airports, and popular attractions or sights.
All hotel information should be included on the site, such as the in-room and on-site amenities, restaurants and other facilities. In-room facilities should be specified such as air-conditioning, TV, mini-bar or fridge, balcony, room service, free WiFi, and anything else that suits your needs.
Booking sites should include clear pictures of each room type, the hotel lobby, and any facilities or restaurants. Although the look of a hotel and it’s rooms and amenities can help you make up your mind, don’t let it be your deciding factor.
Star Ratings and Reviews
Most importantly user reviews and star ratings should be easily viewable and searchable. Check a few good and bad reviews for the hotel you’re looking at and make your own decision based on the negatives and positives that people have described.
Ensure that if you prepay either in part or in full at the time of booking, you won’t be billed again at the hotel. Some hotels also require a 50% or 100% credit card deposit at check-in (even after pre-payment) which will be refunded after check-out – if you don’t have a huge credit card limit this can be annoying and extremely inconvenient. When booking short term accommodation Canberra you will be expected to put a significant deposit forward.
When making an online payment, ensure you’re using a secure connection (padlock usually in the URL bar), and beware that some payment methods are faster to transfer and confirm than others.
Paypal and similar online payment systems are generally instantly confirmed, credit card payments can be completed online and confirmed instantly, bank transfers may take a few days to arrive in the businesses account, and other forms of online bank transfer are also quite slow and may take a few days.