This is a question that sooner or later begins to decide for himself / herself independent traveler or tourist. It is time for us to deal with this and to help those who are still undecided. Everything written below, does not claim to absolute truth, and is an expression of the author’s opinions based on their own experience. You will have to take all this into consideration, and decide for yourself. For experienced travelers written below may seem very obvious, but I’ll have to refrain from non-constructive criticism and take into account that not everyone has both the experience and booking and hotel search, and the information may be useful in practice. If you want to offer constructive advice on this topic and to share your experience, you can leave your message at the bottom of the page.
For both points of view, to book in advance through the reservation system or search for on location, any party will bring their undeniable arguments and examples from his practice. And both sides will be right. The author also had the experience and booking in advance and finding hotels on the spot, but still leaning towards booking hotels in advance.
First and foremost is to say that the book the best hotels through the reservation system, not through the official sites of hotels, travel agencies, well, or over the phone. Oddly enough, the price of hotel reservation system is lower than on official hotel websites. Well, or at least never higher. This is checked repeatedly, though there are exceptions, but I have not seen. Don’t believe it. Check for yourself: do a search in the system Agoda, what can be done using the search form below and view cost with taxes and fees for a hotel, and then check the rates on the official hotel website. So we will go in the future about booking through the Internet booking.
The plus sign
So the first advantage of booking in advance – lowest prices. To clarify there’s nothing here, just to give an example. In October of this year (2011) I was in a cheap hotel in Kuala Lumpur “Mayview Glory Hotel”. In advance it was booked only two days because I had no confidence that I’ll like it. And when on arrival it turned out that the hotel I was quite happy, I’ve decided to extend the stay for another 2 days. At the reception for the renewal requested 95 ringgit (currency of Malaysia) for each day, or 190 ringgit for two days. Transferring this amount in rubles I got a little more than 1900 rubles. So, instead of agree to an extension, I wish to include my Internet, sit down at the computer and booking a hotel for the next two days. My ruble cards fog of 1,756.99 rubles. I agree, the benefit is not large, but the hotel is not expensive.
On the other hand, in many countries, even in hotels it is customary to bargain, and you can get a serious discount. And I also had the opportunity to see, if once in a great hotel in Hoi an in Vietnam for$ 15 per day (discount given for long stay and after bargaining), while in the booking system of the hotel was more expensive. So now I think I completely confused you :-).
The plus sign
Confidence and reliability. One of the main advantages of booking hotels in advance is the convenience (you don’t have to climb on a strange resort with suitcases in search of a suitable hotel) and the confidence that you will not remain without a roof over your head. In our opinion this is exactly what first is to use the booking system via the Internet. It is not uncommon at popular resorts and tourist towns on arrival at the place is simply impossible to find an acceptable accommodation at a reasonable price. This is the best benefit of booking in advance.
The minus sign
It is impossible to book cheapest hotels. There is another circumstance regarding prices. If you are a budget traveler, perhaps even a backpacker ready for placement in a hostel for 5 dollars per “bed space” with shared bathroom, one toilet on the floor and other “inconveniences”, you just can’t find the reservation system this. Cheap in fact placing you need to look only in the place, avoiding the tourist areas in search of guesthouses or hostels.
The plus sign
In the reservation system you can participate in bonus programs. For example, the same favorite with me and the previously mentioned booking system offers bonus points for each reservation and even the hotel review, which you can then use for future bookings. Sometimes it is significantly profitable. But, unfortunately, this “free lunch” only for those who travel often, and have time to use those bonus points before they will burn.
The plus sign
The ability to get the best hotel at the best price. In my opinion, the best advantage of booking in advance – the opportunity to book a hotel. In popular resort areas are good and popular hotels may be sold out for a few months or half a year in advance or bought during the holidays or events in a year. Upon arrival, or picking up the hotel before the trip you may be able to find accommodation but you will have to content themselves with what remained. And your “competitors” who took care of booking in advance, will be equipped with the best and most profitable hotel. This is especially true of the peak tourist season, when rooms are bought and the hotels are expensive.
The plus sign
The ability to know in advance the reviews and the rating of the hotel. When looking for the hotel through the booking system in addition to full information about the hotel you will be able to read and reviews of guests and see their assessment of the quality of services. The information in the reviews and evaluations is quite versatile, and you can see all the way down to the quality of food, friendliness of staff, convenience of location, etc. of Course this is not the same as seeing it with your own eyes and try it yourself, and reviews and ratings can be subjective, but the chances to run into a bad hotel much less.
The minus sign
Bind to strict dates of stay and penalties for cancellation or non arrival. An obvious disadvantage of booking in advance – the need to calculate the route, the length of stay and to determine the placements in advance. It is not always convenient.
Often slightly change the dates of your bookings, if something you changed, or to cancel the reservation without penalties. But if the trip you cancelled at the last moment, you will have to pay a small fine, usually the cost of the first day of the stay. It should be borne in mind that the closer to the arrival date you cancel, the higher the penalty. But if you will be late by the moment of arrival at the hotel, for example because of a plane delay, over paid and missed time you no money will not return.
However there is a option: make hotel reservations in a shorter period when there was full confidence that things will work out. Indeed, as shown in the example of Kuala Lumpur above, even booking the next day allowed us to save a small amount.
I hope that this information will help at least to several travelers right to decide for themselves this difficult question, and then I’ll know that I spent a few hours behind a screen, preparing an article. Well, if you have anything to say about it, you can do so below.