Many people out there might think we have a whole team of people dedicated to booking our online accommodation when we travel. I hate to break the glamorous idea of that, but in reality, we pretty much do everything ourselves – we are all travellers after all, and we are very much a small ‘hands on’ type of crew. And that includes booking our own hotels for many of the places we go.
We don’t only travel to film for the show, we also travel around Australia on business trips to work with our amazing partners and develop new opportunities, PLUS we sometimes even get to travel for ourselves, without TV cameras, laptops and schedules. Pure, relaxing, uplifting…travel.
So, after all of these years of travelling for the show, for business, and for ourselves, we have learnt a thing or two about how to book the ideal online accommodation without the hassle. In the interests of fostering our helpful little travel community, we thought we might share a few tips for booking hotels online.
Hotel booking has come a long way since we started in the travel game ourselves. Back then, you got a brochure from your local travel agency and picked your hotel based on a pic or two, and hoped for the best. There were no hotel reviews to help you out, no candid traveller photos, and no online hotel websites curating all of the deals out there to ensure you got the best one. So, that brings me to my first bit of advice.
Read some of the hotel reviews online. If you’ve found a good candidate for your next stay, find out what others are saying about it. What you are really looking for here is a number of reviews with consistent comments. That will help give you an accurate picture.
Secondly, don’t focus on the star ratings too heavily. Many 3-star hotels rate better than some 4-star hotels – it can all depend on their level of service. Certainly in our experience we have had some incredible experiences in better-located and well-serviced hotels that didn’t have the luxury star ratings.
Pay attention to the hotel’s location. There is nothing worse than turning up at your accommodation to find you are miles away from the sights you want to see, or atmosphere you want to be part of. We always make sure we are in the right location so we maximise filming time and minimise transport time!
Take note of the room type. There are a lot of price deals out there, make sure you read all the small print to know what you are getting for the price – and that it meets your needs. Do you need 2 beds or just 1? Do you need a kitchenette, or want to make sure you’re near the pool? And while you are reading the fine print, be sure to note what is included in the price. If breakfast, or other extras aren’t, these extra costs could negate the savings you initially make. When we travel on a shoot, we ALWAYS need Wi-Fi, so this is something we check for immediately. Also, some hotels can pose extra service fees or taxes onto the booking down the track, so beware of these.
Speed up the online booking process by filtering your results. Some cities have literally hundreds of hotels, so skip through the unsuitable ones by using the filters available. It can be a little daunting trying to decide which booking site to use. There are many out there these days, and they all promise the best deals. Hotel search engines like trivago can help, by comparing all of the major booking sites (hundreds at a time!) and giving you the best deals for all of them. We recently used them to look for accommodation in Sydney, and could immediately see which booking site was going to give us the best deal. It also has millions of reviews and traveller photos, so you can do pretty much all of your checks in one place.
In our new and wonderful age of mobile technology, we also have incredible resources at our fingertips and booking a last-minute place to stay can be as easy as whipping out your mobile phone. Being completely honest, Clint was stuck in the airport in LAX at midnight recently after missing a connecting flight home to Melbourne and needed accommodation desperately. His mobile phone and the trivago app came to the rescue, and within minutes a hotel room had been secured. How lucky we are these days!
Finally, it goes without saying that seasons and peak periods determine the deal you’re going to get on your online accommodation, so do your homework, check the high seasons and be a little flexible with your dates. It should pay off!
Check out trivago.com.au for your next online hotel booking…
In the interests of being transparent, this post is sponsored by trivago.com.au but the content, opinions and experiences referenced are 100% authentic.