The advantages and disadvantages of booking hotels online are discussed here in this article. The world has digitalised, and with this change, the process of online booking and reservation has popularised too. It is now possible to book your place of stay with a click. In fact, online hotel booking has become a prominent business, with companies like Trivago, Goibibo, Yatra, Makemytrip, etc. creating a successful market reflecting the desirability of this system. But before taking a step further, it is important to know the pros and cons of online hotel booking. Should people physically go searching for places to stay, contact the hotel directly or approach travel agencies. Is online booking a safe option? This article neutrally enumerates the drawbacks and advantages of it. It will aid in making decisions regarding the subject.
Advantages of booking hotels online
Following are some advantages of booking hotels online :
1. Effortless and hassle free
All the good hotels are just a click away from being booked. Physically searching for them or filling long forms is not necessary. One need not reach the destination and drive around to visit various places of stay and decide upon one. All the reputed hotels know the importance of online presence and upload details of their facilities. Providing basic information, selection and quick online payment from wherever one might be, assures a place of stay. This makes it a very feasible course of action. It is possible to sit miles away from a place and book a preferable hotel at any time convenient. The integration of bookings with calendars and maps provides a plus point.
2. Easy comparison and assortment of options
Manually searching for hotels, noting their prices and services and comparing it with others is a lengthy and tiring process. With online booking, all the services and prices are specified on a single platform, making the process of searching extremely quick and easy. Pictures of rooms are also provided, which makes the selection even more simpler. Instead of physically roaming for options, a virtual tour of various hotels online assures good choice. Since all the hotels compete on a single platform, it creates competition. No one would buy an overpriced lodging when there are numerous other options available.
A hotel with low quality services and high prices will not be successful, for there will be others giving the same services at a lesser price. Thus, it keeps their pricing and services in check, and assures customers of quality amenities. Online platforms has forced this industry to provide services better than their counterparts.
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3. Reviews available for efficient selection
All hotel booking sites have the feature of customer feedback. People who have stayed there, rate their experience and write reviews regarding the quality of their stay. The aggregate ratings of all the customers determines the quality of the hotel. Any problems faced by people are expressed in the review section. Also, positive points are highlighted. These honest feedbacks gives a clear and unfiltered picture of the respective hotel. Since quality reflects rating, customers will invariably choose the best possible stay. Hotels compete for the highest reviews. By doing an online booking, the hotel staff is obliged to give good service to the customer, since they need to make good impression to receive a positive rating that will elevate their status. Thus, online booking ensures a pleasant experience.
4. Additional offers and convenience
There are no restrictions of time and place while booking. Booking is possible in a hotel at any time. The booking may be done months before the stay or even on the same day. The only factor affecting booking is the availability of enough rooms. There will be no hassle of calling, unsatisfactory responses and late replies. The moment a hotel is selected, booking can be executed and confirmed immediately along with payment. The refund policy varies from hotel to hotel. Also, through online booking method, no one is bound by the place they stay in. It is plausible to book a place in an unknown country in another hemisphere, sitting at home, unless internet services are available.
Apart from that, online platforms allow scope for discounts. Coupon codes, discount coupons, credit card holder deals aid in reducing hotel prices. Online booking also allows for buying someone else’s reservation at a discounted rate. Searching for promotional plans and discount information of hotels may also provide with genuine price reductions. Some hotels have a joint flight collaboration, which simplifies trip bookings.
5. Customized search
Finding a good hotel does not complete the selection process. The rooms may not be available at a feasible date, the place might tick mark on all needs but not be a villa like the customer wanted. The place might lack particular needs like a bar or balcony or a fireplace. On booking websites, it is possible to filter a search. By filtering choices regarding date, price, amenities, ratings, type of stay, the most suitable option is made sure to be available to a customer as per personal choices.
This not just provides with the most satisfying and tailored options, but also accelerates the time taken in searching for the perfect hotel. Imagine finding the ideal hotel in seconds by filtering choices. It also accustoms customers to all the available facilities and their types and the price range, thus eliminating any confusion that might emerge during selection. It makes sure no one misses on staying in their dream location.
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Disadvantages of booking hotels online
Some of the disadvantages of booking hotels online are mentioned below:
Since the booking is done virtually, doubts and uneasiness regarding the authenticity always remains an issue. The photos of rooms might not be accurate, or the services mentioned on the site might not be available. It also creates doubt whether the uploaded information is up to date or not. There is difference between talking to people at call centres from different countries and having one on one conversation with the hotel staff. Sometimes misguided terms and conditions also create errors and misunderstandings.
In some cases, regarding the aspect of money, the travel agencies include commission in the room rates which escalates the price. Also, fake websites and chances of cyber crimes, as well as losing money, is always an issue. Basically booking through Online Travel Agencies does create uncertainties.
2. Internet requirement
It is necessary to have an internet connection on the side of the customer and the hotel to complete the process of booking. In some areas on the city outskirts, there might be good hotels present that do not have an internet presence on online travel agencies due to net related issues and people eventually might miss out on some good places to stay. The most accurate reviews can be received only through real research and conversation rather than virtual. Sometimes, mis- booking also occurs, which creates issues of money transfer and loss. Using online agencies is a difficult task for senior citizens who cannot handle digital instructions very well. Thus, the requirement of an internet connection limits the prospects of finding the best hotel possible.
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3. Less empathy and personal touch
Travel agencies have decreased prices for stay but do not ensure personalized choices and special services. The stay will be robotic and monotonous. No personal preferences regarding the choice of room location, size of room or extra amenities or time and date changes will be entertained. All these facilities are ensured when booking directly through the hotel. Also, if a particular date, time and location that has been entered turns out to be wrong, it will take a lot of time and effort to rectify it. On the other hand, if booked through the hotel directly, the mistake can be corrected in seconds.
4. Getting leftovers
The travel agencies buy the rooms from hotels in bulk and thus get low prices. But other than low prices the customers acquire nothing. By booking through travel agencies, customers get low quality amenities like the corner rooms that don’t have a view, unavailability of extra beds, etc. The cream services and amenities are reserved for those who book directly via the hotel. This reduces the overall satisfaction of staying. If the priority is quality stay, direct booking might be a better option.
5. No multiple benefits
Booking through travel agencies doesn’t allow earning loyalty points. Hotels organize loyalty programs for members from time to time, which include bonus point earnings. Special members sale is also out of bounds. A direct booking offers such privileges.
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Online booking does have its advantages and disadvantages, but it is important to carve out a path that best serves your purpose. It makes sense to surf for hotels on travel agencies, shortlist hotels through them, but instead of booking through the agencies, contact directly with the hotels shortlisted. This will efficiently eliminate all disadvantages and inculcate all advantages of online booking.