Chocolate Pillow | The Reality of Online Hotel Reservations
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The Reality of Online Hotel Reservations

10 May The Reality of Online Hotel Reservations


One of the most convenient ways to book a hotel room online is through travel booking sites such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz. Although these websites provide a fairly quick and easy way to make a reservation and there are many sites to choose from, you might experience more of a hassle unless you are mindful of these important consumer tips:

  1. Make sure you are selecting the correct hotel of your choice. You might find several hotels with the same name within a short distance from each other. Verify the location. If you book a room at a hotel that is not the actual hotel you meant to select, you will still be charged for that night stay through the online company even if you arrive and want to stay somewhere else. The responsibility will fall on you and not the hotel to fix your problem. This can be a huge hassle if you arrive at the wrong hotel and it is not even close to your real destination.
  2. Know if the website requires pre-payment for your room or if you are simply holding the reservation with a credit card. If it is a pre-payment, there is probably fine print stating that the money paid is non-refundable.
  3. Know what the cancellation policy is for the booking site. You typically cannot cancel your reservation by calling the hotel directly. You must contact the website where you booked your room. Save yourself and hotel employees a lot of hassle by being informed. Contact the right people if you need to cancel a reservation.
  4. You will not receive a receipt from the hotel during check-out. Many guests are puzzled and often times upset with hotel employees, when in reality your receipt is obtained from the booking site. The hotel will receive payment from the booking agency – not from you. Please understand that even if you demand a printed receipt from a hotel, they will not give you one. Once again, you must deal with the booking agency of your choice.
  5. Make sure you enter correct information while making your reservation. I have witnessed many weary travelers miserably fail while trying to convince a hotel they really do have a reservation. Misspelled names can change how a reservation appears in the computer system. If you made a reservation under one name and paid with another, it might be hard to locate as well. No one wants to stand in line behind you and wait until someone figures out what you did.
  6. Hotels will typically request a credit card for any incidental charges. This is not to double charge you. This is a standard policy. Know what might be included in regards to incidental charges from the hotel. What you paid through the booking agency will only cover your room charge and tax.
  7. There is no option to change your method of payment at the hotel. They cannot help you with this. If you already paid Expedia, Travelocity or any other booking website, then you already paid for your room. Basically, the financial part of your stay is handled exclusively through your booking agency.
  8. You cannot change the dates. You can either book additional dates through a separate reservation with a booking agency, or book additional dates through the hotel if you need to extend or change a stay. Be mindful that the hotel is not obligated to honor the same rate as the online rate.
  9. Hotels appreciate the business they acquire through these websites; however, it is stressful for everyone when they cannot adequately provide answers to your questions. As a consumer it is your responsibility to be informed.
  10. Be mindful of the important tips I mentioned when you are ready to book your next hotel reservation online. As a professional in the hotel industry, I want you to stay at our hotels, bed & breakfast inns and resorts without having to worry with a lot of hassle. Other professionals in this industry wish the same for you as well. This is your time to relax and enjoy our guest services and facilities. Online travel sites might be very convenient and save you a lot of money, but more responsibility also falls on you as a consumer when you make your own reservation.


It has become most common for hotels to welcome reservations through online websites, and consumers enjoy how easy it is to make a reservation online. As we continue to evolve with technology, it is important for hotels, travel sites and consumers to exchange helpful information and feedback. This will help create a better travel and hotel experience for you as a consumer.


Do you book your hotel reservations online? Please tell us your preference and what issues you have experienced.


Rebekah J. Fishel

Rebekah J. Fishel

I started out in the hotel industry back in 2001. I decided which hotels I would prefer to work and set out on a job search within those specific hotel brands. I was very strategic in what I did because I wanted to learn everything possible about the hotel industry. Certain brands offer a higher level of service and I wanted to be associated with that. I started out in housekeeping. Those were some of the cleanest rooms you would ever find. I promise you that. I talked to guests in the hallways. I listened to their chatter when they were waiting for the elevator. What did they like about the hotel? What did they wish was different? I talked to other employees from all departments and learned what I could from them. Within a short time I was asked to cross train for the front desk. That evolved into night audit. I learned about guests and how to interact with them from all types of job positions at a hotel. I took a break from the hotel industry and changed careers. I moved into the medical-legal field. I eventually came full circle and realized the truth. If you are meant to be in the hotel industry and really enjoy it, you will return somehow because it is pretty much in your DNA. It is definitely in mine! I later took on a part-time job at a local hotel to make extra money. I decided there was no good reason for the rooms not to be rented each night when other hotels in the area were doing well. Within a short time, things started turning around on the weekends I worked. I took on more shifts and more responsibilites until I finally just jumped in and changed careers..back to where I belong. Guests started returning and quickly became loyal guests. That particular hotel ended up consistently being in the top 10 of their national brand. They went from having to attend training classes for properties showing poor performance, to being invited to share their success story at those same seminars. I also went on to experience success in management at another hotel that was desperately needing help. Sad to say, once I left that hotel, the owners resorted back to a poorly run hotel. Very sad, indeed. Now my burning passion is geared towards reaching out to other hotel owners/managers and employees so they can experience success as well.

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