Travel Avocado

The secrets of Booking.com

The art of the search

Booking hotels can be a time-consuming task. The best way to reduce the overall time spent researching hotels is to refine your search.

  • Sorting - Change the sorting to “Review Score.” The default sorting is usually “Our Top Picks,” which is based on Booking.com's internal algorithm. My recommendation is to change it to “Review Score” because it will provide objective results based on real users’ reviews.                           
  • Filtering
    • Property type - Recently, as a competition with Airbnb and as an answer to the new trend of apartments for rent, Booking.com added many apartments. Many of those apartments have high scores and a low number of reviewers. If an apartment is not an option for you, it is recommended that you filter them out.

       

    • Another recommended filter to use is budget. You can filter out low-budget or even out-of-budget hotels.

      • Star rating - I usually use this filter when planning a resort vacation or special event. My default preference is 3+ stars.

      • Availability - Use this feature to only show available options when your dates are not flexible.

      • Neighborhood - When traveling to a big city, such as London or  New York , it is recommended that you filter the location by relevant neighborhood.

      Check out an example for all hotels in central London sorted by “Review Score.” Filtered search

Reviews Reviews Reviews

Rule of thumb - You can't go wrong with an 8.5+ score and 200+ reviews.

• There is always something to compromise when a hotel’s score is under 8.5, like location, service, size, etc. In such cases, read through the bad reviews to understand why they got that rating.

• Anything less than 50 reviews is not enough to get accurate and reliable feedback since it could have easily been manipulated by the property. Anything between 50-200 reviews is enough to tell if you will receive really good or bad accommodations.

• Read between the lines - Hotels that pass my initial scan earn a deeper look. I check out the reviews section and read about 10 good reviews and 10 bad reviews.

• Filter - You can easily filter the reviews by score, language, or a specific subject that is important to you.

• What to look for in good reviews - Look for comments about things that are crucial to you, and How many minutes/hours ago the hotel was booked - Similar to the previous section.
• “Only X rooms left on our site!” - This is for specific room types. If it is a deal you are afraid to miss, try to book with “free cancellation.”

• Keep in mind that in most cases the prices go up as the date of your trip approaches.
For those afraid of commitment
I am absolutely in love with the “free cancellation” option. It enables me to book a low-price room while still planning my trip. I can even make last-minute changes without penalty. I would suggest using it when:
• Your trip is not certain. For example, maybe you did not get the days off from work yet or you are not sure who will join you.
• Your trip schedule has not been finalized. In such cases, I would book the same hotel for a few different dates or in different places for the same day.
• It is the last room available for a hotel but you are still looking for a better option.
• The hotel has very low availability. In such cases, I would book something and then do my research. An example could be booking a hotel for the summer Olympics with only a few months left before the event. sure to check if there are any limitations. For example, if location in London is very important to you, a review stating that there are many restaurants and pubs nearby is extremely good. However, if it continues and mentions that the nearest underground station is a 15-minute walk away, then I would reconsider since that is a long time in London.

• What to look for in bad reviews - For good hotels, most of the bad reviews are about service or booking mistakes. This happens everywhere. We cannot expect everyone to be pleased, but for bad hotels, most of the reviews are about cleanliness, overall value, and specific hazards like noise or a broken air conditioner.

.Genius

After several hotel bookings, I earned the “Genius” label from Booking.com. With this status, you get an additional discount off regular prices and other special offers. In order to get the status, you must be a registered user. My recommendation is to do all your bookings on the same account so that it gets more visibility. If you already made several bookings as a registered user and you did not earn the “Genius” status, I would suggest emailing customer support and asking for the status. There’s no harm in asking. 🙂

Visit .genius page for booking.com partners.

Manipulation

Booking.com uses several ways to pressure you into closing your order:

  • Reserved diagram - Appears at the top of the page and displays the percentage of reserved dates. When more than 70% of dates are reserved and my dates are fixed, I usually start with a “free cancellation” booking (see relevant section below).

  • “X other people looking now” - Appears on the specific hotel page next to the rooms section or as a pop-up. I tend to ignore this feature because it seems like the number is generally for people looking at the same hotel but not necessarily for the same dates.

  • How many minutes/hours ago the hotel was booked - Similar to the previous section.

  • “Only X rooms left on our site!” - This is for specific room types. If it is a deal you are afraid to miss, try to book with “free cancellation.”

  • Keep in mind that in most cases the prices go up as the date of your trip approaches.

For those afraid of commitment

I am absolutely in love with the “free cancellation” option. It enables me to book a low-price room while still planning my trip. I can even make last-minute changes without penalty. I would suggest using it when:

• Your trip is not certain. For example, maybe you did not get the days off from work yet or you are not sure who will join you.

• Your trip schedule has not been finalized. In such cases, I would book the same hotel for a few different dates or in different places for the same day.

• It is the last room available for a hotel but you are still looking for a better option.

• The hotel has very low availability. In such cases, I would book something and then do my research. An example could be booking a hotel for the summer Olympics with only a few months left before the event.

mportant things to keep in mind:

If you cancel your booking, you will not be able to book it again at the same rate—only at the current price.

Do not forget to cancel if you double-booked.

Final Tips

  • Children and extra bed - When traveling with children or when you would like to have 3 adults in one room, it is important that you review the extra bed policy. In most cases, you can add small children for free and another adult with an extra bed for a low price.

  • Additional charges - In some cases, there are additional costs that will be charged directly by the hotel. Booking.com displays those costs so that you can calculate the overall amount. Examples include city taxes in the US or resort fees in Las Vegas .

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Comment