It is not uncommon for savvy travelers to spend time going over travel Web sites such as Priceline to land the best deals for their hotel rooms, especially when visiting popular vacation destinations such as Macau, Thailand, or Hong Kong. You probably don’t mind poring over Web sites just to save a lot.
However, after grabbing the best hotel room rates, you want to spend a few more minutes to ensure that you will have a pleasant stay at your chosen hotel. These extra minutes can mean the difference between a hassle-free stay that assures you of the room that you have paid for and a vacation that is just too stressful to remember because somehow, something about your hotel reservation went wrong.
Here are a few more tips to making sure that you have the best hotel experience in any country in Asia that you plan to visit.
1. Make phone calls to verify your hotel stay
Overseas calls may cost a few more dollars but it is worth your while to call the hotel at least an hour after you have booked your reservation online. You want to avoid any potential problems with the hotel before you arrive in the country to check in. While talking on the phone to a representative, have a printout of your room confirmation handy so that you can verify whether your reservation is on record. Make sure that the hotel has recorded the right date and room type.
While on the phone, you can also take the opportunity to address requests such as being assigned a quieter room located away from soda machines, elevators, and areas with a lot of foot traffic. Spending these few minutes on the phone lets you iron out any issues while still having a number of alternatives available for you. If you forego the confirmation until you check in, resolving any potential issue may be limited considering that the hotel may be fully booked by then.
However, in case the hotel does not have a record of your reservation, you may want to make a second phone call, this time to customer service for the Web site through which you booked your reservation.
2. Remember to have the hotel confirmation printout with you when you check in
Be prepared for computer errors of any sort that may render you roomless when you arrive at your travel destination. Remember that you are traveling to a different continent; therefore, if your reservation gets lost before you check into your hotel, you will be faced with a big hassle.
To avoid this problem, bring printed proof that you have made a reservation at the hotel to avoid the helpless feeling when dealing with issues pertaining to lost records. This is not really incompetence on the part of the travel Web site or the hotel. Sometimes, your hotel reservation just had to go through a number of computer systems and at times electronic glitches occur.
3. Do not check in late in the evening
Checking in as early as possible is always advisable. If you expect to arrive late considering the time difference, you want to call the hotel on the day that you are due to arrive to tell hotel personnel that are on the way. You do not want to deal with an overbooked and full hotel during the wee hours of the morning.
Showing up early may mean that you are assigned to a room that still needs to be cleaned, but at least your reservation is squared away. You can leave your luggage while everything is being tidied up. Just make sure that you do not leave valuables in the room while you are out. You can leave these with the bell captain for storage in the hotel safe.
4. Dress properly for the hotel
While you do not have to wear a suit when checking into an upscale hotel in Macau or into a beachfront hotel in Thailand, for instance, you still want to dress appropriately. The same holds true when you have to deal with hotel staff. You want to look like you really are a guest at the hotel.
Unfortunately, appearances count for a lot, and people may judge you based on how you are dressed. Moreover, being well dressed puts you in a more favorable position to get an upgrade because refusing guests when they look important is difficult.
Do not demand an upgrade, by the way. Instead, politely ask how much an upgrade would cost you. In some cases, you may be lucky to get your upgrade free of charge, especially if you deal properly with the staff. It might also help if you check in using a frequent traveler credit card or a frequent guest card for the hotel chain because they indicate that you are more likely to do business with them again someday.
5. Be nice
Finally, it always pays to be polite and friendly with the hotel staff because they have the power to ensure that you have a pleasant stay. They can resolve your inquiries and even extend favors, such as access to exclusive perks, if you are nice enough.