About Online Hotel Bookings

I am putting up a page dedicated to my previous blogs about online hotel bookings before it gets lost in the middle of my pageant-related postings.

I believe that this particular subject will be very helpful to travelers so I want this information to be more easily accessible for them.

Please feel free to message me or reply if you have questions or concerns and I will try to help the best that I can.

My #1 Choice for Bangkok (and Thailand) Online Hotel Booking Site

I don’t normally make outright endorsements – just recommendations – of online booking sites for hotels in Bangkok and Thailand in general. I think that I can state this with confidence after more than a decade of gaining specialized exposure to the Land of Smiles from an outsider’s point of view. And this time, I’m making a well-thought-of pitch to encourage blog readers and visitors to give my top pick for a country-specific reservationist. I’ve tried them several times and have never been disappointed. Everything is in perfect order. What’s more, their rates can rival all the other competitors. One of the main reasons here is the fact that they are based in Bangkok itself and have earned the trust of affiliated properties in the same.

Let me re-introduce you to Sawadee.com / R24.org

Sawadee.com for all Thailand bookings

And what makes my push more reliable? Well, personal experience for one. But more importantly, I visit Bangkok almost purely as a tourist (or leisurely traveler if you will) so I analyze everything with a good mix of subjectivity and open-mindedness. And modesty-aside, I’ve built a reputable name as hotel reviewer in tripadvisor and other travel forum sites.

So the next time you are planning a short or extended vacation in Bangkok (or in other parts of Thailand), try Sawadee.com / R24.org

Of course, I would appreciate it a lot if you can click the links to their pages from my blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

You won’t be disappointed, I promise! ๐Ÿ˜‰



Advanced online hotel booking yields the best rates

Advanced online hotel booking yields the best rates

I’ve learned time and again that advanced hotel reservations help a lot in making your vacations smoother and less stressful. And instead of making direct bookings with the hotels, I’ve long been converted to the use of online reservationists who offer the best rates. Of course, it goes without saying that this is most applicable if you have specific dates for your stay a month or two prior or at the very latest, a few days before. I’m not a big fan of just walking in a hotel and getting a room on-the-spot because chances of discounts or additional perks are very slim.

But the big question is: which online website/s to trust? Newbies cannot be blamed for their apprehension in parting away with credit card details, moreso in this day and age when computer hackers and/or phishers have gotten sophisticated in intercepting the same if you end up booking with a reservationist with dubious security issues.

In my case, I limit trusted sites to a maximum of five (5), all of which I have utilized at least twice in the past – plus a couple of country-specific ones. These are companies which have provided me with prompt confirmations, efficient service and customer-friendly post-sales assistance should you find the need to cancel or amend your bookings. I cannot vouch for them 100% because there is no such thing as a perfect online booking group. There will always be the occasional (and inevitable) hitches along the way because of certain unavoidable scenarios. But always keep your cool. These agents have built a good track record for themselves and I’m sure they won’t intentionally ruin their reputation for a single booking or two.

Here are my personal picks for favorite online hotel booking sites in no particular order and with brief comments after each entry:

Hotwire is best used if you travel to North America and Europe, but there's a catch (read below)

Hotwire is best used if you travel to North America and Europe, but there's a catch (read below)

I love using Hotwire when going to the U.S., Canada and some parts of Europe. They offer very low rates, especially for 4-5 star hotels. The only catch is…..you won’t know the name of the hotel until you finalize the booking. You will only be given a general description of the hotel, star rating and location. To help you in this regard, do visit the various Hotwire forums on the net. There you will see the posts of previous travelers which reveal hotel names vis-a-vis their verbatim descriptions on the Hotwire site.

Asiarooms specializes in Asia with their low rates, but offers bookings elsewhere outside the region.

Asiarooms is quick in confirming your reservations, unless you book a stay on a particularly busy/peak period in your country of destination. They constantly surprise me with very reasonable rates in my favorite hotels around Asia. My only gripe is they tend to slow down once you cancel your booking. Yes, you will get your refund (less cancellation fees) but you need to be more patient than usual.

Asiatravel is a safe, all--in-one travel site that has long been trusted in the biz.

Asiatravel is a safe, all--in-one travel site that has long been trusted in the biz.

I use Asiatravel but not as frequently as I would avail of others. Don’t get me wrong. I completely trust their site. I’m really a sucker for low rates, though. I always check them first, but almost always end up with one other trusted reservationist with a lower price to offer. My advice? If you’re still very cautious with online booking and wouldn’t mind not getting the lowest available rate, then Asiatravel is the best bet for you.

Hoteltravel.com is another safe bet for online hotel bookings

Hoteltravel.com is another safe bet for online hotel bookings

Hoteltravel.com is included in the list because I often chance upon gems among their long list of affiliated hotels in the Asian region. When you are as hardworking as I am in digging through dozens upon dozens of rates of different accomodations, there is a high probability that you will be rewarded with a good find. That has happened to me many times in the past. In fact, my upcoming booking at Novotel Siam Square in Bangkok end of the month is courtesy of them. I just wish that they would go back to their old policy of ‘book now-charge much later’ but signs of the times must have forced them to go along with the outright charging practice of most.

If you're uneasy with the secret identities of Hotwire's hotels, then Travelocity is a good alternative.

If you're uneasy with the secret identities of Hotwire's hotels, then Travelocity is a good alternative.

I’m happy using Hotwire when booking hotels in the U.S., but during trips where they can’t give me worthy choices in a particular state, I always seek the assistance of Travelocity. It will most likely be unable to match the rates of Hotwire, but knowing the identity of the hotel you’re interested in booking has its benefits, least of which is getting detailed information and reviews without second-guessing if you’re checking the right accomodation or not.

Outside of these five sites, I also give good commendations to two country-specific online providers which have been very efficient in handling some of my previous reservations. They are:

Sawadee.com for all Thailand bookings

Sawadee.com for all Thailand bookings

Sawadee.com gives you that personalized attention and guaranteed booking anywhere in Thailand. The site also has frequent special offers that are hard to resist.

For all your hotel bookings around Japan.

For all your hotel bookings around Japan.

Japanhotel.net is a worthy pick if you want to make hotel bookings all around Japan. Their rates are also very competitive, even cheaper than most and the selections are far wider and more varied.

So if you’re in the hunt for that elusive low hotel rate for your next trip, then check out the sites above. I cannot insure that you will find what you’re looking for in just one sitting (or one clicking for that matter) but patience does have its rewards. And what better way to travel than to print your own plane ticket and hotel voucher – and presto! – you’re all set for a less-pressured vacation, unless you plan to shop a lot and deal with excess baggage. But that’s another blog altogether.

31 comments on “About Online Hotel Bookings

  1. Hi Norman,

    Good day to you!

    I’ve been following this blog of yours for a long time. Lot’s of exciting things happening in here. For me Travelocity offers cheap hotel deals ๐Ÿ˜‰


  2. Hi Norman,
    I am such an avid fan of your blog. I am based in San Francisco. I get a lot of pride and pleasure just reading about whats going on with our Bininbinis. Specially for the year 2013 when Philippines took home the crown for Miss World, International and Supranational.
    I am planning to go to Thailand for the first time in October of 2014 for 13 days.
    I am very much interested to hear about your recomendations. I am a single gay filipino male.
    Maybe its better if we could communicate via e-mail for privacy. What do you think?
    Thank you.

  3. It is so kind of you sharing this post. Travellers and tourists or those who are new going from place to place is not that easy if you do not have enough information on something you want to do especially on hotel booking. Thank you for this post.

  4. Hi Norman
    I came across your blog while googling bb Pilipinas. I find it very informative and helpful.
    I am thinking of traveling to Thailand in the fall. I am based in San Francisco,Ca.
    This will be my first time to go to Thailand. Have you any recommendations?
    Should I go with a package tour/on my own. Should I go through a travel agent to plan my itineraries.

    • Roscar, one thing I have learned about my constant trips to Bangkok and Thailand as a whole is how fun it is to make my own travel plans and live each day with tempered spontaneity. I’ve never been fond of tour packages, except in Europe. Just holler with your specific questions and I will do my best to answer them. If you’re more comfortable sharing details in private, just email me at : norman.blogsite@gmail.com

  5. I found a really good deal for a hotel in HKG via HotelTravel.com. Other websites are offering at least RM400 for the same type of room, but HotelTravel.com is offering the same kind of room at about RM270. Being a little sceptical about the deal, I emailed the hotel’s Reservation Manager and enquired if there will be any issues/matters arising with the hotel if I were to book the room via HotelTravel.com. I even sent them the URL of the HotelTravel.com’s deal. The reply that I received from the hotel is “We don’t have any idea of HotelTravel.com”. What could be wrong?? =(

    • I think it may be a subtle way of telling you that the hotel prefers to deal with a different hotel booking site. Of late, Agoda seems to have zoomed past the competition in more ways than one, such as being based in Hongkong. Try asking the hotel if they would honor Agoda instead. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. I have used Hotelclub.com for various regions in Europe with no problems at all. Recently I used Booking .com which is fantastic that you pay the Hotel once you have stayed there.Also I have used Wotif.com which also a safe and reliable site.Thanks Chris from Australia

  7. i just booked using hoteltravel.com. thanks for easing my anxiety whether thy are legit or not

  8. Hi, I came across your blog while I was searching for feedbacks on HotelTravel.com
    Would like to ask if you’ve booked with them before? I’ve booked with them for my Feb trip in HK and after reading reviews from others, they say it’s a scam which got me worried. Hope they’re legit. Anyway, thanks!

  9. Hi, Norman! Great site! I will consider asiarooms next time. I have been using asiatravel for regional trips and recently found out that agoda.com has cheaper rates. Do you have inputs about agoda? Salamat!

  10. Gina, thanks for dropping by my humble abode on the net! Yes, Asiarooms has most of the lowest hotel rates around the region. I always check their site everytime I do travel planning. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. HI Norman i love your site! Keep it up.
    I also use these sites to book accomodations when i travel,,Asiarooms.com i think has fantastic rates and been using it here in Asia.

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