Are you looking for a hotel for your next business trip? With the following ten tips from the impulse editorial team, the search is easier and you can book cheaper.
Clever use of booking portals
The range of Internet portals for hotel bookings is large. “In any case, you should always make a comparison,” advises Cathleen Kliche, assistant to the publisher’s management at impulse.
Where should the hotel be? If you are looking for hotels in distant countries or want a particularly large selection, Booking.com is probably the best choice.
Would you like to read the small print? In September 2015, Stiftung Warentest took a close look at nine hotel portals. HRS scored best, Expedia and Hotels.com were hardly worse. But Booking.com was devalued because of deficits in small print. Once you’ve decided on a hotel, it’s pointless to search several portals at the same time. The search engines all access the same data that is stored in central computer reservation systems.
Do you want business discounts? Most providers offer discounts to business customers. With “Booking.com for Business” you get a 10 percent discount on selected accommodations. HRS offers small to medium-sized businesses up to 30 percent discounts – but only after registration with a sales tax number.
“I always open Booking.com and Trivago in parallel. If I find a hotel that I like, I still look directly at the hotel’s website. Sometimes the hotels only have special offers there,” says Kliche.
Compare 2nd price with hotel website
“It is often worthwhile to select the hotel on booking portals and then book it via the hotel’s website,” says online editor Angelika Unger. Sometimes it is cheaper to book directly with the hotel, as no commission is due for the portal. “If this is too expensive for you, you can also use Trivago or Kayak.
These meta search engines search the websites of hotels, hostels and guesthouses as well as the pages of booking portals such as Expedia.de or Booking.com.” However, it is questionable how independent the search results are: Expedia is the majority shareholder in Trivago, Kayak belongs to the same group of companies as Booking.com.
Activate price alarm
Some portals, such as Kayak, offer a price alert service: as soon as the price of a particular offer falls, you will be notified by email.
Be aware of the situation and save money and time
“The most important criterion for my hotel booking is the location,” says Nicole Basel, Head of Digital Services at impulse. “There is nothing worse than having to glide through half the city after a long working day. Often it’s even worth digging deeper into a well-situated hotel’s pocket.
“Keep an eye on the expenses for your entire stay: In many companies there are rules as to what a hotel room may cost. This often leads to the absurd situation that you only pay 80 euros for the hotel room, but this is so bad that you put 50 euros on top of it for the taxi to the event location.”
Impulse editor Lazar Backovic still has some good advice that most people don’t think about at first: when searching the Internet, the hotel search engine used saves the data entered. This means that repeated searches for hotel rooms can lead to an increase in prices. By deleting the search engine’s cookies, possible price increases are avoided.
Pick up the phone
Hotels do not always display business rates on their websites. When looking for an inexpensive hotel room, our editor Claus Schmalholz sometimes reaches for the telephone receiver. “I recommend the specific question of business or weekend rates or similar when booking by telephone. Such special rates are actually available in all hotels, but they only come out when there is explicit demand.”
Use business travel portals
According to Claus Schmalholz, business travel portals such as Deutsche Bahn’s Online Business Travel can also be worthwhile for companies that book business trips frequently. For 49 euros a month you can book flights, train tickets and hotels on one portal – clearly arranged and with central billing. That saves time and expenditure.
Alternatives for longer stays
Private accommodation can also be interesting for business trips. At Airbnb, for example, after registering the company, you can be sure that the rooms or apartments meet the following criteria: 24-hour access to the house key on the day of arrival, no pets and non-smoking households. Renting a large apartment can be interesting, for example, if the team has to work something out together while travelling. That goes at a large kitchen table evenly better than in the hotel room.
If you have a lot of time but little money, you can try to reduce the price with the help of vouchers. “Before I book a hotel, I always look at Groupon for hotel promotions first,” says Larissa Rehbock, an employee at impulse. “You can also simply google for hotel vouchers. Sometimes you can find such a lucrative price advantage”
The number of stars of a hotel gives an indication of the quality. But beware: only certified stars (i.e. stars awarded by the respective hotel association) are comparable – and abroad the criteria for awarding stars are often less demanding. In addition, the stars only say something about the hotel’s facilities. How clean the hotel is or how friendly the service is, is not rated here.
Evaluation portals such as Tripadvisor, Zoover or Holiday Check provide a remedy – even if such sites have already been criticised for fake evaluations or lack of independence. “Who looks into the evaluations, often gets helpful additional information, for instance how quietly the hotel is situated or how the traffic connection functions , says impulse editor Nicole Basel.
“For my first assessment, I also pay attention to who gave the ratings: If 50 percent of the ratings come from families with children, the hotel is probably not the best for the next business trip”.
Because researching on the Internet is often time-consuming, Basel sometimes picks up the phone. “When I go to an event, I usually ask the local people for a hotel tip. This saves a lot of searching and the quality is good.”