How do most book a hotel

I recently booked on expedia which was very convenient. Paid in advance and had no problem when I arrived late in Spain. Do many people use expedia or other sites? Looking to book for Switzerland and Paris and don't know if there is a better way. Any suggestions appreciated.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2193 posts

For hotels and B&Bs, I use tripadvisor for reviews but book directly with the lodging, either online, by phone, or by e-mail – whichever works best at the time. For apartments, which I've recently been booking a lot for all trips, I use airbnb and book directly through their website.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
6022 posts

I like, you don't pay in advance (although individual hotels may charge your credit card in advance if that is their policy, you can check this on-site). Reviews are written by guests who have recently stayed in the hotels.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
4821 posts

I've used and also for Paris. usually has the most extensive list of hotels for any location.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
3142 posts

Lately I've been using Occasionally I use They take a credit card number, but you pay at the hotel. In case of no-show, they charge for one night. In most cases, reservations can be cancelled up to 2-3 days before the date of the booking. Read the fine-print.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1759 posts

We book our own hotels, direct from us to them via email.

Posted by Charlene
Centennial, CO, US
1135 posts

I try booking with the hotels directly. But if they require a deposit, or have an unfriendly cancellation policy, or are more expensive than, I'll book with I know the hotel has to pay a commission to, which cuts into their profit margin. But sometimes the direct price is higher than the price, which cuts into MY budget. And I absolutely refuse to pay the cost of wiring a deposit. Don't like the concept of deposits at all. I'll give them my credit card to hold the room, but prefer the method where they'll hold the card and only charge if you don't show up. usually has a reasonable cancellation policy too (3 nights notice).

Posted by Anna
Seattle, WA, United States
723 posts, or if the hotel has its own booking engine (essentially an e-mail form for you to fill out), I book directly with them. In my experience, in the latter case, you will give them your CC number to lock up the reservation but no payment is required until check-in, and then you can use whatever payment method you like (e.g. cash).

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
5474 posts

I like and use Though seems to do a great job most of the time, they do get their share of complaints over on Trip Advisor, which is why I have shied away from them. Along the same line, I have never read any complaints about HRS. Once I find hotels/pensions/B&B I like, I also go to the hotel website (if they have one, as some don't) and see which price is better. Sometimes I check out the websites of the cities, but they also often use hrs, or another consolidator.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
2166 posts

I use most of the time although I do sometimes book directly with the hotel. I have occasionally booked through Expedia and Orbitz but not recently. I really like because they are so easy to use, often have slightly lower rates than even the hotel itself, and usually have good cancellation policies - this can depend on the hotel's requirements but at least you have it in the confirmation email so you can rely on it. edit: I also use and to book apartments.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1759 posts

A side note. Just today we booked a hotel in Curacao by email. They don't take credit cards so payment is by the next to last day of our stay, either cash or transfer of funds. It was a deal by handshake, if you will.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3266 posts Its especially easy if you travel a lot as you can keep all your res. in one place, so you don't forget to cancel something and get charged.

Posted by Leslie
San Diego
5 posts

I always check out Trip Advisor reviews first... then Rick Steves recommendations and after deciding on which hotel or B&B, I contact them directly by e-mail. I have never used Expedia, Orbitz or and have found that working directly with the hotel I am able to negotiate a great rate and usually get a discount because I pay cash upon arrival. Hope this helps.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

A. Spot hotel. B. Open door. C. Walk in. D. Spot desk. E. Walk over. F. Ask. G. Either pay and get key or start over.

Posted by Karen (Leigh)
434 posts

I check reviews on trip advisor, but I always book directly through the hotel. This is usually through an email to an address I find on their website, or through some form some places have on their website. I have so far avoided places with no website.

Posted by gone
2081 posts

im in experimental mode for the time being so im just about willing to try everything. Ive tried Expedia before and have finished a trip using alot of ive also use both to find places, but booked direct once i find someplace i like. happy trails.

Posted by steve
troy, ny
393 posts

Any recommendations for Lucerne late May early June. Want to do 4 days there but looks expensive. I am looking for nice with private toilet and shower. Alao aame in Paris in a decent location. 2 guests sharing.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
2166 posts

Steve, you'll have to give us an idea of what's 'expensive' to you. What is your approximate budget per night for hotel?

Posted by steve
troy, ny
393 posts

Maybe 100 euro per night. I know that is not swiss francs

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21990 posts

steve, To answer your original question, I always try to book directly with each hotel using their website. The Guidebooks have the website information for hotels, so that makes it easy. In a few cases, I've had hotel websites re-direct to or another site, in which case I have to use that to make the reservation.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
3142 posts

You want nice, ensuite, double or twin. Pickings in Paris for under 100€ would be slim but possible. Maybe away from the city centre. Where I've stayed you can get a single for under 100€. Most doubles are more.

Posted by Sarah
St. Louis, MO USA
1673 posts

I book directly with the hotel to avoid any issues with a middleman company.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2193 posts

And if you're retired and have nothing but time, that type of flexibility might work well. I agree that it wouldn't work for most average people. OMG, for a minute there, I thought James had moved to Colorado and assumed a German persona. :)

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
879 posts

This is not a statistical sample by any means but whenever I compare expedia to booking or hotwire, the prices on expedia are always more expensive for the hotels or cars I want OR they don't include all the fees upfront which ticks me off. I am guessing they take a bigger cut because their fees are higher for whatever reason. So now I just use booking(anywhere), hotwire (in large US cities largely) or venere (in Europe). I check against the hotel's website and, if price is the same, then I pick the choice with least strings and more favorable terms attached. It's rarely the same though; that's why hotels use third party sales venues in the first place. I got really burned once using an unknown (shady) consolidator for hotels in Croatia which went belly up. I had to get (prepaid) money back from my credit card company because there was no way I'd get it back from the consolidator (the hotels cancelled my rooms and I had no way of knowing, which was icing on the cake).

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
13158 posts

The FIRST place I look is at the town's own website. That is where you will find the most economical (note: not cheap) places. Once I've found a place I like, I email them directly with the contact information from the town website. I've compared listings on booking websites with those on the town websites and often found 2 to 3 times as many places listed on the town website. The only places that can afford the 12% to 15% booking commission are those places that already charge too much. This works in Germany. I can't say for other countries, but the Germans have such high standards, I've never had a bad place this way. For accommodations in Germany, I guarentee you, if you use a booking website, you are paying too much.

Posted by Janet
Lakewood, WA
100 posts

I find Expedia to be more expensive then some other online booking sites. I use or directly with hotel to get better rates.
I also use the hotel information in guide books to get contact infomation and location details for hotels.

Posted by christa
alameda, ca, usa
360 posts

I've had excellent luck with Expedia, I'm sure there are other sites that are comparable but I'm comfortable with them and the 4 times I've used them I've been very pleased with the hotels, amenities and level of service I've received.

Posted by steve
troy, ny
393 posts

Christa do you pay in advance or at the hotel? I paid online prior to Spain. And had no problems.

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
2148 posts

In spending a month in Europe every summer for 11 of the last 12 years, I almost always use one of RS recommendations and always try for B&Bs but sometimes have to turn to hotels. I use various consolidators (booking, Exp, etc) to get a feel for their prices and then always try to book directly with the B&B or hotel and always ask if I can get a discount for paying cash (which I do anyway). Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. I find most of the B&Bs we have been staying in want cash. I am willing to give anyone a credit card # to hold a reservation, but I am not willing to pay anyone the whole amount up front before ever checking in. If they insist on all cash up front, I look elsewhere. I have read numerous. reports on this web site of folks having problems trying to check in at places that they booked thru consolidators. I have never had a problem when booking direct with the B&B or hotel. And, yes, I have stayed in places that I have found on this web site that are not RS listed. Never had a problem with any of them either.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8845 posts

I book directly with hotel 99.9% of the time.. its always worked for me.. But once I used Expedia and had a real issue. Their website described the hotel as having private bathroom .. ha, not so.. found out that really meant that yes there was a bathroom in your room.. but that there was no wall to seperate it from the bed area.( and I don't just mean the tub, but the toilet too) . sorry.. I like my privacy. I had booked a non refundable rate and had to fight it out to get an upgrade to a room with a toilet behind a wall.. and still had to pay 10 euros more ( instead of 20 euros more ) .. They (Expedia) had to deal with the hotel supplied room description, which with in a week had then been changed to be clear that the lowest catergory room had a bathroom in the room but it was "open concept". yech. btw,, I discovered this whole thing after looking on hotels own website which was more clear.. but the information they provided to Expedia , or the information Expedia chose to include, was not clear. If I ever use a booking agent again I will FIRST check hotel website and reviews.. In Paris I can get a double in a good area for 100 euros.. Hotel St Pierre.
Had to edit.. notice an old favorite has raised their prices ( Hotel Diana) ,, thats what comes from talking about these hidden gems too much on the forums,, they put their prices up...

Posted by Brian
Silverdale, WA
43 posts

Living in Germany for 3 years I used often. Yes, it's always best to book direct for a better price, but it becomes tedious trying to find a place sometimes when many places are booked for one reason or another (event in town or ?). They seem to overlap on properties with but not entirely.

Posted by Rosalyn
1488 posts

I am more and more using or similar. We usually do 3 -4 week trips, involving multiple locations. It's quite useful to have all or most of the reservations in one place. Another advantage is that you know immediately if there is availability, and you get immediate confirmation of your reservation. Cancellation is also quite easy, with confirmation thereof immediate.

Posted by Diane
Westford, MA, USA
347 posts

I use consolidators to shop for prices. Then I go directly to hotel site to compare. If I want additional information I use RS, Trip Advisor, and Fodor's for reviews. When I'm ready to book I contact the hotel by e-mail or telephone when needed. I find I can negotiate a better rate directly with the hotel
and also this provides the offer to pay in cash vs credit card. I confirm the cancellation policy. I have used Venere for Paris and Germany. They were positive experiences. I just score better with the direct approach. You also have established a personal relationship with the hotel which assists with a smoother registration process.

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2379 posts

My preferred channel is I've booked probably more than 200 hundred hotel stays on the website, and only once had a problem (hotel had the reservation, but was somehow overbooked and sent me elsewhere, but they were expecting me already so it was more a hotel's fault). The advantages of Booking, for me, are its reliability, straightforward cancellation and change policies (no hidden quirks on "terms of service"), and easiness of use on the go (they have a very good app that allows changes if need to be etc). I also found, at least for me, the reviews of Booking are quite reliable once you "master" the art of filtering the relevant and non-relevant ones. Sometimes I book on Venere, but these days prices of hotels listed on Booking and Venere are often very close. I won't do business with any lodging in Europe, at this day and age, which requires wiring money or requires CC info to be sent my email or phone.

Posted by Judy
Adelaide, SA, Australia
847 posts

Check out the Ibis Hotels in Lucerne on They are well within your budget

Posted by Robert
717 posts

I've used numerous times and have been satisfied. But I also have booked directly with the hotel via email whenever I have the chance.

Posted by steve
troy, ny
393 posts

I am having a hard time finding what I am looking for in Lucerne. A lot of places are either not available for the selected dates, have only a twin bed (not good for two people) or are just plain expensive. Do some hotels not list rooms until closer to the arrival dates?

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
2166 posts

Steve, yes some hotels will not post next summer's rates, or allow you to book those dates until after the 1st of the year. If you're willing to use an apartment instead of a hotel you can try the
Apartmenthaus Winkelried, it gets very good reviews on I don't know your exact dates but I plugged in June 1-5,2014 and they had a superior studio and a delux studio for between 100-120 euro/night.

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
830 posts

We always book directly with the particular hotel, using their site. We have found that sometimes there are rooms that are only available booking directly with the hotel (such as the Le Littre Hotel, Paris). We booked a room that is only available through their site. We had a balcony with a complete view of the Eiffel Tower. We try to use IHG Group (includes Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, InterContinental), Hilton Hotel Group (includes Doubletree, etc.), Radisson, etc. so we earn hotel points. We don't have to worry about cancelling the rooms, except if it is less than 24 hours before arrival. With some of the other travel sites, you don't earn hotel points by booking with those sites (, etc.).

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
4140 posts


Most of the time I reserve in advance since tracking down a place to stay is a waste of time and energy. I book a hotel using any of these three ways: first, I book through They have been reliable, on cancellation just read everything listed. Second way: I book also using the hotel's or Pension's or hostel's own website. Obviously, this way avoids going through the middle route a la booking .com.

Thirdly: I don't book online at all but look up the Pension's or small hotel's website to get its phone number, esp in Germany, where I then call them up directly, talk to the person then on duty at reception in the language, (which may increase your chance of bargaining, if at all, and some are accomodating ) and proceed to reserve.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
905 posts

After conducting my general research, I ordinarily just call using Skype. Using my best "local language" skills I ask pertinent questions and book rooms. In some cases, I'll just send e-mails. For larger hotels, utilizing their websites works well. On rare occasions, I've gone through and with complete satisfaction.

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
830 posts

We stayed a the Radisson Blu Hotel in Lucerne, a few years back. It was very nice and convenient to the rail station.

Posted by Chris
Tyler, TX
162 posts

Steve....have you tried the Tourist Hotel in Lucerne???? We stayed there last September and were very pleased with our river view room. Lucerne is very expensive and this was the best price and value for staying on the river in Old town.

Posted by gone
2081 posts


Use what you like.

I will use anything i can get my paws on. Currently, i will use "" for research. If they are less expensive then directly going to the lodgings web site, i will use them. I use whatever is less expensive FOR ME!

I have used Expedia before, but wasnt impressed.

happy trails.

Posted by H J
LaGrange, Ga, USA
1134 posts

Check them out on the various sites, trip advisor, etc., kayak, whatever, but usually book directly with them via email....better rooms most of the time for those who book direct, and if you need to cancel, adjust, it is an easier process as well.