I have read alot of review recommeding Hotel Smeraldo in Rome. We are planning on October 2018, and every travel site (Orbitz, Travelocity, etc.) shows this hotel is booked already. Does anyone have any recommendations which site to use to book? Other than the hotel's site, since we are trying to book a package deal with the airfare included. Any tips are appreciated. Or, if you have a comparable hotel suggestion. Please. Thanks!
Most hotels don't have their schedules/pricing up more than a year in advance, so it could show up as "booked" when it's not. There is no need to book a hotel or airfare this early - you are 13 months out. You have plenty of time to track good fares and find a nice hotel at any price point (I use www.booking.com to search for hotels).
I would use booking.com if you don't care to book directly with the hotel. We have found that booking directly with airlines and hotels is advantageous.
We've always booked directly with hotels by email, unless they direct us to their website. And yes, they show booked when it's too soon. Ask the hotel directly when the other websites will have access, if you don't want to book directly.
Booking.com has rooms one year in advance. Right now on their website September is up. We usually use a combo booking.com or direct with the hotel. We noticed though that when we were looking at rooms in Croatia down in Split, Korčula, Dubrovnik for next summer, they direct you to booking.com. No reservations directly with the hotels/B&B, etc.
If you're flexible on how to book... i would email the hotel. I had my heart set on a little hotel in Paris (RS recommended + high ratings elsewhere) and they showed booked- they just had not released the dates yet. They happily had me book and confirm my days for 18mo out directly.