in a previous post, i had already mentioned how easy it was to reserve a room with booking.com. it took us just a few minutes to confirm our reservations with island pacific hotel.
but reserving is just the tip of the iceberg. travel plans can change, and to be effective, an online booking engine must be flexible enough to give you freedom to modify your reservation without incurring extra charges. it should also allow you to put in your preferences and communicate these to the hotel.
and of course, at the end of the day, the point of reserving through these online booking engines is that they get you a room--at the rate they posted, and on the day you wanted to have that room.
with those simple, straightforward criteria, let's see how booking.com fared on my first online booking engine transaction.
modifying our booking
we had initially reserved three standard rooms at island pacific hotel for three nights. a few days before we left, however, we decided that we could save a few bucks if we just got two rooms and paid for an extra bed instead.
so i went to booking.com's self-service booking tool to make these changes. from my email, i accessed the mybooking tool by clicking on a link. it logged me into the system automatically, and presented me with options that i can make on my booking:
i clicked on modify my booking, and it showed the details of our reservation, along with a "cancel" link to each room that we booked. i clicked on "cancel" on one of the rooms. during the modification, i was also given a chance to key in any preferences during my stay.
i didn't feel confident at all about this part, because it was just a generic field where you type in your requests. i had more faith in specific options, where i can just check boxes and all that, because it means the site knows what their guests usually modify or prefer, but nonetheless, i typed in "please provide double bed for room # 1. for room #2, provide one double bed, and one extra bed. if it's also possible, please have the two rooms on the same floor."
i confirmed the modifications, and the total amount to be paid reflected one less room charge. since i had edited our reservations days before we left, we weren't charged for the canceled room, which is a huge advantage of using booking.com. it really gives you some time to think about your options.
a day before we left for hong kong, a booking.com representative called us to confirm the changes we made with our reservation. she informed us of the charges on the extra bed, and told us that rooms with double beds will be subject to availability. afterwards, booking.com sent us an email with the reservation form:
this one reflected the changes we made, and includes our requests for a double bed and an extra bed. the total amount also reflected the added cost of the extra bed, which is great, because we already know the amount we're paying for.
at the hotel
so far, so good. modifications made and confirmed, but will we really have our rooms?
on the day we arrived at the hotel, i showed the front desk the print-out of our confirmed reservation. the hotel was able to reserve our room for us. regarding our preferences, though, i still had to mention this to the hotel representative despite them being printed on the booking form already. but we got our double beds (or "big beds," according to the hotel rep) and our extra bed, and our rooms were close to each other.
pretty much everything i needed from an online booking engine was granted by booking.com. rates are also pretty competitive, but please note that prices are still subject to taxes. the part that i like the most is that i can modify my booking, and even cancel it a couple of days before i get to my destination. it's a great service guarantee, and because of this, i will most probably book my rooms through booking.com, provided that the rate is particularly succulent. :)