Wednesday, February 24, 2010 online reservations made easy

in a previous post, i had already mentioned how easy it was to reserve a room with 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 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'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 it really gives you some time to think about your options.

a day before we left for hong kong, a 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, 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 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, provided that the rate is particularly succulent. :)


Gino said...

eh sa

Manila Girl said...

This is helpful! I'll try this website next time. We usually book through, and we've had good experiences with them.

i gotta go! said...

manila girl: asia travel has pretty good deals, too. :) i'll try them next time. hope you'll have as good an experience with as i did!

Anonymous said...

We plan to create our own online booking engine inside our portal site (web), in which we will accommodate and process travel requirements of customers abroad (Filipinos and even foreigners) – act as the travel agent online. To process their bookings and reservations on our end, we will deal directly with hotels and airlines instead of tying up with local travel agencies. We will receive their payments (either via paypal or remittance) and shall be paid in turn to suppliers. Through this procedure, we will definitely generate more revenue than by just arranging percentage commissions from travel agencies.

In this case, are there necessary permits or registrations we need to comply by an appropriate government agency or are we required to be accredited under certain sector in the travel industry, etc?

May we know the necessary requirements for us to operate online booking/reservation tool?

Thank you very much!

i gotta go! said...

hello. i don't have any info as to how to open a travel-related business. best to ask government agencies for that. :)