Tuesday, April 03, 2007


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Last year for me was pretty hectic when it came to travelling. Apart from my regular routes between and within China and Indonesia, I also found myself bouncing down to Africa, up to India, and also for the first time to Siam Reap in Cambodia. This year has started off pretty mellow but I am going to be doing a whole lot of travelling in the up coming months. This weekend I am off to Nantong, in Northern China, another first for me. As you can imagine dealing with language barrier here is not an easy task and when it comes to making hotel bookings unless you are dealing with a 5 star hotel, chances of getting an English speaking receptionist are close to none. Usually I rely on staff or local acquaintances to help out with my bookings but this time I am taking my destiny into my own hands and using Hotel Reservations.com.

I only recently came across this website and it looks quite promising. I have used other hotel reservation online services in the past but many of them do not even recognize the cities I usually travel to, like Accra. But Hotel Reservations to my surprise had a pretty decent selection of hotels in Nantong, China. It was not the largest selection, but it was decent. They also had hotels for a bunch of other small towns I checked out. I like the fact that there is also a short description about each hotel and their facilities on the first page I am directed to. This saves me time and effort having to navigate away to the hotels home page to find out this basic information that is important to any traveling business person.

I also took the time to compare the rates they offered online to what my staff could line up. The first quote the hotel gave us was much higher than what Hotel Reservations quoted us. Only when we started pressuring the hotel for corporate rates and posed as locals did we get the same rate as Hotel Reservations. To be honest, we got it just a little bit cheaper, but that is only because my secretary is hard as nails.

The Hotel Reservations website is pretty loaded with information. I find that a little bit intimidating but for many other people who like to be buttered with special deals and offers, this is the site for you. They have loads! But the fact that they have toll free call numbers with people I can actually talk to one on one is reassuring. I have never been comfortable just typing my credit card details into a computer especially when dealing with third world establishments, as I usually do, but once I spoke to the representatives of Hotel Reservations, I was not so worried. I should also mention that they have numbers specifically for America, Europe, and the rest of the world. I think they should have one for Asia too.

So far the experience of dealing with Hotel Reservations has been pleasant. I have yet to confirm my booking with them because my dates are not yet finalized actually. But if everything goes smoothly I could be using this website quite a bit in the near future. I am heading up to some town near Beijing the week after next. If anything goes wrong I will be the first to complain as well.

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