Booking hotels online when you travel in China is great. You work out where you are going next, jump online, find a decent hotel, pull out your credit card and make your booking. This is quick, convenient, reliable and handy. Most sites though only accept Visa or Mastercard so if you don’t have one of these, booking hotels is a more difficult but can still be done. You just need to use a more traditional approach.
How to Book Hotels Online
Listed below are the best websites for booking hotels online based on the cheap hotels they find, information such as address and maps provided and ease of use.
Ctrip - higher prices and decent rooms, tends to caters for the Chinese business market
Qunar – A Chinese website that covers Beijing’s cheapest and sleaziest dives to Shanghai’s most opulent five star hotels.
Find Your Hotel’s Telephone Number
The first step is like normal. You still log onto your favourite hotel website, find a hotel and confirm that the room/bed you want is available. The next step is the most difficult, finding the hotel’s telephone number.
Most hotel websites do not include telephone numbers for the obvious reason that they do not want to lose their booking fees so don’t expect to find telephone numbers there. The best way to find the hotel’s telephone number is to enter the hotel address in your search engine. If you have it, enter the hotel’s address in Chinese. Hopefully the hostel’s telephone number will be entered on the first page of the search results. This can be a bit hit and miss so have at least 2-3 hotels you are willing to stay at.
Now Make the Telephone Call
Don’t worry about language barriers. The staff at most hotels in the major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai can all speak enough English to take your booking by telephone. They’ll typically ask you when you will arrive and how long you will stay for. They’ll also warn you that they will not be able to hold your booking for too long so be careful and don’t arrive late or you’ll find your room has been given to some one else.
Once you arrive at the hotel you simply pay in cash. They may try to charge you the standard room rate so agree to a price when you call them and if they are reluctant, refer to the online room rate. Some hotels also let you pay by Paypal which is great if you don’t have a credit card. Check for alternative payment methods when you call them.