Costa Rica hotel reservations - are you being ripped off?
Being a hotel owner, I could just slap other hotel owners for having no marketing spirit or a sense of reaching out to their future guests. To fill their rooms, they rely on the Global Distribution System (GDS), the big internet hotel distributors, you know the ones, Hotels.com, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline (and several hundred more) where the guest unknowingly pays sometimes 30% or even 40% more than the hotel receives. The GDS has become a huge multi-billion dollar internet industry capitalizing on the ignorance and fear of the average tourist, resulting in inferior hotel stays at inflated prices. The same thing goes for the chain hotels, with centralized global reservations.
When you use the GDS, you are given a minimum of standardized information about each hotel. There is no place for questions or to communicate directly with the hotel about your special needs; like a quiet room, a nice view, the surrounding area, discounts for multiple rooms or multiple nights, nightlife, things to do. And then you unwittingly make your reservation immediately through them on line, paying maybe 30% more than the actual hotel receives, leaving you no room to negotiate with the hotel, even if you could talk to it! And once you get to the hotel, and don't like the hotel or your room, or the attitude of the staff or the food, you are stuck. If you check out early, they have your credit card authorized to take whatever penalty they have in their fine print. It's a no win for you.
Here is how you turn things around and win. Today most progressive hotels have their own website, other than chain hotels who are under strict regulations to use the chain website. Find some hotels on the GDS that interest you, but as usual, you are given limited information, and can not talk to the hotel directly to ask questions. Now, search for the hotel(s) on Google, Yahoo!, etc. using the hotel name and location, for example, Adventure Inn Costa Rica. In the search results you will see www.adventure-inn.com at or near the top. Now click on the hotel website, and deal directly with the hotel!
Good marketing shows a lot about what to expect from a hotel stay. If the hotel doesn't have tits own website on the first page of the search engines, it is likely a lost cause, the service will probably be bad, the food overpriced, and the experience tacky, inauthentic and regretful. Forget those hotels and look for ones with their own website, then call or e-mail the hotel directly from their web page. Now you are in a position to ask questions, get exactly what you want: a room with a view; a room by the pool; extra pillows; flowers or chilled champagne in your room; an early check-in or late check-out; ask about things to do, closeness to shopping, dining options, nightlife; children, senior and long stay discounts; luggage storage; airport pick-up; laundry services; cancellation penalties; pre-arranged tours and car rentals; the list goes on.
You'll be able to use this information the rest of your life wherever you want to travel.