Booking the hotels for your stay is something we can all handle on our own nowadays, right? With sites like TripAdvisor, Booking.com and others it is really very easy. When should you book and should you do it yourselves or let someone handle it for you is a huge debate. Let’s try and understand why.
Any service you are being provided with costs money, we all get that. When someone else handles the hotel bookings for us, we all know they are getting a cut from the hotels. So why should we let them? You don’t have to; you really can do it yourselves. But by doing it yourselves, do you save the money that otherwise they would have gotten? I am not so sure.
In many hotels, there are the prices listed and the prices you have no access to. That means that when you reserve, you get the best deal possible as a private individual. That price is actually higher than what is offered to a tourism agent such as myself. Now, when I book the rooms, I get a lower rate and I choose how much to charge my clients. A fair agent will charge you what the hotel would have charged you and earn the difference. A great agent will actually charge you less what the hotel would have charged you, still earn the difference, but this time while even saving you some money. If the agent chooses to charge you more than what the hotel would have charged you, some may say they are not as fair. That’s easy to check though and you can and should do just that.
In addition, the cancellation policy an agent receives in many cases is actually better than what you would get. That is especially crucial at precarious times such as now. If your entire reservation: Guiding, Transportation, Entrance Fees, Transfers, VIP service at the airport, Hotel Bookings etc. is reserved through the same agent, you get a clear cancellation policy on the whole thing. If you handle it yourselves, you get a major headache and unclear cancellation policies. You may discover that you are investing time in the wrong place. Perhaps the money the agent earns for handling your reservations is worth it that case? Especially if you are getting it for the same price or less AND a better cancellation policy.
How well do you know these hotels? If you’ve been here before and have stayed in these hotels, that’s one case. However, if you haven’t, sometimes you’ll discover that the pics on the website look slightly different than the reality you encounter when showing up. In addition, many hotels have various types of rooms, do you fully understand the difference? Because we do. Moreover, many times we actually get a higher level of a room for the same price as the standard one and we make sure you get that for the same expense. That’s an added bonus for you right? If you have a membership with a specific chain of hotels, be sure to mark it. That would insure that your membership is noted and the points or credit for the rooms goes into your account regardless and so do the perks.
What about the actual services when you arrive? Would they be better since you booked it yourselves or perhaps the other way around? Well, we pass along to the hotels a copy of your passports and all the info before your arrival.
That means less time for check in and sometimes none at all. Since your billing is with us and not the hotel, no credit card will be used there and no balance will be dealt with for the bookings, Less hassle for you already.
any times, since we handle hundreds of rooms per year at these hotels, you’ll find a wine bottle or fruit basket in the room that are complimentary due to our relationships with them, sometimes even bigger surprises as well.
When you step into the room, water bottles will probably be waiting for you. If they are out of the minibar, those are complimentary. However, the minibar is not. If you open the minibar, in many hotels it will mark the computer system and you will be charged even if you didn’t actually take anything. So, if you have your own items you wish cooled, call the reception and ask for a small fridge.
Do you observe Kosher? If so, to what degree? Various hotels have different Kosher levels and if you are an observant Jew or Muslim, that may be crucial. We know and understand these issues and can recommend which would be best for you. If you are nonobservant, you will be surprised sometimes by the fact that there is no meat at breakfast or coffee at dinner, those are all related. Due to the Kosher dietary restrictions, there can be no meat and dairy products in the same dining hall or even on the same dishes. There are many more restrictions that need to be met and that is only one but the more the premises observes the higher it’s Kosher standing and to many, that is incredibly important.
The Israeli breakfast is world famous and includes a huge variety of cheese, pastries, vegetables, fruit and much more. It is also, almost everywhere in Israel, complimentary so be sure to make the time for it. A good breakfast may mean that you simply don’t need lunch. However, perhaps best to get a light one and enjoy some of the unique food options available. Look for one of my other blogs – Why is the food in Israel so unique and desired? for more information on this subject.
If you are planning to stay in a hotel in Israel over the weekend, be sure to understand what Shabbat means. The 7th day of the week in the Jewish tradition is known as Shabbat and it is the official day of rest in Israel. However, it has many religious applications and those are about to affect your stay greatly. In order to avoid aggravation and confusion please be sure to take the following into consideration. On Saturday (Shabbat), some elevators will work differently, they will stop automatically on every floor and beep loudly before the doors close. Those are called “Shabbat elevators” and they are designed to allow an observant Jew to travel in them without
operating them since the manipulation of electricity is strictly forbidden. Due to that, Friday dinner as well as Saturday breakfast and lunch are going to be very different. Since there will be no fresh eggs, coffee etc. All food is prepared by Friday midday and served after a continuous heating. The Shabbat breakfast is different than normal, special foods are served and is worth checking out. Last, you will be able to observe numerous Jewish tradition while at the hotel on Shabbat, from the lighting of the candles of Friday evening, to the blessing of the bread and wine on Shabbat dinner (Friday evening), prayers at the on-site synagogues and even the Havdalah ceremony at the end of Shabbat. This is a unique opportunity so enjoy it.
If you are not planning on dining in the hotel during the weekend be sure to have reservations to restaurants well ahead of time. We are more than happy to assist and actually send a restaurant list to all our clients well before their arrival time but the concierge at your hotel is also a great help. They know all the good and great restaurants and can assist you with that as well.
If you arrived with us, since your driver or driving guide brought you and will assist you with the departure just as they did with the arrival, this may not be as important. However, dealing with taxis in Israel is interesting. Since Uber isn’t big here, that doesn’t really work. Most hotels have an arrangement with a taxi company and should you approach or call the reception that will be easily handled. For long drives, like airport transfers, you will be charged this way slightly more than you should as money does exchange hands. You may want to consider downloading an app called GETT and adding your credit info unto it. This is very similar to Uber but uses only taxis and is actually a great option.
These are some of the reasons you may want someone else to deal with the hotel bookings and we would be very happy to assist you with it if you wish or with anything else really.
Enjoy your visit ☺