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Top 10 Tips for finding your Dream Holiday in Phuket. Tip #2 Use Hotel Booking Sites to establish a base price.

After you have engaged in the services of Tripadvisor to help narrow down your search for that dream holiday in Phuket, my second tip is:

#Tip 2: Use Hotel Booking sites to establish a base price for your shortlisted hotels.

Hotel booking Sites such as Agoda, Booking.com and Expedia all make this task remarkably easy so take advantage. They all have very intuitive user interfaces and are great for filtering results, based on location, hotel star rating, budget, and hotel theme???? (Yes, you can even search for hotels based upon the type of holiday you are looking for in Phuket whether that be romance/honeymoonspa/relaxfamilycity trip).

They also incorporate great mapping functionality that helps you really visualise the location and weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each hotel on your shortlist (such as great price, but 3 blocks from the beach). At every step of the way you can easily compare the room rates of your potential hotels and as the top Hotel Booking sites generally offer competitive rates, they provide a useful guideline as you begin to narrow down your search in term of budget.

If you like the look of a particular hotel, but it is proving just out of your budget range, don’t fret and strike it off your list. By using hotel booking sites to establish this base price for the hotels on your list, you now have a good idea of the price you have got to beat in order to book that dream holiday. That’s right, use these services to establish the price to beat then use the tips in my following blog posts to hunt down those special offers and promotions that are going to bring that dream holiday within reach.

Karon Beach Hotels on Expedia
Karon Beach Hotels on Expedia

Before we do that however, these sites really try to help you make that all important decision by reflecting the true state of the market place so use them to their full capability. Booking.com has a great feature where you can see what other customers are ‘also interested in’, which hotels have been ‘recently booked and when’ and ‘which hotels are rated highest’ by real customers.

Real Time Information about Thavorn Palm Beach Resort on booking.com

Real Time Information about Thavorn Palm Beach Resort on booking.com

It also has the ability to ‘like’ and ‘share’ a hotel or particular location, on Facebook, Twitter or by email, which in turn shows you how many of your friends have ‘liked’ or ‘shared’ that hotel or location. I would like to see the top sites integrating with Facebook Connect in the future, which I am sure would produce some highly innovative and useful additions to the site.

To help save you some time as you compare the prices of your selected hotels, I have provided some links below to popular phuket searches on some of the top Hotel Booking sites.

Agoda – Phuket
Agoda – Karon Beach.
Agoda Thavorn Palm Beach Resort
Expedia – Phuket
Expedia – Karon Beach
Expedia – Thavorn Palm Beach Resort
Booking.com – Phuket
Booking.com – Karon Beach Resort
Booking.com – Thavorn Palm Beach Resort

As I have stated throughout this article, when you have used the Hotel Booking sites to establish a base price for the hotels on your short list, shop around on the hotels’ own website or Facebook & Twitter Pages to try and find yourself a real bargain that might bring that resort that was previously out of reach, back into budget. Although the rates on Hotel Booking sites are usually competitive, alot of hotels’ reward customers who book through their own website and some have Facebook only deals.

For example, our Friends of Thavorn promotion is open to everyone who registers with their email address and offers exclusive, great room rates as well as the chance to ‘WIN a luxury holiday in Phuket’.

More about how Social Media helps you to really hone down your search for the dream holiday in Phuket in my next tip.

Cheers

Roger

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Top Tips for Wading through TripAdvisor

You may have mixed feelings over the tropical Island of Phuket, with tales of touristy, overcrowed resorts yet sublimely, stunningly beautiful, deserted white sand beaches clouding the issue.

Heaven or Hell ?

Heaven or Hell ?

These types of feeling are not only isolated to Phuket, far from it, and before you book a holiday to any travel destination, you will more than likely begin dissecting thousands of TripAdvisor reviews, wading knee deep through other people’s, holiday joys and woes.

Wading through Tripadvisor Reviews

Wading through Tripadvisor Reviews

If this sounds like alot of hard work, that’s because IT CAN BE!!! While you are chained to your desktop, America’s Next … Reality Fad will be going on without you. It doesn’t need to be like this however and because you have decided to read these tips first, it will make the job a little easier, more fruitful and ultimately less time consuming for you.

1. Do your Friend’s opinions count?

I’m guessing they do. In fact over 78% of people are influenced by the opinions of their family and friends (Erik Qualman @equalman author of Socialnomics). To tap into this, TripAdvisor has added a great new addition where you can Connect with your Facebook account. This allows you to see your friends’ recent travel activity and also view their favourite travel destinations. I can see that many of my facebook friends have visited Koh Phi Phi, so I click on the link and it takes me straight to the page. It also shows me which hotels my friends have written a review for and as I trust BIG LEE’s judgement, this is likely to hold alot of weight.

Tripadvisor with Facebook Connect

My friends social activity through Tripadvisor with Facebook Connect

2. Safety in Numbers!

Before you dive headlong into individual reviews, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. TripAdvisor Ranks each hotel and resort in a particular destination based on it’s customer reviews, so you can see which hotels have consistently received Top Ranking ‘positive’ reviews.

Phuket Map - Numbers indicate Tripadvisor Ranking for each resort/hotel

Phuket Map - Numbers indicate Tripadvisor Ranking for each resort/hotel

3. Save valuable time by narrowing down your search

If you know you are only interested in a family beach resort with pool and activities for kids, then tick the boxes under ‘Amenity Type’ for ‘beach’ ‘pool’ and ‘kids activities’. TripAdvisor will filter out the unsuitable properties thus saving you valuable time in the process. In fact, I have done it for you here, saving you even more time.

4. Look for common trends in reviews.

Look for common trends across a number of reviews rather than hold a single review in too much esteem. We all know people who see the world through Rose Coloured Glasses and we also know people for whom nothing is ever good enough. There could have been an isolated problem at a resort or the guest could have had a bad holiday for other reasons (like they just found out they can’t stand their partner).

5. Look at how hotels deal with negative reviews.

TripAdvisor gives hoteliers the opportunity to respond to reviews. There could have been a good reason why the pool was sub-standard, but if the hotel doesn’t address this then it looks like they either don’t care or they agree with the reviewer.

Luxurious Freeform pool with Swim up Bar

Luxurious Freeform pool with Swim up Bar

6. Scrutinise the source of troublesome reviews

If a particular review is putting doubts in your mind about your desired resort then scrutinise the credibility of the source by checking the reviewers profile. See what other reviews they have posted and if they are the kind of person for who you would happily follow their advice. Remember, you’re idea of the perfect holiday might not be the same as your grandparents.

Are these your kind of people? (Actually, Yes)

This Party Rocks !!!

7. Deal and Offer Coupons

You can take advantage of some great discount coupons on TripAdvisor by clicking the Deal and Offers Tab. Remember to always check other sources as well, such as hotel booking websites, Facebook pages, Twitter and hotel websites as these coupons might not be the best deals you can find on the web.

8. Member Profile Area

TripAdvisor has the handy feature where you can save all your research into your own member profile area which includes your recent travel searches and any hotels you may have added to your shortlist.

My Member Profile on Tripadvisor

My Member Profile on Tripadvisor

Here are a few Tripadvisor searches on Phuket to get you started.

Visiting Phuket, Thailand
Karon Hotels
Thavorn Palm Beach Resort
Inside Phuket: Written by travelers for travelers

9. Ask the Tripadvisor Community

If you have any burning questions then the Tripadvisor forums are a great place to look for answers. Again, to get you started, I have listed some useful searches.

Tripadvisor Forum – Phuket
Tripadvisor Forum – Karon Beach
Tripadvisor Forum – Thavorn Hotels and Resorts

10. Don’t get distracted.

Remember, you do have a life outside of TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor can become entertainment in itself, especially when you uncover reviews like this.

“I spent the night in the (hotel) room and experienced a friendly spirit. This presence got into bed with me, an old lady, she was nice and I just patted her on the head and we had a comfortable restful sleep. I think I will ask for a different room next time.”

but you must resist the urge and use it for it’s intended purpose, to help you find your dream holiday destination

If you would like any insider tips on Phuket then please leave me a comment or contact me at any time via my Facebook and Twitter pages below.

Cheers

Roger

Coming soon …

Currently away collecting my thoughts and busy in my role at Thavorn Hotels and Resorts (THR) Phuket, Thailand.

will be with you all shortly

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