What’s different about BE THE FIRST?

BE THE FIRST is a travel agent that scours the world to bring you the best of the brand new, luxury and boutique hotels that open each year.  Additionally, we also find those elusive, but great value soft-opening deals that no other website specialises in. We bring you access to booking these hard to find, but excellent value for money offers.  By choosing and booking brand new hotels, you can expect photographs of the property and surroundings to be a true reflection of the accommodation and facilities as they are today.

Is BE THE FIRST a flash sales site?

No.  Even though our offers are usually bookable for a limited time (each hotel spends generally up to 3 months on our website), these aren’t ‘flash sales’ but genuine opening offers from new or fully refurbished hotels looking to attract their first guests.

How can I find your soft-opening offers?

These offers are shown by our orange man logo across the corner of the hotel photo and additionally, by signing-up to receive our emails, you can be the first to hear of these great deals, that are usually limited to a few weeks of availability.

Soft-openings are the period when a hotel is open before the grand opening and where they welcome guests at reduced rate during their ‘testing’ period.  In our opinion, as well as offering fantastic deals and access to keenly priced, quality accommodation, the hotels and their new staff are keen and looking to impress their first guests with high standards of service. Some hotels offer free upgrades (depending on availability) and/or resort credits to be used in their dining or bar facilities.  Some include meals in the price – please check for details within the information we display about individual hotels.

Hotel classifications – what are these?

People who regularly stay in hotel accommodation are familiar with the “star” rating given to hotels around the world.  This star rating is between one and five stars (there are a couple of six star hotels in the world) as well as the five star GL (Grand Luxe) version which is regarded as the highest quality.  Please be aware that star ratings correspond to criteria laid down by local regulators and a five star hotel in one country may only make the four star grade in another. BE THE FIRST has chosen to work with mainly five star hotels, however, we also include fabulous four star and boutique hotels as sometimes if a hotel doesn’t have a “business centre” or a swimming pool, that could preclude them from achieving that elusive five star accreditation.  We continually assess the quality of our hotels on a case by case basis and if we feel the property meets the high standards required by BE THE FIRST clients, we will include the hotel in our inventory even if it only attains three (very rare) or four stars.  We clearly state the star rating of each hotel on our website and cannot be held responsible should you feel that the hotel doesn’t live up to its star rating and would encourage you to complain directly to the hotel during your stay.

How frequently will I receive emails if I sign-up for your newsletter?

We will usually send out emails once a week to people who’ve indicated that they are interested to receive our latest new hotel opening offers.  If this is too often, you will have the opportunity to receive an email once a month, or alternatively you can opt out or unsubscribe at any time.  However, if you really want to be the first to hear of our amazing deals, in particular soft-openings, you would have to either receive an email or visit the site regularly to check for updates.

Does the room rate include breakfast or other meals?

If breakfast and/or other meals are included in the stay, this will be clearly displayed where you can select the room/rate type that appeals to you the most.  “All-inclusive deals” and what that entails, will also be clearly displayed.

All-inclusive deals – I was placing a booking for two people, but the room holds a maximum of four.  Does that mean the other two people can stay for free?

When booking an all-inclusive hotel deal, please ensure you double-check both the max room occupancy and whether the hotel is an “adults only” destination.  When booking a hotel room in an all-inclusive resort, ensure you include the TOTAL amount of people who are intending to stay in the room as all-inclusive stays charge per person staying in the room/including meals.  BE THE FIRST cannot be held responsible for any charges levied by the hotel for additional guests, other than those clearly stated in the booking forms on our site which are sent to the hotel directly.  Every guest planning to stay in the hotel room must be listed.

I have to enter my credit/debit card details; when will the payment for the hotel room(s) be taken?

BE THE FIRST will not deduct the payment from your credit card for the hotel room(s) you are booking.

The payment for your hotel stay will be processed by the hotel you have chosen to stay at.  If you have selected a “pre-pay in full” or “non-refundable” room booking, the total price of the reservation may be charged any time after completing your booking, but generally this is at the time of booking or within a couple of days.  

If you select a room that requires your credit/debit card details to be taken to secure the room booking, full payment will only be charged by the hotel either on arrival, during or after your stay (at check-out), unless otherwise stated under that hotel’s ‘policies’ in the ‘terms & conditions’ part of your booking confirmation.  You may be required to pay for your stay via your credit/debit card in the local currency of the country where the hotel is located, but generally you will be given a choice as to whether you pay in local currency or pound sterling.

A booking request can only be processed where you have provided us with payment authority (credit/debit card details) and it has been accepted as a firm booking.  Please ensure you carefully check all booking details before you submit your booking.  We accept no liability for any errors you make.

Are my credit/debit card details safe?

BE THE FIRST ensures a secure connection for your booking.  Your personal data and credit/debit card details are encrypted and our secure server uses SSL technology (Secure Socket Layer).  Our SSL certificate has been issued by Thawte.

Which credit/debit cards do you accept?

We currently accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Maestro – but hotels vary in the cards they accept so please check before filling out the booking form.  If you chose to pay by American Express there is an additional charge to cover the card processing fee which is currently 2%.  We can accept European debit cards with a Visa logo.

When will the booking fee be deducted from my credit/debit card and is it refundable should I choose to cancel my hotel room stay at a later date?

BE THE FIRST do not deduct a fixed booking fee payment from your credit/debit card for any online bookings.  

Why do some hotels request full, up-front payment?

Terms and conditions for each hotel do vary and we will make you are aware of these prior to you accepting the booking terms. Full payment is usually required for our best deals due to the short time between booking and taking the holiday or the fact that the hotel are offering a great opening offer/deal that they require full payment as a condition of this particular offer.

Do any of the hotels bookable via your website require a deposit payment in advance to secure the booking?

Most of the hotels on BE THE FIRST do not require an advance deposit payment, they tend to require payment in full, or a credit or debit card as a guarantee, however, should a hotel stipulate a deposit to secure the room, this will be clearly stated on the booking form for that particular property.

Do I need to have the same credit/debit card I used to make the booking reservation with BE THE FIRST with me once I check-in to the hotel?

No.  However, the hotel will require a valid photo ID and any valid credit/debit card in order to check you into the hotel but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the one you used to place your booking with BE THE FIRST.

Does my booking include VAT and additional rates?

Your booking may include VAT where stated and depending on the country where the hotel is located.  A small number of hotels charge a local tax or City tax (US hotels in particular) and some charge a resort or facilities fee that is payable upon check-out. Where possible, we are as clear as we can be regarding which taxes are included in the price and which may be payable at the hotel.  Generally, we show the room price including taxes so there are no big surprises on the booking page or at the hotel.

Can I make any special requests at the time of booking?

Yes, there is a box on your booking form where you can write requests such as requesting an early check-in or late check-out (a separate payment may be request for this service by the hotel although a lot of hotels are happy to waiver charges for an hour or two; longer than that and special arrangements will have to be taken and potentially paid for). Hotels will usually do their best to honour these requests, but certain requests will depend on availability.

Can I let the hotel know what time I will be arriving?

Yes, under our “special requests” box, there is a field to indicate approximately what time you will arrive.  Don’t forget if you get severely delayed en route to call the hotel and inform them that you will be much later than the stated time, especially if you won’t reach the hotel until after midnight on the first day of your booking.  The hotel’s ‘phone number is listed on your booking confirmation documents.

Can I book several rooms for larger groups of people?

Currently, we are restricted to booking a maximum of three rooms per booking (although at some hotels the number may be fewer (Hilton Hotels typically only allow one room per booking) and of course booking several rooms will depend on availability). We welcome group bookings by contacting us on the following email address:  office@bethefirst.com  please supply us with the number of rooms/people you are looking to book, the hotel name and dates and someone will respond to your request as soon as possible.  If your request is urgent ie you wish to travel within two weeks from the date of your email, please mark your email as “urgent group booking”.

What is the difference between a non-refundable booking and a free cancellation?

Each hotel has a difference cancellation policy that can be viewed in their terms and conditions prior to booking.  Please check these carefully before booking so you are clear as to whether a cancellation fee will be incurred should you decide to cancel or make changes to your booking.  Some hotels offer a free cancellation service, which means you can cancel your booking free of fees if done so within the time period set by the hotel.  Again, this is written up within the hotels terms and conditions and usually stated as:  “Can cancel up to x days prior to booking” or “cancel before hh:mm on dd/mm to incur no charges”.

If I cancel, will there be any fees to pay?

BE THE FIRST will not charge any cancellation fees, however, depending on the terms and conditions at the hotel you have chosen, there may be cancellation fees charged.  You can review the hotel’s cancellation policy before you complete your booking.

What happens if I make a booking then don’t arrive at the hotel on the stipulated date?

If you get delayed on route to the hotel, we advise you try and contact the hotel (by telephone which is listed on your booking documents) and advise them of your delay and expected new arrival date/time.  If you are what is called in the industry a “no-show” in that you do not cancel your stay within the cancellation period stipulated in your booking, you would incur the charge stated in the booking conditions relevant to your booking with that particular hotel.  A non-refundable booking is exactly that, you will not receive a refund if you don’t arrive at the hotel for your planned stay.  We always advise our customers to take out fully comprehensive travel insurance to cover unforeseen circumstances that would prevent you travelling to your hotel.

How is my reservation with BE THE FIRST confirmed?

Once you have completed the booking process a confirmation page appears.  This page will show the reservation details and will include your booking confirmation number.   (Should you need to cancel your booking you will need to quote your surname/family name and booking confirmation number.)  We will also send you the confirmation details via an email and attached to that confirmation email are the booking details/cancellation policy and a separate page showing the hotel’s address/phone number and a local map and the hotel’s terms and conditions under which you made your booking.

Can I change or cancel my booking via BE THE FIRST?

You cannot make changes to your booking if those changes are to dates/additional guests/more rooms and we encourage you to contact us or cancel your booking via the confirmation of booking email you received when you placed the booking.  Please remember to check the hotel’s cancellation policy before making any changes to your booking (cancellation) though, as you may have selected a “non-refundable” rate, in which case you may cancel, however, you will NOT RECEIVE A REFUND.

Placing a booking with BE THE FIRST.

By choosing to book with BE THE FIRST and selecting:  “Book my holiday!” on the check-out page you are agreeing to BE THE FIRST’s T&Cs as well as the hotel’s booking terms.

How will I know if my booking has been changed or cancelled?

Once you have cancelled your hotel booking via the “cancellation” link within your booking confirmation email with BE THE FIRST, you will receive an automatic email confirming those changes.  If you don’t receive an email, please contact us.

Do I need to take out holiday insurance?

We consider adequate travel insurance to be essential. Please ensure that you have a valid travel insurance policy for the countries you will be travelling to or through. It is essential that all members of the party are covered by the policy (in case of families) or have their own policy.  You must ensure you read all conditions and information applicable to any policy you purchase and BE THE FIRST cannot be held liable for any insurance policy selected and paid for by you that does not fully cover any expenses paid out should you cancel your booking.

Please read your policy details carefully and take them with you on holiday. It is your responsibility to ensure that the insurance cover you purchase is suitable and adequate for your particular needs. We do not check individual insurance policies.

End Supplier Failure Cover – what is this?

In the very rare circumstances the hotel cancels your booking, they will contact you directly via the email address you used to place your booking, with an explanation as to why they have done so.  Including End Supplier Failure Cover in your comprehensive travel insurance will usually cover this eventuality when a hotel, for example, may be declared bankrupt and need to close with very short notice.  This doesn’t happen often, but isn’t unheard of in the industry.

What should I do if I have a complaint about the hotel whilst I am there, or after I return home?  

Please complain directly to the hotel as your contract is with them.  However, please also let us know about your specific complaint by emailing us at: office@BeTheFirst.com as your feedback and complaint are important to us and may reflect our future choices of hotels based on your criticism and whether that particular hotel remains on our website.  We take your custom with BE THE FIRST seriously and of course, we want you to remain as a customer of our luxury hotel openings for years to come.