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Lodging reservation process in Europe?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I've just reserved a room at a bed and breakfast in st. Anton and i'm wondering what the standard practices are to pay for it.  They sent ma a Bank Address and account number and are looking for a pretty hefty deposit.  I assume  I will have to wire the money from my bank...Is this the way its typically done?
post #2 of 6
I only have two ski season lodging experiences in Europe.  I did a wire with quite a bit up front for the furnished apartment I rented for 9 months in Bourg St. Maurice, but most of the (non-ski) places I have stayed in Europe, I just paid by cc- my guess is that it varies from place to place.

FWIW, I found I got a better exchange rate when I had Charles Schwab convert into Euros before wiring rather than letting the end user bank do the conversion.
post #3 of 6
 I was lucky to find a place without any deposit. Paying in cash on the last evening for everything - nights, final cleaning and bread.
post #4 of 6
Wire transfers are the normal method of payment for a great number of things in Europe. We do not have checks anymore; instead we wire money directly to people's accounts. This is a great, easy, and cheap system, but only if you are European. For Americans, it's infuriating and expensive.

For ski lodging in particular, some owner-operated smaller places will accept cash on arrival. But in my experience most, especially in Austria and Switzerland, require half the total to paid as a deposit via the above-mentioned wire transfer. In Switzerland, I've also always received a contract that had to be signed and returned by fax. In France I've found credit cards to be favored over wire transfers.

What does this mean for you? If this particular lodging has catered to a lot of Americans in the past, they may be aware that it is not easy for you to simply wire the money to their account. They may be willing to accommodate you somehow. Or not. Especially if it is an independently run place, I'd just ask them and make it clear what sort of transaction fees are involved.
post #5 of 6
1) It's pretty normal in Europe to expect the client to wire deposit. And it's no longer an expensive propersition even for Americans. Check with your banks. Still, annoying nonetheless. There is, understandably, slightly higher risk compare to giving out a credit card number.

2) Even some American B&B prefer to be paid in cash to save whatever transaction cost. Often time, they would take your credit card # as a "security" but without actually charging it. You pay cash at checkout. It's worth asking European lodging if they can do that.
post #6 of 6

It would also be worth pointing out to the hotelier that to receive a wire transfer from the USA, they will also have to pay a transaction cost to their bank.


We racked up $70 in fees this summer (later refunded) in an unsuccessful attempt to wire money from Germany to the US. A lot of people who request wire transfers do not necessarily understand that they are not free when international borders are involved.

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