Top 3 Advantages of Booking Directly with a Hotel
There’s a prevailing assumption among travelers that they can get the best hotel deals if they make their booking with an OTA, third-party agency, (such as Hotels.com or Expedia) whether online or offline. However, according to New York Times travel columnist Stephanie Rosenbloom wrote in one of her articles that so far, she got the best deals when she booked directly with hotels.
Booking with travel agencies does have its own benefits, primarily the convenience it offers when comparing hotel rates side-by-side and having numerous options all at once. However, booking a hotel directly has three perks that not a lot of travelers know about.
Benefit #1: Booking Directly Saves You Money
If you’re raising an eyebrow in doubt right now, you’re not alone. In the past, the published rates of hotels are higher compared to the rates offered by travel agencies. However, hotel chains and hotel owners recently recognized that they can make more money if they encourage direct booking by matching or even offering lower rates compared to travel agencies. For example, Starwood Hotels and Resorts – the giant hotel franchise that own St. Regis and Westin – offers a “best rate guarantee” to those who will book directly with them. Four Seasons on the other hand does not offer a best rate guarantee, but offers great discounts to those who will like or share their social media pages. Most hotel chains offer a “Best Rate Guarantee”, so book with confidence.
Benefit #2: Booking Directly Gives You More Personalized Rooms
Not all travelers are the same. We all have our specific needs and preferences. When you book with a travel agency, there’s no way that they can accommodate your special requests because they are basically just acting as “vendors” of hotel rooms and they work with whatever rooms are available. When you book directly, you can speak directly with hotel staff and at times, even have access to members of the hotel management team to make your special requests.
Benefit #3: Booking Directly Gives You More Flexibility
If you book all your travel needs with an agency (flight, hotel, etc.), it’s a great convenience to make just a single phone call when your travel plans change. The downside with this is that travel agencies often impose hefty penalties and cancellation fees. For example, booking a room at the Four Seasons via Travelocity.com can save you around $20, but you’re required to make the purchase in advance and it’s non-refundable. If you book the same room directly with Four Seasons, you’ll pay $20 more but you don’t have to make a deposit and you can change your booking or even cancel without penalty up until your check-in date.
Again, this is not to discredit travel agencies because booking with them definitely has its advantages. Rather, this is to shine the spotlight on the benefits of direct hotel bookings that most travelers are not aware of. Help hoteliers by booking direct.
(Article written by Rupesh Patel)