Making a Reservation Hotel Direct vs Online Travel Agent (Third-Party)
You will not necessarily get the best deal by booking your hotel room through a third-party online travel agent, i.e. Expedia, Booking.com etc. Here are 5 reasons to book directly with the hotel:
1 – Lower Prices: Most hotels have a lowest price guarantee and are willing to match or even beat third-party sites. The reason is simple; they would rather get the money directly from you than pay out a third-party commission.
2- Better Service/Compensation: If you book and pay with a third-parry site, they’re the ones you will need to ask and deal with for a refund or change in details of the reservation. If you book directly with the hotel, you deal directly with the hotel should there be any reason for compensation. Most hotels want to make a situation right for you and often this is done by some type of monetary compensation. If you booked through a third-party site, this cannot happen because the hotel did not collect the funds from you in the first place. So if your complaint is egregious enough, you do not want to prevent them from being able to do that for you.
3- More Flexibility: Booking through third-party means sacrificing your ability to change your plans. Your dates are set by contract and that’s that. If you book directly with the hotel, you have from 24 hours up to 6:00pm of the day of arrival to cancel without penalty in the majority of cases. You also have the ability to change plans during your stay.
4- Room Type Options: Some third-party sites offer you a discount but do not let you choose a room type. This usually means you will get the most standard room the hotel has, likely to be a room with 1 bed. You usually will not ever be offered a free upgrade.
5- Loyalty Programs: Hotel brand loyalty programs usually do not offer loyalty points for stays booked through a third-party site. This is partially due to the already high commission rate paid for the booking and the plan fact that brands want to reward those who are brand loyal.
As the guest, of course, the choice is up to you on how you book your room and there are many choices out there which can sometimes cause confusion. Hopefully this article helps clear up some of the mysteries behind this process. Just remember, you can and should always call the hotel directly to make sure you are getting the best price and service. Allow for them to compete for your direct business. What can it hurt? You can always decide to go ahead and book through that third-party if you feel you will get a better deal. Just one more suggestion, always make sure you are calling the actual hotel number. Sometimes the third-party agents sound like they are representing hotel.
The above article is for informational purposes only and gives no guarantees written or implied as to being the same case in every situation. It is up to the consumer to decide what the best means to reserve their room is.