While it’s true that online travel agencies make it so easy for us to book hotels and compare against thousands of lodging accommodations with different prices, amenities and offerings, the truth is that there are far more benefits in booking rooms directly to a hotel rather than thru a third-party travel agency.
In this article, we’ll list down the top five reasons why guests should opt to book direct with hotels rather than thru a third-party website or agent:
- You’ll most likely be guaranteed the lowest available rate
Online Travel Agencies are traditionally known to yield their rates too often that users are seldom guaranteed to be able to avail of the same rate regardless of similarity in booking time and preference in room type. However, booking directly with a hotel almost always assures guests that the hotel will offer the best available room rate to guests. You can also be sure that the hotel will offer you the latest promos and discounts available!
- It will be easier (and cheaper) to change your booking, just in case
It happens to the best of us – delayed flights, canceled trips, last-minute changes in plans. To ensure that you don’t have a hard time changing plans, making booking revisions or any last-minute changes in schedule of arrival – book direct. Changing plans will only be a call or email away to the hotel’s reservations agent, versus having to go through a third-party agency, waiting a few hours until they’ve touched base with the hotel agent for a confirmation on your requested change in booking.
- You may be able to avail of benefits or loyalty points
Nowadays, hotels are learning to reward their clients for booking directly. Many hotels even offer discounts upon return if you book direct instead of thru a third-party agency. Avail of these special discounts, promos and loyalty points simply by emailing/calling or visiting the hotel’s website. Or if you have a particular sales agent that you like, you may be able to call them directly at any time of the day!
- You’ll be able to directly request for specific room assignments
Booking through a third-party online agency has made booking a hotel room less and less personal in that you’re left to simply choose a room type, your date of stay, and input your time of arrival. This leaves very little room for upgrade requests or even simple requests of getting a room closest to the elevator or the stairs. Although online travel agency websites usually leave a little box for individual guest requests, more often than not, these requests are overlooked and given less priority by hotels compared to guest requirements and desires that are personally communicated directly to a reservations staff.
- You may be able to take advantage of special deals and/or credit card bonuses
Hotels offer a variety of promotions and discounts depending on seasonality. These promotions are simply not published on online travel agencies due to the increased margins of these websites against hotel providers. For this reason, guests booking through these third-party sites miss out on great bundles and promotions such as rooms with free beverage or food credits and other promotions tied in with special discounts in the hotel’s other partner establishments. Just as well, booking directly with your credit card may have its different perks especially if the hotel has several partnerships with different banks. Don’t miss out on these promotions by booking direct with the hotel.
All in all, yes, it may be more convenient to book thru online travel agents who can show you a variety of hotels that fit within your budget and allow you to compare across different hotels on a single page. However, these online travel agents should be utilized simply to compare options and prices. Bookings should be made directly to the hotel provider.
Booking directly with the hotel allows greater leeway for changes in plans and gives the guest a better opportunity to avail of the best promotions and packages direct from the hotel. At the same time, guests can be assured that they are being offered the best available rate and may be offered future discounts for their next visit!