5 Benefits of Booking Directly with Hotel
Just a quick tip – booking directly with a hotel rather than through an online travel agency (OTA) is always the better option. The benefits that come with booking through the hotel website far outweigh any “savings” you think you may be getting when booking with any online travel agency.
Below are 5 reasons WHY you should book directly with the Hotel.
1. Better Deals
While most people think they’re getting an amazing deal on a hotel with an OTA (booking.com, Agoda, Expedia or etc.), these sites are actually not “discount sites.” Rate parity agreements between hotels and OTAs dictate that the price shown for a specific room must be the same no matter where it is sold – whether it is sold on Hilton.com or Agoda.
So how does booking direct with hotels get you better deals? The answer lies with loyalty rates. Many hotel brands offer discounted rates to members of their loyalty programs. These lower rates are allowed to bypass the price parity agreements because they are sold to “close user groups.” This simply means you have to be a member of the loyalty program to receive these deals. Nothing to be alarmed, these programs are 100% free to join and they don’t obligate you to spend any money before you can take advantage of these lower rates.
2. No “Missing” Reservations
One of the most common complaints we hear from people when they book with OTAs is that they are unable to find their reservation once they arrive at the hotel. This can be absolutely infuriating and ruin one’s mood!
However, this is not uncommon for travellers who book their reservations through third-party sites – booking.com, Agoda or etc. By booking through a third-party site, you’re a customer of the OTA, instead of the hotel. Sometimes, everything may go smoothly and the OTA passes over all your information to the hotel to further process your booking. But what if something gets lost halfway? It is definitely sure to happen and it can really be a hassle.
Avoid taking this unnecessary risk by booking your stay directly on the hotel’s own website. Not only will you be sharing your personal information and credit card details with the hotel alone (and not any other third-party site), you’ll also be sure your reservation won’t go “missing”.
3. Flexible Terms & Conditions/Cancellations
Most of us have experienced bumps in our travel itineraries that may have resulted in delayed or even canceled trips. By booking through an OTA, you can be sure to forget about getting a refund for any un-stayed nights. Most of these third-party booking sites have a strict no-refund policy, and they won’t let you cancel or even modify your reservation if needed.
When booking directly with the hotel, you’ll be sure to receive more flexibility and leniency. Delays and cancellations do happen, and hotels are well aware of that. By booking directly on the hotel’s website, you will not have to go through the hassle of dealing with hard-to-reach OTA customer services, and you’ll be able to reschedule or cancel your reservation quicker if you have a canceled flight or something urgent came up. Even if you are unable to get the stay refunded, you’ll still have better leverage to negotiate trading in the canceled room for a future stay.
4. Ability to make Special Requests
By booking via the hotel’s website, you have the opportunity to make special room requests when you book or once you arrive. Hotel room allocations and special requests are prioritised for those who book directly. Prefer a room further away from the elevator or on a higher floor? Need to ensure your room is equipped with a mini fridge? Just ask the hotel. Working directly with the hotel gives you the flexibility to ask for these type of requests and there’s also a greater likelihood they’ll accommodate you.
Another perk of booking directly with the hotel is that you can opt for additional services that go beyond free breakfast. Hotels now are getting more selective with their WiFi services. Some hotels will only grant free WiFi to guests who have booked direct from their website, while those who book through OTAs will have to pay a small fee. Therefore, for more perks, book direct!
5. Loyalty and Rewards Program
Want to enjoy even better customer service? Join the hotel’s loyalty and rewards program. Hotels adore their loyalty members and they’ll be sure to let you know it. Upon check-in, many hotels will offer their privileged guests free food and beverage. With joining these loyalty programs, you’ll also be eligible for free room upgrades (if the hotel isn’t fully booked). Some hotels have even designed specific lounge areas for their privileged guests with unlimited beverages and snacks. What a way to attract those to join their loyalty and rewards program!
In addition to that, hotels offer loyalty bonuses and other additional incentives for bookings made via the hotel’s website. With each stay, guests are able to collect points and redeem them for free stays on future trips. And as mentioned earlier, privileged members gain access to the lowest hotel rates on the market. Knowing this, hurry and sign up for a loyalty and rewards program at your favourite hotel the next time you book with them! That way you’ll be sure to get the best rates.