Is it always cheaper to book online with major traveling websites such as Booking.com or Expedia?
The answer is a surprising, NO, most of the time it is not.
We live in an era where many industries are going through a transition from physical store to online platform. Tapping into the global advantages of the internet and eliminating the needs for store rent, reduced staff expense, it makes a lot of sense for business owners to lower their service cost and price of goods to promote their online store. After all, they will most likely make back the difference in larger sale volumes and lower overhead costs.
In the accomodation industry, the major Online Traveling Agents (thereafter OTAs) have invested a large tremendous amount into advertisements and marketing and it seems like they are the most ideal place to make reservations online. However, contrary to other businesses, motel owners have to pay a hefty commissions for every booking that is obtained through OTA. With a fraction of the margins lost to agents, there leaves little incentives to offer discounted price to paying guests for online OTA reservations.
Let me share with you the secret of booking the ideal room for the best price:
OTAs such as Booking.com & Trivago offers immense benefit in it’s reviews and collection of photos. Search for your ideal hotel/motel via the OTA search engines and find the most suitable unit for your travel configuration. Picking an accomodation with a review rating of at least 8 will most likely guarantee you an ideal accomodation.
After picking the dates and the unit, copy paste the “name of the hotel” and search for this accomodation via Google, what we are looking for is the offical website of the accomodation and their telephone contact details.
Next, give the hotel a call, make mentioning you have seen this particular unit on the OTA platform and whether they can give you a discount if you book direct with them. The result will usually saving you from 2% ~ 8% for the stay! Why? The business owners would happily discount your room and also make more profit by eliminating the need of the middle man-the OTAs.
Additional benefits for booking direct also include the option to inquire for special preferences such as “can you arrange the quietest room in the corner?”. Also if there is changes in your itinerary, it will be much easier to amend it directly with the owner.
Thanks for reading, and hopefully this tip will help save you some hard earned cash next time you travel!