The majority of hotel and B&B bookings are now made online, with most coming via the online travel agencies (OTA’s). Booking this way is quick and easy and with a seemingly large number of competing OTA’s, such as Booking.com, Expedia, Trivago, Kayak, Agoda, Hotels.com etc. you’d be forgiven for thinking that all this competition ensures you have access to the best deals.
But think again.
Virtually all of the OTA’s belong to either Booking Holdings (parent company of Booking.com) or Expedia. These two monster companies dominate the market and through pressure-selling techniques such as their “only 1 room left on this site”, “nearly sold out” and “5 people are currently looking at this room” messaging, customers are often given an inaccurate impression of a hotel or B&B’s real room availability.
Whilst the OTA’s offer the convenience of price comparison, and the option to compare facilities and review guest feedback, they charge high commissions; so the vast amount of accommodation providers, including us, reserve their best rates for people who BOOK DIRECT
Whilst price is one advantage of booking direct, there are others too:
Why Book Direct?
- BEST PRICES Hotels and B&B’s have to pay commissions to the OTA’s for any bookings made via their sites, so if you book direct, this commission can be offered as a discount directly to you.
- THE OTA PRICES MAY BE MISLEADING As this Moneysavingexpert article explains, the prices shown may not be total costs
- REQUESTS & LOCAL INFORMATION You can discuss any requirements or room preferences directly with the accommodation provider upon booking; B&B owners are a wealth of information and are only too happy to share route advice and recommendations for local activities, events or restaurants, etc.
- FLEXIBILITY OTA’s can charge administration or cancellation fees for any changed or cancelled bookings which the accommodation owner can’t amend. Booking direct removes any such third party involvement hampering the business owners’s ability to be flexible in such a situation.
- SUPPORT INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES By booking directly you are supporting an independent business who in turn spends their money locally supporting other independent businesses.
This article by Mary Wakefield in The Spectator is worth a read