When you’re traveling, you may be caught between booking directly to the hotel or through a third-party site. For budget-conscious travelers, getting a cheap hotel in the U.S. can mean a lot.
Let’s get started:
It is cheaper to book hotels directly under the following events:
Loyalty and Reward Points
When you book in a hotel directly, you can use your reward points for a free stay. This is not the case when you book in third-party sites.
You can only use your points if you book on a credit card portal like the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Use your points directly in hotels.
Booking directly with hotels provides you with guaranteed loyalty points. On the other hand, if you book a third-party site, you cannot earn reward points even if you paid cash.
Reward points are very different from miles. Airline frequent flier program allows you to earn points in each flight. Popular third-party sites like Expedia and Hotels.com have their own reward system to allow guests to earn free stays.
If you are an exclusive member of hotels, you can get advantage of their member-only special rates that are more affordable than the regular room rates. One example of this is the IHG Rewards Club where you can get cheaper room rates than those who aren’t members.
If you want to enjoy extra privileges, join the hotel’s loyalty program. You can take advantage of their free food, drinks or snacks upon check-in or a free room upgrade if it’s available.
Sometimes, you can only find the upgraded rooms and amenities when you book with hotels. It is also the same with special requests.
If you want a room overlooking the beach or choosing a room with a King-size bed is easier when you book directly. If you book with third-party sites, you are most likely to find “ice machine rooms.”
Your special requests can be granted easily when you book with a hotel. They are more likely to fulfill these requests without extra payment.
Terms and Conditions
Sometimes, when we travel, we can’t avoid some problems along the way. When you book with a third-party online travel agency (OTA) and you need to make modifications or cancellations, you can’t do anything because they usually come with no cancellations and modifications.
Unlike when you book directly with hotels, you can cancel your reservations for free. They can accommodate your issues with more flexibility and understanding.
It is easier to deal with customer service since you are communicating with them directly. In the case of OTA, they discourage cancellations or modifications because they have to go through the long process.
If you think that you’re getting super low room rates on OTA because of the ads, it’s not. Those sites are not discount sites.
There is a term called Rate Parity Agreements between hotels and the OTAs. It covers the strict rule that the base of their rooms remains the same for both.
If they have the same base rate then you may ask how you can get the best room rate when booking with a hotel. If you are a member of a loyalty program, you can get discounts because you are a member unlike when you’re not.
If you travel frequently, join a loyalty program to earn points and get discounts. This way, you can lower down your travel expense.
Major hotels can give you the best rate guaranteed. If in case you found a hotel on OTA that is lower than the room rate in the hotel, you can present it to them.
When you book directly with hotels, you are not going to encounter scenarios like losing your reservations. Sometimes, when you book on third-party sites, your reservations could be lost. It’s a hassle for you when you want to rest after a long-haul flight.
There are instances when you can find cheaper hotel deals on OTAs. It includes last-minute bookings, non-cancelable reservations, travel packages, and mystery deals.
Keep in mind that there are no hard rules when booking directly with hotels and third-party sites. But this guide can help you weigh things to know where you can save more.