Would you rather pay the online price for a hotel stay or receive an offer with a 10 piece discount and a free glass of prosecco on arrival?
let’s toast to the latter. It sounds like a no-brainer, but each week millions of patrons looking for room nights continue to pay higher rates and miss out on value — despite all manner of advertising to the contrary.
With inflation expected to skyrocket travel and vacation prices this year, it’s worth taking a look at how you’re booking.
Online Travel Agencies (OTAs as they are called) like booking.com, hotels.comTripadvisor and Expedia are extremely useful for searching for places to stay in an area and getting a snapshot of reviews.
Similar to Airbnb, they also offer smaller accommodations a platform to reach potential guests from all over the world.
But they typically charge booking fees of 15-20 percent for hotels and guesthouses, and the rankings returned on your search may be influenced “by commissions paid and other benefits” such as: e.g. whether a hotel has the status of a preferred partner, e.g booking.com Remarks.
Personally, I use these sites to hunt around, but always check in with the hotel before booking.
A direct booking saves him the OTA commission, which leaves room for maneuver in prices and package deals. It also opens up direct communication and a chance for hotels to build a relationship with a potential repeat visitor – something that strengthens your hand for a sweetener.
That 10-piece discount and jar of bubbles I mentioned is offered at the Tulfarris Hotel & Golf Resort in Co Wicklow (it also offers free cancellation and priority room upgrades for direct bookings).
Other examples include the Inch House in Stradbally, Co Laois, which says it offers a 10 piece discount and a bottle of wine for guests who book direct, and the Old Bank B&B in Co Limerick, which guarantees direct prices are €10 are cheaper than the OTA prices.
One resort I reviewed in Florida this week had another huff — “free” breakfast for direct bookings (in the US, breakfast is offered as an extra a little more often than here). It’s a global phenomenon.
Better yet, pick up the phone. A hotel in Carlow recently lowered a price by €20 for two rooms after I simply asked, “Is that the best thing you can do?” If a hotel can’t change the room price, you can in a chat with humans in reservations, too, asking for upgraded rooms, a multiple-night discount, or extras like resort credit, a dinner package, additional cancellation flexibility, and more coming soon.
Of course, direct bookings are not always cheaper. Sometimes OTAs may undercut hotels or offer “price match” services subject to T&Cs. And there’s no doubting the convenience of booking on a major website and saving your preferences.
But direct booking can also send more of your money to local businesses struggling with rising costs, the post-Covid recovery and a workforce crisis.
It is a travel tip that I will repeat again and again.
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/ireland/the-one-travel-tip-ill-keep-repeating-and-it-may-even-get-you-a-glass-of-bubbles-too-41503761.html I will always repeat one travel tip – and maybe it will even bring you a glass of sparkling wine