5 Reasons Not To Book Hotels Using Expedia, Hotels.com or Hotwire

Booking Hotel Rooms Online

The advent of online booking intermediaries has revolutionized the hotel industry. Companies like Expedia, Hotels.com or Hotwire are essential to the success of any hotel because they draw in so much clientele. At a glance, the arrangement between the hotels, customers and intermediaries works quite well. The customer gets to buy a hotel room at a cheaper rate than if they booked directly with the hotel, the intermediary gets to take a certain percentage of the bill while the hotel gets a new way to attract clients and increase their business.

Having worked in the hotel industry, i feel that i need to debunk this myth. The only winner in this case is the intermediary that pockets their percentage. The hotel is forced to accept clientele that is generally not within its target market and online bookings like Expedia leave the hotel open to fraud. The customer does usually get a slight discount on the rate, but not enough to warrant the hassle and horrible customer service that accompanies these intermediaries. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should never book with these intermediaries:

The Expedia Devil
The Expedia Devil

1. There Are Virtually No Cost Savings

You may think that by booking with an intermediary you are saving money, but you are dead wrong. The standard policy in hotels is to keep "rate integrity", meaning that all of its sales points charge roughly the same rate to the end user that actually stays in the hotel. The intermediary will make a killing because the hotel is forced to sell them rooms at a discount (20-50%), while you as the end user will have to cover the difference because the intermediary is making money.

2. Good Luck Changing Your Reservation

If you book with a hotel it is fairly easy to change your reservation. You can call the hotel and most of the time (unless you're past the change/cancellation policy) you can get your reservation sorted. If you book with an intermediary, you can forget all about that. You will need to call their customer service, which is a hit and miss process. Most intermediaries have outsourced their customer service department, meaning that you will have to deal with low paid Third World workers who may have English as their 2nd,,3rd or 4th language. You can still get your reservation changed, but it is guaranteed to be a hassle.

3. Poor Customer Service

As mentioned above in point number 2, most intermediaries have outsourced their customer service departments, meaning that your standard of service is bound to suffer. Their agents are usually low paid, highly educated individuals from the third world that should be working in much more productive jobs but are hampered by local economic conditions. Thus, the lack of motivation and morale makes for a sub-standard customer service experience. From personal experience, it is very common to be shuttled between departments before someone even understands your problem.

4. You Will Get The Worst Rooms In The Hotel

Hotels assign their rooms on the basis of rate, meaning that the more you pay, the better of a room you will get. If you booked with an intermediary, your room will be assigned last, usually to a low or un-renovated floor. In addition, when hotels need to balance their inventory, they provide complimentary upgrades to certain reservations, which are also determined on the basis of what rate you have paid. The worst thing about the situation is that you are actually paying almost the same rate as most other people, as the intermediary pockets the difference between what they pay the hotel and charge you. However,in the hotels eye's, your rate is equal to the intermediary's discount rate, no how much you actually forked out.

5. No Perks At Hotels

To close on the last point, you will most often not get any of the perks that are included in a stay at a hotel. Priority is given to guests that pay a higher rate, and perks that are in limited supply (concierge service, transport to/from airport, room upgrades, access to business centers) may not be extended to guests paying through an online intermediary. It doesn't sound very fair, but if a hotel has a limited supply of such services, they will prioritize them according to rate, and as the hotel only gets 50-70% of what you paid, you will be far down the priority line.

Book With A Hotel

To summarize, you are best off booking directly with a hotel. Alternatively, you can also book with a travel agent, but you are best off doing your own hotel bookings. You will not find as good of a deal as you would if you booked directly with a hotel, because they usually offer a multitude of packages/services, something that no intermediary can match.

Comments 47 comments

Indigital 5 years ago

Would you say this goes for all internet-holiday/travel-booking websites, or just Expedia?


nomenklatura profile image

nomenklatura 5 years ago Author

I would say that this goes for all websites, but Expedia is just the most common one that we saw at the hotel that i worked at. Their basic business model is to pray on the ignorance of the consumer and arbitrage the price difference. But i will be the first one to say that my view of such services is biased because I've had to clean up their mess.


hotelGMtenyears 5 years ago

I couldn't agree more with this. As someone who has worked for a very well known brand Hotel, I feel confident saying that guests who use third parties to book hotels ALWAYS get a bad deal, and most don't even realize it (this applies to ANY third party such as Hotwire, Expedia, Orbitz, etc.). 

Let's say you and a friend book a room with Hotwire. You might have the option of giving your room preference, you say how many adults it will be, and so on. 

When I get that reservation, it is accompanied with a fax confirmation of your booking. I am not shown what YOU paid; I only have the balance I am to bill to Hotwire, which is substantially less than I would have gotten if you'd book directly through my hotel. Right away, I am disheartened, especially if it is a slow night where the more revenue I take in the better. 

Also in this fax is, in big bold letters, the room preference of HOTWIRE, not you. I never see what you requested.

Hotwire as well as ANY third party give the same preference 100% of the time: "Run of House". R.O.H. is, to be blunt, a nice way of saying "We don't care where you put them. We already got their money. They're your problem now."

And boy oh boy do we encounter problems. I'd say about 75% of my Hotwire guests are extremely upset within two minutes of waking up to my front desk. Remember how you and your friend booked a room? You probably requested a room with two beds. Unfortunately, Hotwire not only has told me that any room type will do, but they've also told me that there will only be one person in this room. 

Girls sometimes are okay with this. It starts to become a problem when its two men, a father and his teenage son, or, in the very worst of circumstances, two parents with their 2 or more children. 

If you are at my hotel, I will usually do my best to accommodate you (despite being irritated that I'm giving you a bigger room when all my property is getting from the cut is at MOST 40% of what I could have sold the cheapest room for). But if this is a Friday evening, you may be SOL. I may not HAVE a bigger room that would accommodate your party, or I may have one or two left of the room type you want and I am not about to lose a MINIMUM of 60% revenue on one of those rooms by upgrading a Hotwire reservation. 

It's also worth conforming the fact that once you pay Hotwire (or whoever you booked through), that transaction is between you and them. My hotel has a completely separate, unrelated transaction that does not involve the guest. When a hotel gets a reservation through something like Hotwire, the vast majority bill the company immediately (and this is the ONLY instance most hotels do that). 

The reason for this is because if you are unhappy, you will call the online agent you used. They will tell you they can't refund you. You'll keep complaining and they will put you on hold and call me asking if I can cancel. The answer will be "too late, we have already processed the payment". In turn, they'll tell you to deal with it. 

The irony of these situations is that they would have all been easily avoided had you simply chosen your hotel yourself and called it directly. By doing so, you will have the following benefits:

-You have the benefit of RESERVING the type of room you need, not "requesting" it. 

-You'll have a more-than-reasonable Cancellation Policy. Most hotels in the price range of a Holiday Inn or Best Western give you until the early evening of your arrival date to cancel without charge. 

-Speaking of charges, you don't actually have any until you arrive. We don't bill your credit card when you make a reservation. You can use a different one when you arrive or even pay cash!

-You can still prepay if you prefer, and even THAT is refundable if you cancel in time (at most hotels).

-As said before, you might even get an upgrade. If I'm overbooked, upgrading a Hotwire guest is an absolute last resort. I can count on one hand how many times I do this in the span of an entire year. 

-Some hotels (like mine) STILL hold money on your credit card. All hotels will ask for a credit card for "incidentals" (charges you might incur during your visit. While most hotels simply keep your card on file but do not charge it unless needed, some will place a hold of $50-$250 that won't be released to you until you check out (or 14 days if its a debit card!). We do this to cover any damages you might make or policies you break, as we cannot bill Hotwire for more than we have been contracted.

-Finally, and most importantly, is the subject of saving money by using a third party. Booking directly through the hotel gives you a worst case scenario of paying, at most, five or ten dollars more. Even then, you avoid the inevitable problems that you'd encounter. However, I'd say about 90% of the time (and I'm not exaggerating) you will pay LESS. People often are unaware of the discounts offered by something as simple as having a AAA card, being a student or elderly, or even working at a grocery store! The rate we offer to HEB employees is nearly half off!  

My final tip: the further in advance you book, the cheaper your rate will be. Room prices go up as less rooms are available, so when you book before anyone else, you are getting the absolute best rate and likely paying at least 35-45% less than someone with the same room who booked just before arriving. 

Some people, such as lone-travelers, may choose to continue booking through the likes of Hotwire, and those people will admittedly not encounter anything problematic (though I still don't understand why you'd want to be viewed more of a nuisance to a hotel than a guest, all for a few extra bucks in your pocket).....but for the rest of you, I highly recommend booking through a hotel direct. It'll make your day, the clerks day, and the entire process much less complicated and easy going. 


nomenklatura profile image

nomenklatura 5 years ago Author

I agree with everything that you said. Third party booking companies are horrible, everyone except them gets shafted in that transaction. Personally, i will never use one of them.

My favorite experience is when we would get inexperienced travel agents that booked rooms for 10 clients through Expedia and only tell us that as they're checking in for their group... haha what a mess.


Susan 4 years ago

Sorry, disagree. We have used Hotels.com twice now. Both times we were treated wonderfully and had very nice rooms. In Niagara Falls, we booked a mid-priced room at the Sheraton on the Falls. We were instantly upgraded to the top floor, balcony room as soon as we walked up to the counter. We didn't ask for it. The B that tried to run us over getting in line was PO'd because she stepped up to the counter first, and in the line next to us. She said "Can't I have a balcony too?"....NOPE she could not :).


Bert 4 years ago

We used Expedia and found it to be more expensive than booking directly with the hotel. Lesson learned: check the rates with the hotel directly before thinking you are getting a good deal through Expedia.


cristina Fernandez del Valle 4 years ago

i book all my hotels with hotwire, (total of 87 bookings this year), and it is a gamble, sometimes we get amazing deals, that if i wanted to use the website of the hotel directly, the hotel night would be double the price than in hotwire, i do this for living, and i always look at the hotel directly and at hotwire rates, and usually is the same or cheaper with hotwire. But i did learned that you NEVER book less than 3 star hotels with hotwire! and that you will get disappointed in 1 out of 5 times. But the reason i stayed with them is because of their great customer service! which is weard to say, but i have been very happy when i make mistakes, and making that phone call is a pleasant, quick, solution to my problem. So if you book with Hotwire, just make sure to:

read the reviews in tripadvisor

compare the price with the hotel website

and it depends on the country you are the quality of stars you get (i book hotels all over the world, and the star rating can give you surprises, so look at the pictures, and see the "last remodeled date")


nomenklatura profile image

nomenklatura 4 years ago Author

I appreciate all of your comments, and as you can see every experience is different. I haven't had good times with these websites both as a consumer and on the receiving end, but it may just be my unfortunate luck!


Brad Touesnard 3 years ago

I booked a mid-sized car with Hotwire for a weekend in Ottawa this summer and the clerk said I was lucky because I got their last car. It was only a compact size though and they wouldn't give me any money back. I called Hotwire and they wouldn't do anything either. They blamed each other. I asked the clerk what would happen if they didn't have a car and he said I'd have to go to another rental company and pay their current rate, then call Hotwire to try get a refund. Brutal.

Meanwhile, on the same trip, a friend had booked a hotel for her and 3 of her friends through Expedia but when they got to the hotel, the hotel had given their room away to a customer who paid them directly. They tried finding another hotel, but the rates were around $400/night. So four people ended up sleeping on the floor in another friend's room.


ana 3 years ago

That is why you should always go with your travel agent, you will have always the best service, the best fares and must of all you will save a lot of time and money


Maya Rahman 3 years ago

Please be rest assured through my own experience HOTEL.COM is out to Cheat you of your money!!

Great deals offer is actually a "Jackedup" up hotel price quotation. In my experience only just recently Nov 2012. I paid 100% VAT (believe me) I am not making up. Not knowingly till I made my OWN payment at the hotel reception, one day earlier.

I booked through them 16/11 to 23 but I have to fly in earlier so came in on 15/11 instead.

It was there when I discovered I was RIPPED OFF big time!!

But too late!!

I wrote in on 25 Nov and have yet to receive anything from them.


wmleler 3 years ago

I agree that hotel booking intermediaries are a rip-off, and I always book directly with hotels when I can.

But I also want to point out that hotels pretty much brought this disgusting situation on themselves. For how many years did hotels only quote the "rack rate" for all rooms, even way in advance, and even if they were under-booked? The public learned that you never book rooms with hotels directly, because you were ripped off. Everyone got a discounted rate except for the independent traveller booking their own room. Now that legacy is coming back to haunt hotel owners.

So if websites like Expedia are total rip-offs that are making way too much money, then the answer is for hotels to take matters into their own hands. Create an OTA intermediary owned by independent hotels! Offer good prices, the service and other benefits you get from booking directly with the hotel, and your website will put the rip-offs out of business. Don't complain, compete!


Lindsey Leffel 3 years ago

Excellent points, and I agree with almost all of them. However, in your final summary you inform your readers that they are better off booking their hotel directly through the supplier, and not to use a travel agent. I disagree with this point. If you use a reputable travel agent, you have someone in your corner should something go wrong with your trip plans. Further, a reputable travel agent will not charge a fee for their services, which is an added incentive to the traveler.

Why do you feel you are best off booking yourself, rather than with a qualified agent? True agents are not intermediaries in the same sense of the word as travel mega-sites. What packages and services are you referring too? "You will not find as good of a deal as you would if you booked directly with a hotel, because they usually offer a multitude of packages/services, something that no intermediary can match."


INNsight 3 years ago

We are launching INNsight.com in February to address these issues. David vs. Goliath. Coming soon.


hahaha 3 years ago

nice booking.com adverticement.


Lier 3 years ago

All the arguments that u are using for expedia can be apply to Booking.com or other internet providers.

I used both for my job, and the difference is that in case of overbooking booking.com tell you "good luck!" and expedia find you a better hotel.


Mr potato 3 years ago

Honestly, to me you just sound like an angry guest who didn´t get wifi for free and runs everywere saying how bad the hotel is. Let me tell you that I am a professional as well of the sector, I have been working on both sides of the Agency / hotel continuum and you are not right. All the things you said about TA could be also said about hotels. Bad customer care, bad rooms, disappointments...

I have seen hotels lying to customers, relocating them to cheaper hotels without refunding and many things more. Traveling is dangerous, you are exposed and this is why you should be careful when you do it. Being completely neutral my advise for you is to check the hotel in review sites, check the bedroom and read the conditions well. Then compare the price, hotel, expedia, hotels, bookings...and book it.

If I were you I would travel with Expedia or hotels.com, which is the same company because you are extremely well protected as their customer. For instance, let´s say that you have the bad luck of meeting one of this angry receptionist which are posting in this article. They are incompetent and obviously fully booked because they don´t know how to manage their inventory or, put it simply they just want to get as much revenue as possible. If they have a 100 rooms they will book a 105 and hope for five rooms to be a "no show" and charge them all. But if a 102 show up they will have to relocate the guest somewhere else. I have seen people pay crazy amount of money for the original hotel and ending up somewhere where they have to get the bus for 20 min before they get to the city center. The sad thing about this is that the new hotel is cheaper and the orignal hotel, as i said before, doesn´t have the decency of refunding you the difference. With Expedia or Hotels.com you are guaranteed a relocation for free to a similar hotel or better and you are covered 24 hours. If you book straight with the hotel you either accept being robbed or find yourself accommodation for the same night in some lost place at 11.00pm.

Second thing is what we call reviews. Reviews rule hotels. Hotels with bad reviews sell much more less that you would be very surprised. That is why they take extra care with the customers of some strategic selling points (Bookings. Expedia...) One of my GM used to give for free a small champagne bottle and fruit to all Expedia customers because he wanted good reviews. It is true, being objective, that some operational staff, such as receptionist or waiters, saw the price and thought that the guest deserved a worse service, but honestly those are bad professionals and you can find them everywhere. It doesn´t matter whether you booked through trivago or the hotel.

As i said before, go to www.tripadvisor.com look for a hotel with good reviews and look the customer photos. Find a good price and you won´t be wrong. You can have bad luck and a horrible stay but 90% of the times you will be satisfied. Let angry workers alone with their conspiracies.


former hotel employee 3 years ago

I have worked at some of the top hotels in the San Antonio, riverwalk area. I agree with what everyone here has already said. There is another drawback from booking with third party sites. If the hotel is oversold the term in the industry is called walking. For example if I was originally at 100% but five rooms had to be taken out of service for a broken a/c or a plumbing issue, I now have to walk five people. We find them rooms at other hotels, sometimes it is convenient, sometimes it is not. The first ones I walk are priceline and hotwire. Why? Because those are the ones that I will lose the least money on and those are the customers that are motivated by price alone. Even if I gave them the presidential suite, they would most likely not come back, they would still book through hotwire or priceline.


Proud travel agent 3 years ago

I disagree with the last paragraph saying "you are best off doing your own hotel bookings". Definitely DO NOT book with an online site like Expedia, but do book through a travel agent. It doesn't cost you anything more because we are paid a commission by the hotel for bringing business to them. And, not only do we have access to deals and packages the general public may not, but we are able to get upgraded rooms and hotel amenities for our clients for free, and will often spend our own money on nice thank-you gifts like a bottle of wine in the room or a resort credit. Please, please use a reputable travel agent for ALL your travel bookings. We are small businesses drowning under the weight of these mega travel companies, too.


Karla 3 years ago

I have always had good luck with Expedia and Travelocity, I have travelled to different places in the US and to Japan. And to be honest the rates of Expedia and Travelocity were almost the half in comparisson with the hotel's websites. Plus, I have never had a bad room... in contrast if I were to book with a travel agent in my country I would be totally ripped off. Here the Travel agencies and counter's flying tickets are 2-3x more expensive. Maybe it's just my country.

Hotwire is like a roulette, you can get a great deal or a complete waste...and it's a little more expensive than the other websites.


Ross 3 years ago

"There Are Virtually No Cost Savings"

Well, your credibility with me is now gone. I use expedia ONLY because it''s cheaper - when I compare directly from expedia to a hotel's website, expedia is nearly always cheaper - that's why I use them!

I didn't even finish the article because it is not objective.


Neil Westerby 3 years ago

I do not agree with the article. I am not a hotelier but a very seasoned traveller and before I book a room, sometimes directly with the hotel or sometimes with the most competitive offer online. As for being at the reception disheartened because you have got a lower offer, isn't it better to have the rooms occupied than empty?

It is not just hotel bookings, it is the same with shopping online, research and take the best offer


August Seven Inn profile image

August Seven Inn 3 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

I have herd 1-3 on the list are true from many travelers I have received from them. I can disagree with 4 and 5 on the list, but only for my property… I realize in many larger properties its most likely true….In my case of small lodging, although I lose a considerable amount through these sites, and additionally I can only get listed through another site that joins small lodging together to get any kind of ranking on such sites as hotels.com (and yes the one that joins small lodging take an additional percentage as well as a yearly fee) So with that said, I agree if someone calls me and quotes a price they have seen online, I will match and give an additional perk, or beat the rate depending on the customers interest…But when I receive a customer from them my hopes is for return customers( and word of mouth is always the best advertising)… I from these sites have to appreciate the fact that people are able to locate me when they otherwise would not have attempted to look or simply would have booked at a larger location…I believe in customer service, and provide it to all of my guests either way no one will get slighted at the August Seven inn, after all I wanted to have a small lodging because I enjoy my work and I have made many friends from guests that have stayed, why miss out on making someone’s stay great, a lifetime memory for them, or in many cases a lifetime opportunity for friends because it was a reduced price reservation, that’s just foolish….if anyone has interest in seeing my inn, I have a commercial and 360 tour on my website A7Inn.com....and my many kind reviews from my guests are on trip advisor


Johan Wessels profile image

Johan Wessels 3 years ago

Hi

Hotels are just as bad as the online companies. See below on Alexis Hotel in Abuja.

I reserved a room on the 10th of March and followed up by sending the receptionist a text with my details.

Upon getting to the hotel tonight, I was told they did not "treat" the booking. They then said they will upgrade me to another room (Had the choice of 2). Ok, went up 3 flights of stairs only to find the door cannot open. Waited 5 minutes for them to try and sort it out.

I was then called back to reception where I was handed my refund with I am sorry. Wonder what happened to the second room? More money?

Can and will never recommend anybody staying in that hotel.

Expat


Anilnyc 3 years ago

Lol at some of these comments, as a hotelier, if you call the property directly, 99% of the time, not only will we match the price offered by 3rd parties, and also upgrade guests for booking directly.


Basset Hound 3 years ago

I used to work at Hotwire and I have to say I would never use them. Here are the reasons. You can't pick the number of beds and the type of room, or the location in the hotel. If something comes up and you have to make a change, except for very particular circs, (like you've got jury duty) you can't change. People who would normally stay at a cheaper hotel see that LOW LOW price and pay it. Then they find they can't afford the deposit or don't have a major credit card, and can't check in.

Lastly, I don't want to travel with the cheap bastards who use Hotwire.


TeWan 3 years ago

The only thing is if I want to book a hotel, I'm not going to search all over the place for one thing. If these hotels made it easy to search, rather than just going to their own specific website, it might be different. Hotels.com has all the information I need in one easy to access spot. I've had hotel clerks tell me that if I book directly through them it is better and yet they try to jack up the price of the room but a significant amount. Now, who is fleecing who here? I've also had many times when I got perks, got rooms that exceeded my expectations and overall I have had great experiences using it. I've seen all of these points listed many times, but they have not generally been my experience. Tell me of a single website where I can go to compare rates/reviews and book a room that is better, and I'll gladly do it! Until then, I'm not going to start search individual hotels to do this - much too time consuming and offers far too little information.


3 years ago

I booked a two-bed room through Expedia and now am sleeping on a couch since only one bed rooms are available. I just learned that the two-bed room was considered as a request, NOT as a reservation. Be careful not to book a room without any bed in it.


madmaf 3 years ago

1) Use Expedia, orbitz and al to get basic information on hotels (location, amenities, etc)

2) Use an aggregator (hotelscombined, trivago) to get the best price. Make sure that reservation is not a preference but an actual reservation, and that it can be cancelled/modified.

3) Check on the hotel's own site to see price difference

4) Call the hotel to inform them of the price, ask for price matching, perks

5) Decide.


letap 2 years ago

I have to agree with almost everyone here. Using Exedia & Hotels.com is the same company. They are now overtaking Travelocity.com over the next few months to provided hotel inventory and other services. All these mega site are a HUGE RIP OFF. ALL there customer service teams are based outside the USA. They take a huge commission from the hotel rate from 20%-50%. I have to agree as the rest of industry here is that if you book on "3rd party" site you will get the shitty end of the stick on quality of rooms. You will almost never get an update. Here is an example if a hotel rate is $99 on 3rd party you will pay that but if you book directly from the hotel you are entitle to an AAA, Senior, AARP, discount of any other "in house" hotel discount potentially bring that SAME EXACT ROOM rate to $89 or LESS that you will NEVER get from a 3rd party site. Also you have the freedom to pay with a different credit card or cash at the hotel. You will get a receipt from the hotel showing the charges vs hotel saying you need to contact your booking site. You will earn points from franchise hotels as you qualify for points or miles vs 3rd party you get NOTHING. The cancellation policy is a lot more lenient at the hotel level. Bidding for a room on Hotwire or Priceline you give up all rights to cancel, change, modify or shorten length of stay as the policy is use it or lose it NO REFUNDS. The best way to get the best deal from the hotel is to call and mention that I am looking to book on expedia, hotels.com or any site and would you all be able to "beat" that price. We our policy at our hotels is if you mention those site we automatically give you a 10% discount and a free upgrade for the same price you see online. Its in our best interest to get you to book directly with us as we avoid the 20-50% commissions we have to fork over to these site. These site are good from "research". I speak for booking hotel rooms only as I don't know as much about other services such as packages, cruises, car rentals, etc. I have been in the hotel business for over 20 years. I understand travel agents say you need to book with them and I agree booking with a travel agent is heck of alot better than MEGA sites.


Jay 2 years ago

These responses are funny as hell. Firstly, saying NEVER is a death wish to anyone's credibility. Secondly, all of these people advocating for travel agents... if people are booking with third party hotels then most likely they are not going to pay your overpriced vacation package amount.

Seriously though. I travel overseas once or twice a year and use mainly hotels.com for everything. All I have to do is use tripadvisor to check the reviews as well as check the hotel for their price to know what kind of deal I am getting. It's that simple. Some people are not savvy enough to do this on their own... and those same people will probably be the ones that have to pay more for someone else to book them because they'd screw it up or don't have the time to research.

Lastly, as a professional photographer I often give discounted rates to my clients depending on event, location or need. It would be horrible business on my part to shortchange a client that paid me less and not provide a good service to them. Mainly because I agreed to the price. Just like hotels agree to their pricing. Hotels.com doesn't call the hotel up, put a gun to their head and say we booked a customer at 50% off for you whether you like it or not. The hotel previously said they would accept that. So if a hotel practices shortchanging those customers then most likely it will end up with bad reviews and a hotel to avoid.


Dave 2 years ago

As a consumer who travels a lot, I'd say it's all about the research. On hotwire I can usually narrow down which 1-3 hotels I'm going to get and then decide if the price saving is worth it. If I'm not saving a lot, ill book direct for the "human touch" on making reservations and the hope that it means better treatment. But often the savings are substantial and worth it. For example, I just booked a 4-star hotel in San Antonio on Hotwire for $120 a night and I knew which hotel it would be-- it was was going for $230 direct (and on most booking engines like hotels.com). Those level of savings are worth the risk. If Hotwire had quoted me $215 I wouldn't have bothered and would go direct.


TimHunsi 2 years ago

Hello, does any parent have any tips about the best way to get their infant to sleep through?

I have read various websites with suggestions but I am still struggling.

Thanks


Raj Dubey 2 years ago

Dear Trippers,

I agree on the suggestions made in the Article. Infact I came across a website triptheearth.com , which is a Global Travel Publishing Site + Travel Social Network. They say that the trippers are the best bargainers. And they are to remove the intermediaries in the transaction. They too suggest to book directly with the Hotel. This may be of help to our fellow travelers. http://www.triptheearth.com/Info/aboutus

Regards

Raj


jackal 2 years ago

Agree 100% with wmleler's comment above.

The rental car companies know about competition. If I walk up to a Thrifty rental counter and say, "Enterprise next door is charging $20/day; can you beat that?", they'll say, "Sure! I'll do $19." Walk into a Hilton and say, "The Marriott next door is charging $90, can you beat that?", and they'll fumble with the computer and say, "Our rate's $105." I respond, "It's 11pm at night and your hotel is half empty. If you can do $80, I'll stay with you; otherwise, I'll have to go next door." They shrug their shoulders and say, "The rate's $105; I can't do anything."

Hotels need to give their front desk agents the training and the authority to *avoid losing the sale!* This is the first thing rental car agents are trained to do.

Now, as for the topic of the blog post itself: I rarely see actual price differences between the hotel's own site and major OTAs (Expedia, Orbitz, Hotels.com, etc.). And believe me, I look, because if rates ARE different, you can usually play them off of each other and submit a "Best Rate Guarantee" claim if the prices ARE different and get some sort of credit (for a successful claim, Marriott gives 20% off, Expedia gives a $50 Amex gift card, IHG gives a free night, etc.). But for the most part, the industry has done a good job ensuring price parity across all booking channels (opaque sites like Hotwire and Priceline excepted, of course).

All things being equal, I like to book through Hotels.com or Hotelclub.com. Why? Because between their fairly generous rewards programs (~10% return on spend) plus linking to them through affiliate cashback sites can get me as much as 21% cash-back. That means that on a $100 hotel room, I'm only paying $79. That's a huge savings! It's way better than the AAA rates on the hotels' own sites and even collecting the hotel chain's loyalty program points (HHonors, Marriott Rewards, etc.).

Now, I know that Hotels.com/Hotelclub.com are paying 30-40% less. But if I call the hotel--whether the central reservations center or the hotel front desk directly--and say, "Look, I know Hotels.com is going to pay you $60/night for this room. Let's cut a deal; I'll pay $75: you get $15/more a night than you otherwise would and I save $4. It's win-win!", the agent is completely baffled at my request. Even the hotel's own front desk responds blankly. Sometimes I want to ask to speak to the property's owner and talk some sense into them!

In short, until the hotels do as wmleler suggests and take matters back into their own hands and allow their employees room to negotiate a bit, I'll keep booking with Hotels.com or Hotelclub.com and getting a 21% discount every night.


Andrew 2 years ago

I've just returned from the south of France, I went into a hotel to ask the price of a room, the receptionist quoted me €140, I told her I'd just seen a room for €100 on booking.com "oh that must be the standard room" "why did you not quote me the standard room?" No answer, I basically caught her trying to rip me off. This was repeated at EVERY hotel we went into, it became a running joke.

I understand the comments of the article but booking.com has saved us 100's of €'s this week and it's principle more than anything else


Emily 2 years ago

I am in the process of booking a room through Expedia for $103/night, and the hotel website lists the room at $225/night...so yea, you do not pay more through Expedia...


Jonathan 2 years ago

I use Hotwire every time I book a hotel. I have never used hotels.com or any other 3rd party website so I cannot speak for them. I love Hotwire, but you should not pick anything lower than 3 stars. I picked a 2 1/2 star hotel and was not impressed by the room. The room was outdated and the carpet looked like it was from the eighty's. Last month my family and I went to Daytona beach, Florida. They booked us at The Plaza Resort. It was a very nice hotel with the exception the Kitchen Vent was close to the window, so we could not go out on the balcony without hearing the roaring fan. I got all the amenities that came with booking directly from the resort. This included 2 free drinks, Free valet, pool access, and spa access. I payed $72.00 a night. If I booked directly from the resort I would have been charted 130.00. When I book Hotwire I almost always got the room I request. There was one time I did not get the room I requested. The hotel they booked me at did not have anymore double bed rooms so the receptionist upgraded to a honeymoon room. I would not book a rental car from them though. I live in a small town, and Enterprise is the only rental car company in it. I check the rates between Hotwire and Enterprise, and I was surprised to find that the price was the exact same for each.


Josh 2 years ago

Great article. I too have worked in the hotel industry and can attest to the validity of all of these points. I would also add that if you are a member of a hotel rewards program you will probably not get points for a stay booked by an online service. Also remember that most large hotel chains such as Marriott and Holiday Inn have a "best rate guarantee" which means that you will not find a lower rate anywhere else than if you book directly with the hotel.


Gregg 2 years ago

I have used hotels.com, priceline, and hotwire for rooms from Hawaii to New Orleans to Orlando. To date I have never had a bad experience with any company. I agree that other rooms clients that pay more than me may get their room first when early check-in is requested, but that is OK with me. I booked a 4 star room at the Omni Royal Orleans in New Orleans for $103 on Hotwire. Hotels.com and Expedia have the room for $219, and the Omni Royal Orleans also has it for $219. Not sure how you can complain about that.


Tootie Drop 2 years ago

I have received great benefit using hotels.com to book numerous reservations for my partner who travels extensively for business. 1. We receive 1 free credit to use at the hotel of our choice every 10 nights booked through hotels.com. This is more convenient than trying to accumulate credits through an individual hotel's loyalty program as a particular chain may not be located everywhere we stay. 2. They often run specials that allow us to get up to $50 off a booking or get a rebate after a 3 -12 night stay. (Admittedly, if you use a discount for a booking it does not count towards your 10 days/1 credit perk. Rebates do not impact this perk.) I was recently able to get a nearly $400.00 hotel stay for less than $200.00 3. I've never had problems canceling a reservation as late as the day of the reservation and I've even had them waive fees for canceling outside the hotel's cancellation window. 4. Silver and gold status customers have dedicated customer service reps so I never have to wait long to make a reservation or address a problem. 5. They've provided me with $100s of dollars in credits for issues caused by the hotel and not hotels.com 6. The agents are typically very helpful and try their best to accommodate my requests. 7. I get 5% discounts or rebates from various credit cards for bookings made through hotels.com. 8. The Capt. Obvious marketing campaign is kind of cute!


jb 2 years ago

Poster above makes the point no one else has: If I use Hotels.com I get a free night stay after booking and staying 10 nights with them. Sure if you have all of the credit cards of the hotel chains then you'd see a similar benefit, but it costs me nothing to get this benefit. Annual fee's on hotels credit cards can eat away at any money you think you're saving.

People that use Hotels.com are mostly (not all) bargain travelers. Therefore they aren't expecting to be upgraded into the penthouse, or ect. I just received my first free night from Hotels.com and find it much more convienient to book with them. All I need to do is login with one username and pword and my info is all ready there. If I book with 5 different hotels in a year then I have to do this 5 different times.

Unless the rate is $10 lower or more on a hotels website, there is practically zero incentive to book with them.

Also their customer service has been fine. Most times they'll give you a non-refundable rate and a refundable rate. If you choose the non-refundable rate, then that's on you if you have to cancel.

To me the post just sounds like a hotel owner complaining about third party sites, when in fact if they could compete with them just fine if they offered lower rates on their site.


Cheri Head 22 months ago

As a small hotel, we have some very strong opinions about why intermediary companies are bad news for everyone (traveler and hotel alike) -- most especially Expedia and its family of companies (hotels.com, venere, etc.). Check out our blog for details: http://bit.ly/expedia-is-bad-news.


Ron S 17 months ago

I traveled for business for a number of years and accumulated a good deal of credit with Hotels.com, that I thought I would use for travel in retirement.

Big surprise. I didn't book for I guess a year and when I planned a personal trip, I discovered all my points had expired because I had been active for a year. Hotels.come saved having to cover a dozen or so hotel nights for me.

I won't use them again and now that I know they are part of Expedia, I won't use Expedia either.


PNO 16 months ago

Sorry, you are incorrect. I have used Hotwire many times for 4 star and above in various cities, it's always been much cheaper than booking direct. Your first point is you don't get a cheaper rate, but then go on to explain why you don't get as much when you pay less, which is it?


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LPG 4 months ago

These are all great points to consider. I have had good experience bookings hotels through a third party. Perhaps if Hotels let customers KNOW about their great deals and savings then more people would prefer to book directly. Also, if I'm staying at your Hotel then I no matter who I book with I expect the same great service!

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