Travel websites have built reputations as convenient sites designed to help us find the best travel deals all in one place. But when it comes to finding the best deals on hotel stays, while they may provide a way to compare a number of hotels in one place, they don’t necessarily offer the best deal in every case.
It turns out that in a recent report by Chicago’s ABC I-team, they found 9 out of 10 hotels were cheaper when the hotel was contacted directly.
Work with Hotels Directly
Once you’ve narrowed your choice of hotel, contact them directly. They often offer the lowest price and if they don’t they are often willing to match third-party sites because they make more by getting paid directly from you because it eliminates commission charged by travel sites.
Other Savings and Perks
Along with saving on room rates, booking directly through the hotel can also lead to additional savings and perks.
For instance booking directly through the Lone Wolf Lodge was the same price as Expedia, but booking through the hotel provided free waterpark passes which go a long way in stretching vacation dollars.
Other hotels in this report included things like a breakfast upgrade for just a dollar more.
Best Buy Guarantee
Expedia offers a Best Buy Guarantee in which they will refund the difference in the hotel rate “in the rare case that travelers find a better price after booking on our site.” However, you must be a “logged-in” member at the time of booking to take advantage of this guarantee, plus you need to be aware that you’ve spent more than you need to in order to claim the difference.
Travel websites are a good resource tool to look at options but when you decide on a hotel, go to their website to see what they offer if you book with them directly.
Remember, Expedia also owns Hotwire, Travelocity, and Trivago, and the deals they offer have to make them some money. Sometimes those deals save but many times you can find the best deal by going directly through the hotel. Finding the best deal requires some savvy shopping, but it is worth it.
Photo credits: rodonish