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Book hotel direct or through travel sites

I'm posting this in the Germany thread because I want to know the response with German hotels. Do most book directly with the hotel or with travel sites like booking.com or expedia or travelocity?

Thanks
Cindy

Posted by
20461 posts

Well, this is the "Germany Reviews" forum for people posting reviews of things they have already experienced. You would do better posting on the "Germany" forum.

But to answer your question, I have done both. Booking .com might not show you all the options, like small guest houses, B&Bs which you can research at local websites.

Posted by
986 posts

Agree with above, repost this in the DESTINATION -- GERMANY section.

We go to Europe once a year and we are not fans of 3rd party booking companies. We always book directly with the hotel.

If there is ever an issue and you have to file a claim with your Travel Insurance, we have just found it MUCH easier this way.

Plus, in our experience, hotels prefer a direct booking. You'll get lots of opinions on this topic - it is brought up often.

Posted by
2483 posts

I first look at the town tourism websites. The town’s website is usually www.town name.de. Wikipedia will also list the site. The town lists usually have all the places listed. One place I stayed was not listed on the town site. I had seen a picture of it and then found it on booking.com. i’ve also used booking.com to book in Iceland and have had no problems, including a cancellation

Posted by
2017 posts

I've always booked on the hotel sites mostly because I can sign up for their membership and get money off on my booking or get bottled water/coffee maker in room.

I've used booking.com for those hotels that don't have their own websites or reservation website.

Posted by
883 posts

I use booking.com to locate hotels; read reviews etc. Then I look for the hotel's website and book directly. If there would be a problem with a booking, I prefer to deal directly with the hotel. As mentioned previously, the hotels will often offer extra perks for direct bookings. Occasionally there may be a significant price difference between the two, and if that happens then contact the hotel directly and see if they will price match.

Posted by
15690 posts

I always book direct. I have used Booking.com a few times when the hotel's online booking service wasn't good or when the hotel suggested I use it.

I wouldn't use anything else. Too many hassles if there is a problem.

Posted by
943 posts

Generally, I do as others here do--I look at Booking.com but book directly with the hotel. HOWEVER, a few months ago, I booked a hotel in Montmartre with Booking.com because it allows a free cancelation just two days before the reservation but the hotel's site did not. I have had to cancel hotels before that I had booked with Booking.com and it was straightforward with no problem. Ability to cancel is important to us.

Posted by
3210 posts

For the most part, I book on a travel website, not directly with the hotel. On over twenty trips with as many as 11 different hotels on one lengthy trip, I have never had a problem with any reservations made with travel sites. Sometimes you get additional perks using them. I have found prices to be comparable.

Posted by
8638 posts

I book direct most of the time, but will sometimes book through Chase Ultimate Rewards to use point.

Posted by
27417 posts

Some third-party websites buy up blocks of hotel rooms and offer them to travelers, often at a lower rate than is available on the hotel website. Those offers often have strings attached--they may well be non-refundable. I am not willing to risk that kind of reservation. I do use booking.com heavily. In my experience (not specifically in Germany, but in many other countries), you just cannot predict how the rates will line up. Sometimes booking directly is a bit cheaper (especially at chain hotels, if you join their affinity programs) or you get breakfast included. Sometimes booking.com is cheaper (and frequent users often get 5% or 10% discounts). Often the rate is identical. You do have to pay attention to the cancellation policies, because they can be different, as noted above. Booking.com very often has a non-refundable option as well as one with a generous cancellation policy.

It's really difficult to say how things will line up, because there are a lot of idiosyncratic rooms in old European hotels. The small single room (my favorite, because it will be the cheapest thing available) may be dumped onto booking.com and not available at all on the hotel website. Or vice versa. Folks looking for a "nice" room (which I am not), really need to dig into the details and watch for labels like "Superior".

Posted by
1912 posts

I usually use booking.com. If you have their highest frequent user status you get better CS. They are very helpful if something goes wrong, and if you need to cancel within the cancellation window it always works. Direct hotel bookings sometimes "miss" cancellation requests that come in near the deadline. Never a problem with booking.

I will sometimes book direct with places I'm sure I'll stay at to give more money directly to the hotel. And there are a few chains where I have status and/or want to collect or use points. Those are booked direct.

Booking.com has some very good deals for higher tier members (often better than direct rates) but also sometimes inflates base rates to show a discount.

I'd like to also get started on a new online booking rewards program (Orbitz, Expedia, etc) because once you reach the highest booking.com threshold, benefits are lifetime there's no added benefit to for additional use. But I'm not sure which other online booking site has the best rewards system.

Posted by
23469 posts

We make heavy use of Hotel.com and especially Hoteltonight.com. Never had a problem.

Posted by
39 posts

Last summer, we booked a Dublin B&B through Booking.com We ended up paying double the price of what the host would have charged. I know this because the host explained that the travel sites use an algorithm and charge more depending on availability (it happened to be an incredibly busy Dublin weekend). Her suggestion was to call her directly to secure the room once it was found on booking.com. This may not work in all cases, but it may be worth a try. For the record, we generally book directly through hotel websites.

Posted by
4012 posts

I book directly with a German hotel’s website. It’s usually better priced than a third-party consolidator and hotels appreciate it because they don’t have to pay a commission to a booking.com type consolidator.

Posted by
1912 posts

Her suggestion was to call her directly to secure the room once it was
found on booking.com. This may not work in all cases, but it may be
worth a try.

I've not done this but know people who do, and sometimes they do get a better price.

Posted by
4341 posts

Hank, I recently booked 5 rooms in Dublin for a night through booking.com and the hotel told me if I would cancel and book directly, they would give me a per room discount (and I had checked both sites first).

I use booking.com a lot but I have had several small places tell me they pay about 20% for the privilege of listing there. Prices are sometimes the same, sometimes higher, and sometimes lower. It just takes some time and reading. I never use Travelocity or Expedia.

Posted by
1912 posts

I hear you TTM. Booking.com does charge hotels a hefty cut. I probably should work harder at figuring out how to get some all of that money back into the pocket of the mom and pop operations at least. I'm sure they appreciate it :)

Posted by
27417 posts

I've encountered some small hotels that just don't want to be bothered with managing their own reservations. Twice when I was already at a hotel and wanted to extend my stay, I checked booking.com and then went down to the front desk to see what rate they quoted. Booking.com was cheaper. You just never know until you do the research for each individual stay. And if you need to cancel within the free period, it is really, really wonderful to get that confirmation message from booking.com. It comes in extremely quickly; there's no wondering whether the hotel received and noted your timely cancellation.

Posted by
4341 posts

acraven, so true about the ease on booking.com. I just changed dates for 2 hotels today and it was fast and simple.