I have found a hotel for my husband and noticed that the hotel website is $30 cheaper than Expedia for the same room. Is it just as good to book on the hotel site?
It's usually the other way around, but sure I would book whatever is cheaper. Make sure they're the same type of room (apples vs. apples) and that the price includes all taxes when comparing different quotes. On some sites (including hotel websites) you don't know the total cost until you already put in your cc info and are ready to book, since the rate quoted may or may not be inclusive of all taxes.
I check the hotel website rates against all third party sites like booking.com, hotels.com, even hotwire.com, etc. If a third party site is cheaper, I book with it. If hotel website is cheaper, then I use hotel site.
I have always found it odd that when booking hotel rooms , people tend to view third party ( middleman ) sites more favorably than going directly to the hotel . For me , booking directly is my preferred route . On numerous occasions , while checking in or out , or picking up my key ( in those hotels that do this ) I have encountered guests who have come up against some issue with a reservation due to booking on a third party site , often the hotel's position is that the guest needs to take up the issue with the booking site , In addition , hotels are wise to third party sites , and many will either match or beat the price , You are better off booking direct , especially since you are getting a better price direct - it's the same room ,
Totally agree with Steven. Always better to book direct than go through a middle man like expedia, orbitz etc. Even if booking direct is more expensive, less chance of a problem with your reservation when booking direct.
Yes booking with the hotel site is just as good as a third party like Expedia, Travelocity or Booking.com.
Usually the hotel website is cheaper, but sometimes the third party is. For some smaller, family run hotels I normally book around Munich the third party sites are cheaper when they only have a few rooms left. I imagine this is because at this point the family has reached an occupancy threshold to give them a profit and it's easier to let a third party fill the last few rooms (since they usually have a lot more reach) then try and do it themselves. Give them time to work on other things like maintenance, tending existing guests, renting bicycles, etc.
Like others have said, just be sure it is the same room with the same options (is one missing breakfast included or is it in the basement?).
I've stopped using third party booking sites for hotels. As other have written, if there is a problem the hotel will send you back to the consolidator to fix. Good luck. Also, I've personally witnessed folks who did not like their room getting the cold shoulder from hotel staff when they did not book direct. Most consolidators do not show the full rates, which you only see at the end of the booking process. Most hotels will match a lower rate, should you really find one. In addition I have, on many occasions, seen a hotel offer a sale rate after I had booked. Just called them and, viola, I get the lower rate. Try that with a consolidator. And, good hotels value you as a customer. I recently checked into a Kimpton hotel. Nice room but too close to a noisy pool open late. No problem. Upgraded to a suite on a high floor, no extra charge. Sweet.
Use Booking and Trip Advisor to search for lodging if you have no references.
I don't even go to their websites. I email them directly and have a live person to correspond with.
I enjoy arriving at a B&B and the owner/front desk know my name and welcomes me to their lodging ! I just feel like I am not a customer, I am a special guest.
In almost 150 nights in Germany, I have never booked a hotel room (or other accommodations) through a 3rd party booking websites. These booking sites get a commission (15%, I hear) from the property. Chances are YOU pay for that.
The booking websites want you to believe that their prices are the same as what you would get by booking directly with the hotel, but this is often not true. I've found that there are a lot of tricks that hotels play to get around the price comparison.
- Sometimes you will find package deal on the hotels website that include extras, like meals or admissions, that are not offered on the booking site, that make booking directly a far better deal.
- Sometimes the price will look the same, but the price through the booking site will not include breakfast, which is offered if you book directly, and will be offered separately at an inflated price through the booking site.
- Sometimes the booking site only has access to the most expensive, "deluxe" rooms. If you can live without a sofa or balcony, you can save by booking directly.
- And sometimes, the price listed on the booking website is just plain more, and the hotel seems to get away with it.
Almost every town in Germany has a town website, often at www dot town_name dot de. These town website have a list of accommodations in town that often shows 2 or 3 times as many properties as what you would find on a booking site. And the extra places shown on the town website are less expensive than the places shown on booking websites, either by using the booking website or by finding the place on the booking website and then booking directly.
I have studied this subject extensively over the last 10 or more years, going back to places where I've stayed at places I found on the town website and comparing the price with what I would have paid using a booking website. I invariably find that I saved a lot, usually at least a third, by using the town website to find places and book directly.
Since the issue of non-inclusive pricing on 3rd-party sites has been raised, I'd like to point out that booking.com always seems to include all taxes except the (small) municipal taxes that are typically paid in cash to the hotel. That exclusion is clearly stated on the website.
I do agree that booking directly is ideal, but it may not always be practical. If you're booking at the last minute and the hotel's website requires you to (in effect) send an email and wait for a response, that doesn't allow much time to make other arrangements if the hotel turns out to be full. I also had the experience of contacting a lodging place directly and not ever getting any response. This was in mid-summer, so they weren't closed for the season; they were probably fully booked but didn't bother to tell me so.
I'd like to point out that booking.com always seems to include all
taxes except the (small) municipal taxes
I think "final pricing" (i.e., all taxes included) is a requirement of the EU. But some websites operate from the US and don't follow EU law. Even for the EU, Kurtax, which is collected separately, doesn't have to be included.
And, BTW, an exception to the town website having less expensive accommodation is Munich, where the town booking website is captive of HRS, and so anyone on the town website has to pay the 15% commission. I used to stay in a hotel in the Munich suburbs (since converted into apartments) that wasn't on the Munich website but could be found on Google Maps.
I agree that booking on the hotel's website is better than booking on a third party website, except if you can get a better deal another way (sometimes you can). But for Switzerland, I found a further refinement: booking direct via e-mail got me more room choice and better deals than I would have gotten from the hotel's own website!
So, if you know which hotel you want, e-mail them directly - particularly if the room you want is not showing as "available" on the hotel's website.
For several years I had written off Expedia for hotel and flight reservations. But for the past year and a half I have found Expedia to be cheaper on several occasions than booking directly. This has been especially true for flights. On a RT trip flight to Hong Kong they were $300 dollars cheaper than Cathay Pacific's site. For an upcoming trip to Hamburg/Copenhagen they were $200 cheaper that United's site. Significant saving! So I never assume anything anymore, check everybody.
Harold , I recently had an experience as you describe - several weeks ago , while booking my Autumn trip , the hotel I use in Munich was showing no availability on the website for my dates - A call directly to the hotel solved it and I got the booking I wanted .
I always book directly with the hotel, because if there is a problem I do not want to have to go through a third party to reach resolution. If you do find a cheaper price somewhere, then email or call the hotel and they will usually meet the other price.
It is always better to book directly with a hotel, or chain, than use a third party site. I didn't say cheaper, I said better.
I live in hotels and know that most will give preference to those who book direct. If there is a problem with a booking, you will have to deal with Expedia and not the hotel.
For our last 13 trips, I have always booked with hrs.com when possible. Never a problem. Never treated poorly for doing so. I like the full, comparable data that you get for many hotels. I love the email with the terms laid out. I am fine that other folks feel differently.
We are going back this April/May and have all my bookings through hrs.com. I had a problem with my knee. We decided to reduce the number of stops and change several reservations. It was done swiftly and easily through HRS. Again, more power to the folks that wish to contact each hotel directly.
Gary, you don't seem to get my point. I'm spending time in late April, Middle May in a small town on the Main river between Frankfurt and Würzburg. I've looked up accommodations on Booking.com and on HRS.com. For the time I want, there are five places listed on HRS and on Booking. The five places on Booking average 95,80€ per night. The same five places on HRS average 95,76€/night. If I go to the town website and book directly the the hotels, the average price is 91.80. So, booking on a booking website is NOT less expensive than using a booking website.
BUT THAT IS NOT THE POINT!
There are another eight perfectly acceptable places in town with an average rate of 66.13€ per night, and they are not listed on any booking website So, it you only use a booking website, you are systematically eliminating some of the most economical place. And, BTW, I am staying in a Ferienwohnung, which I found on the town website, and is not offered by either Booking or HRS, for 35€ per night.
I think people don't realize there are two types of booking websites:
Ones like Booking.com are basically just like a travel agent. They are just making it easier for you to make the reservation. They get a typical travel agent commission. If a problem occurs, you were dealing directly with the hotel or airline so they will help fix it.
The other type is like Expedia. When you book with Expedia, you are booking a room with Expedia. Expedia then negotiates a price with the airline and hotel. They then book the flight/hotel for you and you have paid Expedia. If everything works out, fine. If there are problems, you have to deal with Expedia. Technically, you have booked with Expedia and not the supplier so any changes/problems have to go through Expedia.
Oh, and if the airline or hotel is oversold, guess who gets bumped or walked first......those using sites like Expedia.
Booking through these sites is convenient but not necessarily the best price. I checked a hotel in London for the six nights I'll be there. Booking directly with the hotel over HRS would save me about 20 GBP per night. And....they don''t show room types, just "standard room" and that can mean anything.
But everyone should do what makes them happy. After all, it's your trip.
(And all the information I posted if after talking to numerous hotel and airline employees.)
The emphasis seems to be on price but for us there is more to it. On HRS I sort the hotels by how close they are to the town center, train station or principal focus of the stop. (I like to return to the room to rest and use the restroom during the day.) I have no interest in staying out of town to save money. I then check the terms of payment and usually eliminate all that require prepayment or a credit card in advance. (I seldom change a reservation but like an easy option.) I check the ratings overall and specifically the breakfast reviews. I read the verbal reviews if the rating is a little low as sometimes it refers to parking - of no interest to me.
When I learned that I would need knee surgery upon return from our trip this year, we decided to eliminate some towns and lengthen other stays to make it easier for me. It took me less than 1/2 hour to revise my itinerary: dropping 5 reservations and establishing 4 new ones. I liked that these were impersonal transactions. I would not have liked to contact 8 separate hotels to make these changes.
I just recommend that you take a look at the whole transaction, not just the price. Hotels do account for about 1/5 of our total cost of a trip so room price is important, but not enough to make it the only factor in selecting a hotel.
But Booking takes a larger commission than a regular Travel agent: 12%, raising it to 15% if the listing gets a lot of business. I love the convenience, too, so am very torn for these small hotels. Their business is already hammered by apartment rentals and many are barely holding on.
Given your choices I would use the hotel website. I never use Expedia or Trip Advisor for accommodations in Germany. There are times where I have run into a cheaper price listed by booking.com vs what the hotel website offers. Mostly I've found the price for a single to be the same.
The advantage is in calling up the establishment, then you can negotiate (it doesn't always work) to get a lower price. I've had that happen too, especially if you have stayed there previously.
@ Steven/White Plains....Exactly! My Pension in Munich showed it was booked up for the days I wanted this summer. I thought....odd, it can't be, unerhört. Like you I called them up, the first time the guy didn't want to deal with me, told me to call back same time the next day, ie in 24 hrs, when the boss lady is there. ( I know who she is, can recognise he voice ). So, in 24 hrs I called the Pension again, got the boss lady on the phone, and got a single (EZ) for a price lower than that listed by booking.com, which had stated no room available on dates desired. That must have been its quota, irrelevant. Bottom line...it pays to call directly to reserve, just as one did 30 years ago. Was I asked to give a credit card number to hold the room? No, not done that way.
We deal directly with the hotel website or B&B. You can definitely do better than Expedia or Booking.Com, stopped using those sites many years ago.
I am going to Europe in May and looked up all hotels on booking.com. Then went to the direct hotel site and I emailed them directly asking them what they had available for the nights I will be there. The all sent me back offers via email that were less than the booking website rates. They also offered lower rates if I paid cash. I confirmed my bookings directly with each of the hotels. It just seemed more personal that way.