Booking.com vs booking directly

Old Jul 27th, 2021, 08:20 PM
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Booking.com vs booking directly

Unlike in the USA, Itís usually cheaper to book your rooms directly with the hotel. They appreciate not dealing with the extra charges they incur using other websites.
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Old Jul 27th, 2021, 09:50 PM
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I've found booking.com and hotel.com have greatly improved the ability to quickly find family rooms - 3 or 4 in a room. That is a chore when you're simply checking hotel websites individually.

I'm also willing to pay a bit more to have the generously short cancellation period.
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Old Jul 27th, 2021, 11:00 PM
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booking.com used to have terms in it's contract forcing hotels to offer the same deals to booking.com users that they offered others. Governments got lobbied to have that canceled.

Booking direct isn't cheaper very often in my experience. Maybe if you have a favorite hotel but if you're searching on booking.com and sorting by price there is often somebody having a sale. Either the hotel on it's own or part of the Genius program or maybe some other booking.com offer. The hotels for various reasons don't want those sales on their own website. Once you have a sale on your website that's the new price people will expect.

But saying the hotels don't like paying the commission is like saying they don't like paying for ads on tv or in newspapers. If the commission didn't bring them in business they'd pull their rooms off the site.
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 12:08 AM
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Booking(dot)com and other booking engines are a good place to start when searching for a hotel, then you can find the hotel’s own website and contact them directly. Few hotels contract for all their rooms to be available through booking(dot)com, but it’s a good source of advertising. That means when the booking website says “only one room left on this site” or “no availability”, they mean their website, not the hotel, which may still have rooms for direct bookings. When you try to book too far in advance, “no availability” can also mean the hotel hasn’t started taking bookings for that date yet, not that they are sold out. Contacting the hotel directly can clear up these matters.
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 01:01 AM
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One other thing I remembered. Booking is forcing all hotels to show an all in price. No surprises at the check in desk. Taxes,resort fees or whatever. Something else the hotels don't like.
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Traveler_Nick View Post
One other thing I remembered. Booking is forcing all hotels to show an all in price. No surprises at the check in desk. Taxes,resort fees or whatever. Something else the hotels don't like.
Iíve never seen any surprises when booking directly with Swiss hotels.
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 02:15 AM
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Booking.com is great if you are in a hurry and a panic or you just want an overview

I find using Google Maps is actually better to find the type of hotel I want as I like to mix it up a bit with gite, B&B, chambre d'hote etc which Booking.com is less good at as it focuses a fair bit on international market.

Prices direct are often the same or less and obviously there will be missmatches on availability which the cunning shopper can use.

I've tried to use Hotels over a few years and I've even run the two side by side and Booking.com is just better in the areas I holiday in Europe.

I've never been hit by "other" fees in Europe. In reality who would bother to pay them? In Europe "the deal is the deal" is very much the order of the day. I did once run into a company trying it many many years ago for a tourist tax fee when I'd paid for a full cycling tour and I just referred the hotel to the tour company, end of.

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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 02:24 AM
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I have rarely found that "it is usually cheaper" to book direct with the hotel. At least that is the case in the U.K. Europe , Asia and South America. The exception to that rule are usually for the bigger hotel chains like say Accor, Hilton where it is invariably cheaper to book direct as long as you join the appropriate members programme. Recently, we stayed at a hotel which was part of a small group (3 hotels ) through booking.com which was 15% cheaper than the direct price and found that the offer of a £50 restaurant credit for stays of two nights or more didn’t apply to reservations through third parties. I complained as it made no reference to the method of booking in the T&Cs and got a refund.

To be fair the difference in rate was perhaps down to me getting a booking.com "Genius" discount. That can often make a big difference as other perks sometimes include free, breakfast or room upgrade or late checkout etc.
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 02:24 AM
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I often move around when travelling, so have multiple hotel bookings. It's certainly easier having all bookings in one place in one app. Even before covid I always booked with Booking.com's clear up-front 'Free cancellation' policy so I can change my plans, or hold accommodation while I do further research and maybe find a better hotel, or just to minimise risk. Hotel's own sites may offer this, but shown in different formats, sometimes you have to hunt for it and read all the Ts & Cs to see what the cancellation policy is. Sometimes if you book direct with the hotel you can only cancel by email, which means more uncertainty if the cancelation deadline is approaching in case they miss the email - on Booking.com I know it's automated and I can cancel instantly online in the app.

I sometimes check price differences, if it's only a pound or two I'll stick with booking.com and keep all my hotel bookings in one place, if it's significant I might use the hotel's own site. Causes panic occasionally when it's not in the Booking.com app and I can't remember where I've booked it!

Last edited by Man_in_seat_61; Jul 28th, 2021 at 02:28 AM.
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post

I've never been hit by "other" fees in Europe. In reality who would bother to pay them? .
The other fees can be hotel imposed or it can be things like the Italian city taxes. For awhile now if you booked on booking.com anything that might be considered mandatory has been included in the prices.


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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 03:43 AM
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I agree Nick, but I'm kinder of used to the Italian and French tourist tax, just part of life.

The cancellation fee free is a real benefit when we cycle tour as sometimes Mrs B just can't get up those hills ;-) but seldom used.
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 04:00 AM
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I agree man in seat 61. Having everything in the one place is a definite plus. On our last trip to South Africa, I can remember searching for ages for one reservation on booking.com only to find that I had booked direct!! The other thing which seems peculiar to South Africa, either with booking.com or direct bookings is that the cancellation terms seem particularly onerous - payment up front, no refunds within 28 days etc..

PS love your website! It has been my train travel go to resource for countless trips around Asia for many years. I really don’t know how you keep a handle on all that information!
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 06:13 AM
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I've just finished booking two separate month long trips to Europe. I checked Booking.com first, and in all but two cases their prices for apartments were higher and their cancellation policies more strict for the properties I was interested in, so I contacted the apartments and booked directly with them.

I agree that having all bookings on one site is very convenient, but in this case, the cancellation polices were just to strict for us (some as much as 30 day out) . I found that the apartment owners were much more flexible with cancellation and easier to work with given the COVID situation. A few of the apartment owners have agreed to forgo deposits and cancellation polices altogether and accept payment on arrival. It never hurts to ask.
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8 View Post
I've just finished booking two separate month long trips to Europe. I checked Booking.com first, and in all but two cases their prices for apartments were higher and their cancellation policies more strict for the properties I was interested in, so I contacted the apartments and booked directly with them.

I agree that having all bookings on one site is very convenient, but in this case, the cancellation polices were just to strict for us (some as much as 30 day out) . I found that the apartment owners were much more flexible with cancellation and easier to work with given the COVID situation. A few of the apartment owners have agreed to forgo deposits and cancellation polices altogether and accept payment on arrival. It never hurts to ask.
Funny, I find that the hotel policies are sometimes a bit more flexible on booking.com, but I've never booked an apartment through booking.com, but have used VRBO and airbnb. Prices for hotels are sometimes the same, sometimes different - in fact, I've occasionally found hotel prices that are less expensive than the website! I do go back and forth between using booking.com and booking directly - I love the convenience of having everything in one place, especially when there are so many cancellations. But sometimes, I can get a better price or other benefit from booking directly through the hotel website.

It's a mixed bag but I do love the convenience of using booking.com and use it frequently.
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 06:36 AM
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I've not found booking direct cheaper as a rule, esp not with the US. I generally find the opposite. If I'm booking a hotel, I will check the direct price vs booking.com and decide where to book, you cannot say 100% of the time it is best to book one way or another as each transaction is different. The cancellation policies can be more favourable booking thru booking.com or similar sites than direct.
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 08:50 AM
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One thing I really like about booking.com is that every hotel or apartment, in whatever city, in whatever country, will have the same information presented in the same way. Whether you want a specific view, or to be close to the center, or to be on the outskirts, or to have a mini-bar, or to have free parking, or wifi, or a free shuttle, or 2 twin beds, or a queen bed, etc.... it will be clear. There won't be any guesswork.

On individual hotel sites, they may list rooms by size or by description as "privileged" or "deluxe" or "superior" or "economy," with vague and subjective info. They may say the property is "central," when it's a 4-block walk to the center. And they may say they have wifi, then charge you for it.

I really appreciate having more info presented in a uniform way so I can make an informed decision.

s
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8 View Post
I've just finished booking two separate month long trips to Europe. I checked Booking.com first, and in all but two cases their prices for apartments were higher and their cancellation policies more strict for the properties
That's all set by the host. The OP mentioned the fee the hosts need to pay. You'll see some apartments hiking the price to make that up.

But I wouldn't count on the apartments in general having more favorable policies. If anything last year many have been the exact opposite.
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 11:29 PM
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I'd like to book directly, in theory, but having every booking in one place - as has been mentioned - is invaluable. It's also great to have that history. When friends ask questions like, what was that hotel you loved in Istanbul from ten years ago? I can find the answer.

I also appreciate that only real people can leave reviews, unlike other search engines online.
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 11:32 PM
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I keep my itineraries in an app eg Tripcase so I can view past itineraries no matter how/where they were booked.
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Old Jul 29th, 2021, 04:21 AM
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swandav makes a good point on the description. Every so often bookings offer a "unknow hotel" with a description at a super low price. If you copy and search on the description you can find the actual hotel and see if it is worth it for you.
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