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Booking hotels directly vs. booking through web

Booking hotels directly vs. booking through web

Old Jul 5th, 2001, 08:46 AM
Kamal D
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Booking hotels directly vs. booking through web

I checked various hotel booking sites and noted their rates. Then I called up the hotels in Switzerland and found that the rates quoted directly by the hotels are cheaper !!! Has anyone else experienced the same thing ? I found it strange probably because, in the US, website rates and those booked through travel agencies are much cheaper.
Old Jul 5th, 2001, 09:10 AM
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I don't think there's any hard and fast rule about which method always gives the cheaper quotes, but I always check with the hotel directly when I can.
They are on the premises, they know what they've got available, and they know on the spot what "deal", if any, they're prepared to make in order to fill the room.
Old Jul 5th, 2001, 09:51 AM
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We always book directly with the hotel, whether by phone, fax or email. So often websites come back to say the hotel is fully booked, but on enquiring directly with the hotel there is room. Not quite what you were enquiring about I know, but something else to consider.
Old Jul 8th, 2001, 09:16 AM
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I had eexperienced the same situation recently, I booked the hotel California via Expedia for 220SF per night, and after that I found their site where they offered the same amenities for 171SF. I switched my reservation to the lattest.
I wonder why I have never seen this name mentioned. Had anyone stayed there? Any feedback, please?
Old Jul 8th, 2001, 10:06 AM
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Larisa: I suppose you are talking about the "California" in Zurich. Well, it's located in the entertainment area of Zurich called "Niederdorf". A basic 3-star place on a pedestrian street. A lot of restaurants, bars and cinemas in that particular area.
In the same house as the hotel, Schifflände 18, there is sort of an American restaurant/bar called "Papa Joe" with tables on the sidewalk. Traffic noise is not an issue, but pedestrians staying up late and talking and laughing around. If you are a younger person, you will like the place. It's in the middle of all accross the Limmat River and only a few steps from the lake. You will be able to walk to almost everything.
For further info about Zurich, check out: www.zurichtourism.ch and go to the English version.
Have fun in Zurich. Are you gonna be here for the street parade on August 11?
Old Jul 8th, 2001, 10:31 AM
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European booking sites are not consolidators like many in the US. They act merely as agents(intermediaries) for the hotels. They take your "request" for a reservation and forward it to the hotel. The hotel sometimes takes several days to reply. These sites will generally quote you the highest standard rate for the hotel. They get a commission from the hotel for their services.
Often(not always) you can get a better rate or discounts(eg. for long term stay) by contacting the hotel directly. The rub is that probably most hotels in Europe do not have their own web-site or may be very difficult to contact directly. Thus, the use of agency booking. Also: prices at European hotels don't have all of the various rates we are used to. They tend to just have one rate for everyone(some also have a business rate) and this is the same on weekdays, weekends etc. They don't price like US hotels. So, other than long term stay(usually over 5 days) discounts are not common.
Lastly: The booking site information tends to b several days behind actual availability. The site may show the room available when it is not and vice versa. You won't know for sure until you get your confirmation.
It is always best to check directly with the hotel if you can.
Old Jul 9th, 2001, 03:47 PM
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Ursule,thanks a lot for the answer.
Noise is not a problem.My husband and me are far from youngsters, we actually have a son of 23, but we are the real travellers at heart and like it when the life is boiling around.
I selected the hotel California based on the location on the map, which is exactly what I wanted, and the final price is great, but I wanted to make sure it is not a dump. Sometimes it happens to you in Europe where the standards differ from American.
Unfortunately we will miss the street parage. We will travel around the Labor day. Thanks again, Ursula. I read a lot ofyour tips, they are very helpful.
Old Jul 9th, 2001, 05:48 PM
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I booked a hotel in Sicily through Travelocity. When I emailed the hotel to confirm reservation, I was advised to cancel and rebook. I saved $30 per night.

I had a similar experience when booking a parador in Spain through its U.S. agent. It was much cheaper when I called the parador.
Old Jul 10th, 2001, 12:31 AM
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Larisa: Well, it may be an advantage your not being here on August 11 for the Street Parade! It's a techno music parade and the whole area around the lake is litteraly shaking from noise all night long. I will not be here, because all that noise is like an earthquake in our house close the lake. Besides that, public transportation is limited that day and they do expect about 1 million (1'000'000; is that a billion in English?) visitors for that particular day.
I see from my Zurich hotel guide, that the "California" has A/C. This might be an asset beginning September which usually is still quite warm here.
Yes, and I found the hotel's webpage:

Come back, if you need further help. I shall check the board later this day. I am quite busy at work right now...
Old Jul 12th, 2001, 12:20 PM
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Ursula, thanks again.
I booked California hotel through this site. Their pictures feature quite decent accomodation, but then again, in May I booked hotel Normandy in Paris because I loved the pictures. The Normandy has an excellent location and is advertised as 4*. Priced accordingly. In reality it is hardly 2*.
The service was terrible, the room huge but dumpy, instead of pictured furniture in LouisXIV style something undescribable.
That's why this time I wanted to get some feedback.
Ursula, I see you are the Zurich resident, please suggest some decent restaurants, but not in the most expensive range. Exclusive restaurants require the appropriate dressing, accessories, etc. We are just curious travellers, who want to see the world, but not to show off.
I would appreciate any suggestion on Zurich and surroundings. Do you thing it is worthy to travel to Geneva in the morning back at night. For us 3 hours each way is not a problem, if the city is beautiful
Old Jul 13th, 2001, 05:56 AM
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You will find a lot of restaurants close to your hotel. I do not know what you like to eat, so I better don't suggest whatsoever. And my taste is likely to be different from your. Just follow your eyes and nose.

One of my favourites is "Stärne Föify" formerly known as "Vorderer Sternen" (a nice casual, very moderate prices) and open on Sundays) right at the Bellevueplatz, next to it is the most famous sausage place in town. You can't miss it, it's always crowded.
Geneva can be done in one day. However, it's a total of 6 hours on the train. I'd suggest Fribourg, Neuchâtel, Murten, Biel which are closer.

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