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hotel direct or booking sites

Old May 11th, 2011, 06:59 AM
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hotel direct or booking sites

Just wondering if fellow Fodorites are finding better prices these days on booking sites as opposed to booking directly with hotels (specifically in Italy). I'm not talking about priceline or bidding sites - I'm talking about hotels listed on Orbitz, Expedia, venere and the like. I usually use Tripadvisor to find my hotel and then book direct but maybe I am missing out on deals!?
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Old May 11th, 2011, 07:31 AM
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I found while booking this next trip to Italy that some hotels do not have their own websites and it is not possible to reserve them unless you go to a site such as booking.com or hotels.com. I assume these are the kind of sites you are mentioning.

This trip I found that some of the hotels are listed on their own website and also on others. I usually check both for prices and book where I get the best deal.

For instance. The price for the Hilton Garden Inn at FCO, although listed on booking.com, was much less expensive on the Hilton site and also included breakfast.

So start with a site you are familiar with like say Orbitz and always check the hotel website if it is available.
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Old May 11th, 2011, 07:54 AM
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personally i compare prices on several booking engines like booking.com, vebere, expedia etc, and then i call the hotels that i am interested in to bargain... and yes very often this works....not with hotels of the main chains such as Accor etc but with hotels that are indipendent....
Of course you shouldn't try it during a peak period, where all hotels are fully booked anyway
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Old Aug 17th, 2011, 11:29 PM
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I have been told that booking.com takes some 20% of the announced price on a hotel reservation, expedia 30%.
Has anyone tried to use this as an argument to discuss directly with the hotel?
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 06:48 AM
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baldrick, some hotels are acting in a professional way and don't accept to lower their rate, in many cases though they do lower their price. Especially smaller hotels.
As for booking.com they take a commission of usually 15%, 20 % is the commission they ask to put on the top 5 of the results......
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 07:08 AM
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nothing wrong with booking.com; if they offer better deal take it
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 07:33 AM
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Yup! Got great prices on a nice hotel in Rome near airport www.booking.com I've had great results on Venere.com as well.
Good luck
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 07:57 AM
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Hotels don't necessarily make their best rooms available to booking sites. So if you want a room with a view or a quiet room or a bigger room, the best way to get it is communicating directly with the hotel. And they'll appreciate you more as a client for whom they didn't have to pay a fee to a booking site.
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 02:50 PM
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I normally check the booking sites, hotels.com, booking.com, venere.com, and then the hotel directly before picking the cheapest rate. I also check out the reviews and tripadvisor too.
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Old Aug 19th, 2011, 01:45 AM
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Thanks for the info. Sorry in a way to have hijacked suec1's post, but I found my question to be on the same line.
I do not intend to squeeze the last penny out of hotel owner's pockets, but would more likely try to get rid of the booking site in the transaction and try to make it profitable for both the hotel owner and myself...
I agree hotels don't necessarily make their best rooms available to booking sites.
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Old Aug 19th, 2011, 04:42 AM
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@ baldrick
on the other hand, if something happens ( an overbooking), it is easier for the hotelier to pass it on to the indivual traveller, who booked directly..
Unfortunately as an individual traveller, your power is quite limited in such a situation,when if you have booked through a site or atravel agent/tour operator you would have their protection....
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Old Aug 19th, 2011, 04:50 AM
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Personally, I tend to look at Expedia first, if only to get an overview of the market and what properties are available. I will check other sources for the hotels I like, but then book with whoever has the best price for that property.

Hotels don't necessarily make their best rooms available to booking sites. So if you want a room with a view or a quiet room or a bigger room, the best way to get it is communicating directly with the hotel. And they'll appreciate you more as a client for whom they didn't have to pay a fee to a booking site.

Not always. Many hotels provide customers of preferred agencies with extra benefits. I've certainly benefited from room upgrades, late checkouts, comped breakfasts, and the like from booking with an agent.

To the extent that an agent can deliver a hotel significant volume (remember that many businesses use agencies), hotels may be more than happy to pay a cut to the agent. One should also remember that customer acquisition costs money, even if you do it in house, and that pushing bookings to agents can be a way to effectively outsource much of that work.
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Old Aug 19th, 2011, 05:35 AM
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For some properties sites like booking.com offer different room options (sea view, larger room, suite, etc) at a different price. Frankly I think any issues with rooms can be better resolved locally regardless how the room was booked. On my last trip I booked 3 different properties thru 3 different online sites and got exactly what was booked.
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Old Aug 19th, 2011, 07:32 AM
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If you do some homework and depending on the city you can get great deals using http://www.betterbidding.com in conjunction with Priceline's Name Your Own Price or Hotwire.

Case in point... in Toronto last week we stayed at the Westin Prince on a Priceline bid for just $98 a night. The lowest price
on the Westin site was almost $200. Would I have got a better deal by phoning the hotel? I doubt a clerk would have the authority to go as low as under 100 dollars.

The beauty of this deal was the hotel was located perfectly for us and as it is the only 4 star property in that zone I knew which hotel I'd get in advance. Win win.

I've also had excellent results for hotels in Montreal and Paris using PL and Hotwire.

See the TripAdvisor forum for stellar deals using PL in Amsterdam... 2 people can often get a 4 star hotel for less than a hostel would cost! Really.
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Old Dec 27th, 2012, 06:54 AM
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For price comparisons I usually use hotelscombined.com however it searches only online booking sites & not vendor's own. Recently I booked Marriott property thru booking.com but later discovered better price on Marriott's site. Booking matched the price even while the transaction was non-refundable. As others said prices are time sensitive; presently I see lots of discounts for advanced bookings, for example now most Mercure hotels are 40% off & Ibis - 30% off on vendor site.
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Old Dec 27th, 2012, 07:39 AM
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I normally check the booking sites, hotels.com, booking.com, venere.com, and then the hotel directly before picking the cheapest rate. I also check out the reviews and tripadvisor too.>>

me too.

I like websites like booking.com because you get the reviews plus the free cancellation terms, which many hotels don't offer.

once i've identified my hotel, i tend to go with the cheapest deal I can get.

just before Christmas i was looking for a late minute room and tried a local not very special B&B - they wanted the same as the very nice 3 star hotel round the corner whose rate I had already checked on line and wouldn't negotiate. Guess where I went?
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Old Dec 27th, 2012, 09:02 AM
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I do both. They offer different benefit / cost depending relevant to each trip.

The price: Difference is not always one way or the other. Need to look at each case.

Reservation guarantee: It is trivial using booking.com. Smaller hotels without SSL reservation sites require CC info to be transmitted over unsecure media. This require splitting data so wrong address/FAX does not transmit all the CC info all at once.

Cancellation: Sometimes I need to make hotel reservations ahead of the flights due to uncertain project completion dates and the hotel vacancy is tight. It is much easier to change reservation using online booking sites provided I booked refundable rooms.
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