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Question re etiquette re booking small hotel using booking.com or similar

Question re etiquette re booking small hotel using booking.com or similar

Jan 21st, 2010, 08:42 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2007
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Question re etiquette re booking small hotel using booking.com or similar

In planning to book a small hotel (say, one with between 8-15 cabins or rooms) where the owners are very involved in making a hotel welcoming to guests, I have found a couple that list one price on their website, but if I check booking.com or travbuddy or some other search engine, I can find a price that is significantly (say, 30%) less.

If I ask a couple questions by email about room or excursions available and prices, is it OK to book through booking.com, or will the owners resent my using an internet booking service where I will pay less? Perhaps every place is different but I don't know if there is some kind of etiquette about this and would appreciate thoughts from those who might have insight into this.

Thank you.
curious123 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 09:16 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
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I came across the same thing in Italy. I wrote the hotel and told them I was surprised at the difference between the two prices. They met the lower price.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 09:29 PM
  #3  
 
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There is no reason to feel bad if you book via a booking service vs. directly through the hotel. Pvoyageuse's approach is probably a good solution to your "ethical dilemma", though.

But you should check cancellation policies etc.
Some booking services may require pre-payment or have a strict cancellation policy, while the hotel itself may offer refundable reservations or does not require advance payment. That alone would be worth a significant discount from the hotelier's perspective.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 10:11 PM
  #4  
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Dear Pvoyageuse and Cowboy, Both of your responses are most helpful. Thanks for your quick ideas on this topic.

Curious
curious123 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 12:09 AM
  #5  
 
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I have mentioned to hotels that I have found a cheaper rate on another site, but each time they have said they couldn't match it. So having that experience several times, I now just book the booking site rate, and I have never had a problem. The hotel is not being forced to offer cheaper rates elsewhere, so I don't see an ethical problem.
WillTravel is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 12:12 AM
  #6  
 
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In many cases, a hotel allocates X% of their rooms to a booking site to resell as they wish, perhaps for a fixed fee. So if, at one extreme, the booking site decides to give away free bookings, the hotel will still get paid the negotiated rate. Depending on the hotel's agreement, the X% that is allocated to the booking site is likely not available to the hotel itself, so they have little reason to offer you a matching price.
WillTravel is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 04:01 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Hi; I have used www.booking.com and they are reliable. Usually, you don't pay until your at the hotel. We have also canceled a reservation made thru 'booking' and the cancellation was received the same day. But I think checking with the hotel, asking for the lower price, is still a good idea. I have seen a few posts on Fodors, where people say they received the lower price by checking with the hotel. Richard
iris1745 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 11:25 AM
  #8  
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Thank you for all of these good insights.
curious123 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 01:19 PM
  #9  
 
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Hotels are bound by their contract to offer lower-than-published-rack-rates to third party sites. Please contact the hotel directly and ask if they will honor the lower rate you found online - I'm sure they will do it for you.

I have worked at a small luxury resort in reservations, and we would much prefer to honor the lower rate directly to the guest than to pay the commission to the booking site.

The hotels control the prices themselves, but it's within Expedia's (for example) right to yield a higher rate if they think they can get it (which is rarely done nowadays)

Some much larger hotels may have room allotments dedicated to their online sales, but that's not really feasible for a smaller, intimate property like the one described.
sheri_lp is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 09:29 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
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iris1745 thank you for sharing your experience with booking.com I have never booked with them and I just saw a good rate for a hotel I am interested in and I was sure if booking.com was reliable. Thanks for the first hand knowledge!
Margo_Chester is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 11:01 AM
  #11  
 
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One hotel in Spain told me that while the price charged by booking.com is often cheaper, the hotel themselves keep better rooms themselves (i.e. with balcony, away from noisy street, better amenities or renovated etc), and offer them to direct bookers.
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