Booking hotels directly or via 3rd party platforms?


With DIY and customized travel all the range these days, with just a simple click of a button; everything and anything can be booked online. Gone are the days where travelers were reliant on travel agents, or unable to find the contact details of an accommodation easily.

If you are looking for the best deal and getting your money’s worth, would booking direct with the accommodation better or using a third party website like Expedia or Agoda better? 

Well, that would depend on what your priorities are. If you are trying to earn loyalty points with a particular hotel chain, or if your travel plans are prone to changes, than booking directly with the hotel may be the better option as it offers more flexibility (e.g. change of dates and the option to pay upon checking in or out). Ad with hotel promotions and best price guarantees, it might be better sometimes to check with the hotel directly to see if they can match the prices you found online. 

However, if you are looking for a better deal and getting your money’s worth, then using a third party site like Expedia or Agoda, or a price comparison site like (e.g.TripAdvisor and Trivago, and Hotelscombined) might be a better option. Price comparison websites help you compare prices across third party sites (like Expedia, Zuji, Agoda etc…) and they even display the hotel rates too, giving a quick overview of what to expect and how much you probably could save across multiple websites. They give a quick overview to know what to expect and how much you can save. The only catch? With great savings usually come inflexibility (e.g. no changes, no refunds, and payment upfront). 

Here is a simple glance and the differences between 3 price comparison sites, TripAdvisor , Travigo, and Hotelscombined (p.s. for my travels, I personally use Hotelscombined as a platform to check hotel prices, and make my bookings if the price is right):
  1. TripAdvisor has a unique way of categorizing “Hotels”, “B&B and Inns” and “Specialty Lodging”, which often makes it harder to look for a specific desired type of accommodation. But the reviews (and photos) online (best taken with a pinch of salt sometimes) do help tremendously when deciding where to stay.
  2. Travigo tends to have a wider selection of hotels to choose from than TripAdvisor or Hotelscombined and allows you to see prices and ratings all on one map. 
  3. Hotelscombined includes some less known hotel booking sites that will turn up better prices in some cases but of course with some lesser known sites, it might be a little risky to book with them (or they might be totally worth it).

💙 Third Party websites 💙
Usually hotel prices tend to be cheaper on third party sites than if you book directly with the hotels as there are tie-ups with banks to offer credit card discounts for selected hotels. I have had a few stays where I used the discounts available for credit cards and managed to save up to 10%.

For my travels, I would usually check Hotelscombined and the hotel's website (to see if they have special promotions or best price guarantees), for a quick overview and comparison for a better rate before making that final decision. 

Here are some hotel reviews of hotels booked via third party platforms with credit card promotions:

Even if there are no credit card promotions, sometimes it can be cheaper to book via a third party website than the hotel directly. When researching prices and/hotels, it would be best to use a price comparison site like Hotelscombined to get an overview of the rates. Here are some of the hotels I stayed at which had a lower rate from the third party website than the hotel rate at the time:


💛 Hotel (Direct) 💛
Some hotels have a best rate guarantee, so it could be a good idea to do a generic price research for particular dates, and then contact the hotel directly to see if they can offer you the same (cheaper) rate from the third party website. This is where price comparison website Hotelscombined came in really handy. I managed to get some credits, enough to get 2 massages at the hotel’s spa for Novotel Platinum, Bangkok, when it was stated that there was a price guarantee on the website. The process was relatively simple and straightforward.

Of course, sometimes it can also be cheaper to contact the hotel directly or check out their website for any ongoing promotions. For instance, by contacting the hotel directly, I managed to get a promotional rate for Oasia Residence by Far East, Singapore. And when I booked via the mobile website for Dorsett Mongkok Hongkong, I saved up to 35% (the room was small but it was worth the money!)!

💢Tip: Regardless of whether the accommodation was booked via a third party site or directly, I always make it a point to email the reservations team to double-confirm my booking and mention my room preferences; so far, so good.


👉Things to note👈
If you are going to book with a third part website, any changes would be a pain and to resolve (e.g. refunds, change of dates or cancellations are as good as impossible). So always remember to read the fine print, and if you need greater flexibility always book with the hotel directly instead. Without relying on a third party, the hotel can accommodate to your additional requests easily and readily. Of course, you would also be paying a little bit more for that flexibility. 

Which is your preferred platform to book your accommodation when traveling?



 

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About iceprinxess

When travel collides with a byte, a unit of information made up of bits, TravelBytez is formed: snippets of ramblings on travel, food, shopping, living and anything else that comes to mind.

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