With over a billion dollar marketing budget, it is hard to ignore Expedia, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Hotwire ,Trivago, Priceline and of course, Booking.com. Every time you sit down to watch Game of Thrones or The Big Bang Theory, there is at least one commercial telling us how great they are. I am not going to go into the logistics today on if hoteliers like or dislike them, but I will tell you, we prefer you to book direct and we love our loyalty members. Why? I am glad you asked.
1. We Can Accommodate your Requests Easier– Booking direct through the hotel’s website allows us to see your profile in our system before you check in. Most brands allow you to build a profile telling us where you prefer your room placement. You want a room on the first floor away from the elevator? No problem! You want a room facing that gorgeous Mountain View! We can most likely accommodate you. If you book through a 3rd party site such as any of those I mentioned above, it is harder for us to see your requests because they are not in our faces when you check in. Also, if a brand Member checks in wanting that room on the first floor away from the elevator and we are almost sold out (this happens more often than you would think), we are going to give the room to our loyal member and not the person that will most likely not be back to our hotel.
2. Cancellation– Something came up and you can’t make your trip? No problem. Give us a call within 24-48 hours of your check-in date and we can cancel your reservation without any hassle. Book on a third party site? Let me paint a picture for you.
You’re upset and flustered due to the unforeseen life changing event that is causing you to cancel. You call the hotel in a panic to cancel and unfortunately the hotel has to turn you away to call the site that you booked your hotel through. The front desk agent that answered the phone hears that you are very upset and feels horrible she cannot take care of this, so she gives you the number to the website you booked through. Now you are on hold with the 1-800 cancel number. After 5 minutes of elevator music, a customer service agent answers the phone, let’s name him Raj. You explain your situation and Raj pulls up your reservation. Raj says, “I am sorry, you booked a non-refundable advanced purchase rate (that’s why you think you got a deal) and you can’t cancel without having to pay for the first night of your reservation.” You ask “Is there anything you can do about this?” Raj tells you, “Let me put you on hold.” While you are listening to more elevator music, Raj is calling the hotel, yes the hotel you just got off the phone with. He asks “A guest would like to cancel, will you accept to not charge them the cancellation fee?” The hotel replies “no.” Raj replies “O.K. Thank you.” That’s it. He just heard your story and doesn’t go to bat for you. He get’s back on the phone and says “I am sorry, but they will not cancel your reservation without the fee.” What can you do now? Nothing but pay the fee.
Canceling when you book direct gives you the freedom to take care of the problem yourself and most likely avoid any cancelation fees.
3. Rewards Points: Hotel rewards points are seriously one of the greatest things ever invented. Yes, it is true, 3rd party sites do have a rewards system, but you can ONLY use rewards on their website. Also, is a representative from the 3rd party site going to check you into a hotel like this? “Hello and Welcome to the most amazing hotel you will ever stay at. I see you are a Loyalty Member with us. To thank you I would like to offer you either extra points for your stay or a beverage and snack, which would you prefer? Great, extra points,that is what I would choose too. Did know you can spend these on Amazon or even an Uber ride? I see in your profile you would like a room on the top floor next to the stairs for easy access, is this still where you would prefer? Great, I have the perfect room for you. Here is your room key, breakfast is complimentary and please remember since you are a rewards member with us you will receive free upgraded WiFi. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to accommodate you during your visit.”
Nope, they sure are not. They are too busy fixing their broken sites and finding lost reservations.
Hotel brand rewards points offer so much more. Not only can you get the best rate when you are a rewards member and book direct, you can use your points for the finer things in life. Yes, your points rack up to a free night stay, but if you would rather spend them on Starbucks, Amazon, Uber, or Airline miles, you can! The best part about all of this is signing up for a loyalty membership is free.
I could go on and on with other perks to dealing with hotels directly, but I feel these 3 points are strong enough to leave it where it is. If you have questions, comments or doubts, leave me a message and remember, BOOK DIRECT!