When booking a hotel, a wide majority of guests use online booking platforms such as Booking.com, Expedia or Hotel.com. Did you know that nearly one out of two reservations is cancelled? We thought it would be helpful to provide answers to three important questions:
- Is the service free and are guests guaranteed reservations at the best price?
- Is the quality of information reliable?
- Is cancellation easier than on other sales platforms?
This article is intended to provide you with useful information for the fastest, best informed and best priced reservations.
Is the service free and are guests guaranteed reservations at the best price?
There are no service fees for guests on any online reservation platform. However, as you know, online reservation platforms are third parties which require remuneration for their services. The hotel is invoiced for 15% to 20% of a room’s price. Like many other online services, fees are invisible to internet users yet they are substantial enough to affect final room prices. No business can maintain the same quality of service while paying 15% to 20% of revenue to a third party. In short, when you pay €100 for a room booked online, you are indirectly paying €15 in reservation fees.
It is easy to understand why a hotel has everything to gain when a guest reserves a room directly from the hotel rather than via a third party. That is why there is a difference of 10% to 15% in prices published on a hotel’s website and on an online reservation platform.
Hotels also frequently offer exclusive promotions reserved for direct sales in order to develop client loyalty. Also, upgrading, or giving a guest a room in a superior category when it is available, is rarely offered to guests who reserve via a reservation platform because the margin is lower. Guests who reserve directly are more frequently upgraded, which also has the advantage of developing client loyalty.
Is the quality of collected information reliable?
Two types of information collected on a reservation platform should be considered with reserve:
- The order of presentation of hotels does not always meet sorting criteria (price, distance, customer reviews…) but sometimes depends on “added products” chosen by hotels or the number of bookings via the platform.
- Before eliminating a hotel, note that room availability on a booking platform may not be accurate because hotels do not always want to offer all of their rooms for booking on a platform.
Is cancellation easier than on other sales platforms?
Purchase comfort, whether secure transactions or the possibility of cancellation, has become standardized. Almost all direct online hotel bookings are made through specialized service providers that offer maximum security and guarantee free cancellation if done at least 48 hours before the date of arrival.
It is mandatory for cancellation policies to be published and consultable when booking.
In short, the smart traveler knows that he/she can benefit from the power of large online booking platforms to provide search comfort, easy comparison, customer reviews, and multiple sorting criteria to help find hotels that meet his/her demands.
The wise traveler will then go directly to the hotel’s website to get the best price, to know current room availability and find all desired additional information. Good luck on your search!