Have you had enough of paying through the nose for your hotel accommodation? Would you like to find out how to reduce the amount you pay for hotel rooms by between 10% and 20%? All you need to do is momentarily take your fingers off of that keyboard and make a good old-fashioned phone call.
I wrote this blog on the back of an article I saw in Skift about how it doesn’t pay to book direct. Consider this a response on behalf of someone who has run their own hospitality business. I want to tell you the greatest secret of the hospitality industry: how you can save money by booking directly. Before we do that, however, we do need that keyboard for another minute. Follow these simple instructions and start to enjoy those cheaper rates.
First, select your accommodation by looking at reviews on TripAdvisor. It’s important to pay attention to reviews when you’re booking a hotel of any kind. Then, go to your usual online hotel booking website, be that Booking.com, Expedia, Trivago, or one of the many other websites out there. Then, select the independent hotel you want to stay in and the dates you want to stay, as you normally would. Bear in mind you must select an “independent” hotel. This method will NOT work if you want to stay in a chain hotel like a Hilton, Marriott, or Travelodge.
Once you’ve selected the dates of your preferred stay, your room choice, and the rates, highlight this information and make a note of it. Note the name of the accommodation, too. But don’t confirm the reservation! Just figure out when the room you want is available and what you’d be charged for booking online.
Next, open up Google and find your accommodation’s website. This bit’s very simple. All you’re looking for is the accommodation’s phone number. Once you have that, arm yourself with the rate you took down earlier and give that business a call. Be clear from the off. Explain that you would like to stay at their property and that you discovered them on website X. Tell them the dates you want to stay and ask them for their best “offline price”. Say exactly this: “I want to book with your place because it looks excellent. I was going to go through an online website, but I wanted to come to you directly.”
“Why would this get you a better rate?” I hear you say. The answer is simple.
It is absolutely free for a hotel to sign up with a huge booking website. However, that middleman also charges the accommodation owner a commission of between 10% and 20% on every booking.
The accommodation owner has two choices: they can either reduce their prices in order to accommodate the commission, meaning they will ultimately take in less money, or they can simply add the cost of the commission to their usual rates. The majority tend to use the latter strategy, so if you call them directly for an offline rate, the savings are all yours!
Now, sometimes the property in question doesn’t have an offline rate, but naively maintains the same price online and offline. Sometimes, when you call them, they refuse to budge on price and won’t give you a special offer. If this happens, more fool them. Go back to the big booking website, book through them, and then pass your hotel’s information on to me, as I need to be speaking to those owners! (Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
If you follow these very simple methods, you will save money!
Maybe you already have a hotel room booked on Booking.com, or maybe your stay is coming up in a few weeks’ or months’ time. Why now drop a call into the hotel now and ask them about cancelling and re-booking directly through them for a lower rate? There’s no harm in trying, hey!?