When booking accomodation is it best to book online through the hotels official web site, book through an online site such as hotels.com, or through an agent at home? Which method is most reliable and value for money?
Opinions and hints greatly appreciated!
I always book online & have not had any problems. I never book through an agent. I generally check a few websites for the hotel to check they list the same facilities, & the same location etc etc..
I can't recall ever having booked through an agent. I either show up and try and find a place (if my stay is for longer and I am flexible) or when it's business, I usually book in advance online...
Generally I am pretty late in booking so choose online systems that offer immediate guaranteed booking confirmations, which a lot of the hotel systems don't (i think hotels.com doesn't for example).
Considering my own interest in this site , the last years I have only booked accommodation here on Travellerspoint through either the budget accommodation area or the last minute booking area (especially with the last minute bookings where I am after a private room/bathroom I have been very happy with their often discount last minute rates).
For group travel, online booking still remains incredibly tricky though...
That's my 2p
ps. an agent at home will most likely also include their service fee for any booking. If you are talking about only a one or two night booking, this could really add up as these fees are generally 10 EUR + per booking. As online systems are fully automated, the fee is generally quite a bit lower (half that I'd say...).
If you add on a flight and some other things, it becomes worth it quicker and for package deals agents can definitely offer great rates!
Another plus to booking online is that you can take advantage of specials that are offered online only. I booked online two trips ago, and when I compared with the same hotel through an agent, the price had gone up about 15$ per night. As for the different sites you can book through, sometimes it's beneficial to book through the hotel's site itself (if the hotel has one), and other times a travel website will offer a better price. It's worth it to shop around when you're on the web!