Related to the Switzerland thread I started

Travel Forums Europe Related to the Switzerland thread I started

1. Posted by OldPro (Inactive 400 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I am not a fan of third party booking sites and see them as no better than a parasite. No pun intended.

I just took a look to see what some of them would offer me for the hotel I mentioned on the thread re Switzerland not being more expensive.

The example is a hotel offering a room for 2 people at $78 CAD per night, w/breakfast, during April/May.

Here is some info on what some third party booking sites shows for this same hotel, in the same time period. I checked for 5 nights, April 10-15th on Booking.com and got a price of $557 compared to the $390 the hotel is offering me. $167 more!

On Hotels.com, they show no availability for those dates! That means Hotels.com/ have no availability to offer, it does not mean the hotel has no availability. A difference many people don't even understand is often what you are seeing on third party booking sites.

Expedia shows 'sold out'. Again, not true. The hotel is not sold out, Expedia are talking about what Expedia have to offer, not the hotel.

Kayak shows $108 vs. my $78 it is in fact quoting on a link from Kayak to Booking.com. Travelocity is at least honest in saying 'We' are sold out.

So much for the much vaunted third party booking sites well advertised, 'we find you the best prices for your hotel' etc. They find you only the best price they have access to for the hotels they have listings for. They don't necessarily have better prices than the hotel will offer you. They have no prices for hotels they don't list and which may actually be better value for money than some of the hotels they do list.

I book directly with hotels and avoid paying the middle man. That to me is simple common sense.

[ Edit: Edited on 02-Feb-2017, at 13:32 by OldPro ]

2. Posted by Tabithag (Full Member 124 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I find that it all depends on the particular venue and when you want to go.

Sometimes booking direct is better, especially if you are going back to somewhere you've been before and get deals from them. The hostel were are in now in Chile, we had stayed in before and are staying six weeks, so we contacted them direct and got a better deal from them than we could have got through any of the agents.

However, I booked a hotel in Jordan yesterday, on booking.com, which was £200 for the stay, compared with the best price on the hotel website being £390 for the same stay.

Plus, because we use a number of sites regularly, we also get sent discount deals, that add up to free nights, which can make them better value, even if the direct booking initially seemed cheaper.

3. Posted by OldPro (Inactive 400 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I have done similar checks in the past Tabithag and have never found a lower price on any third party booking site than I could negotiate in person either beforehand or on arrival.

I always phone and negotiate a price 'in person' so to speak or just show up and negotiate a price actually face to face on arrival. I never book online, I only use online sites to establish a baseline price. The key words are, 'in person' and 'negotiate'. Most people don't negotiate, they simply book online.

Simple logic tells you that if Booking.com is offering you a price of 200, they are paying the hotel less than 200. They have to make a profit. So let's say the hotel is selling to them at 175. There is a spread of 25 there. If you phone the hotel and say you want to pay 190, what do you think the hotel will say?

Negotiating is all about knowing how to negotiate and what there is to negotiate with.

There is also a difference in what you get when you book direct 'in person' vs. online. For that, I suggest anyone who travels much read the book 'Heads in Beds' which was written by Jacob Tomsky, a hotel industry insider. He makes it very clear how those who book through third party sites do not get the same product/service as those who book directly or 'in person'.

You are referring only to booking online and comparing what you will get online. Even your comment about discount deals, you are referring to online only.

The only real reason why anyone could not negotiate a better price in person is if they simply have no negotiating skills at all. But those are learnable!

-snip-

[ Edit: Removed derogatory comment. ]

4. Posted by Tabithag (Full Member 124 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Choosing to always negotiate in person is an entirely different issue to just booking direct. Some people like to negotiate the price of everything, everywhere, and get immense satisfaction from getting any amount off, however small it may be. That's fine, I don't criticise someone for choosing to have different priorities.

Personally, I value my time more than the saving that could be made. I will negotiate when the situation merits it, but realistically, if I am content with the value of the price I am getting, I have no interest in phoning every place we stay, making it through the language barrier, and haggling a price.

You may choose, in your wonderfully pleasant way, to label me, and thousands like me, as a lazy, uninformed sucker, but in fact I choose to use a service that saves me time that I can better spend on things that interest me more. On which point, I certainly won't choose to waste any further time on discussions with someone who clearly just enjoys trying to antagonise people.

5. Posted by OldPro (Inactive 400 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

LOL, don't take it personally Tabithag. If you choose to book online vs. making a 5 minute Skype call, that's your choice to make.

If you recognize that a better price probably could be negotiated in person but choose not to do so, that's fine by me. You aren't disagreeing with my premise, you are simply saying you choose not to negotiate.

What I'm saying though is that those who think they are getting the 'best' price as the third party sites love to advertise they are giving them, are wrong. They are booking without knowing they are not getting the 'best' price and all I am trying to do is educate them to that reality.