Do you book your hotel directly at the hotel’s web page, or do you go to an online booking agent, like Booking.com, Hotels.com or Momondo? Either way, here is new information from a report that shows that booking a hotel room via an online agent is often cheaper than booking it directly on the hotel’s reservation system.
|Least expensive booking option||No. of hotels||% of hotels||Average % price below others|
|Online booking site||18||21%||4.20%|
|Directly from hotel||11||13%||3.80%|
*In 14 cases, one of the hotel chains did not have hotels in the cities included in the sample
Source: Piper Jaffray and Company Websites
Online services that provide hotel rooms across the world proved to have lower prices than booking a room directly from a hotel. The analysts did not take hotels’ potential loyalty car member discounts into account. They compared 86 hotel prices in 25 cities.
Hotel chains have been pushing customer loyalty cards for years – I have a few also – but they may reach only the most loyal customers. Most travelers click around the Internet until they settle for a hotel that satisfies everyone.
It would be a fascinating subject for another research to try and find out how people choose a hotel when they haven’t booked a room beforehand. The scenario is, for instance, that you are driving from country to country in Europe, but don’t have a fixed itinerary. The way I do it: I book the next hotel room the day before, or even in the morning when I have to check out from the hotel I am staying. I still have a Wi-Fi connection, so I can access the Internet, compare hotels, and where they are located. This method has worked well for me – maximum flexibility, but I still have a room waiting in the evening.
Some hotels, like Red Lion Hotels Corporation (RLHC), are offering online booking sites member-only rates. Red Lion Hotels CMO Bill Linehan told:
“You know, consumers click around,” Linehan said, adding that trying to change consumer behavior — to shift travelers away from booking on sites like Expedia or Booking.com — is in some ways futile. “In fact, there’s a recent study that, particularly for leisure travel, 45 days out from their travel, [consumers] click around 140 times,” Linehan said. “That’s a lot of clicking around. This information is available to us on multiple devices and every place we are all the time. Recognizing that an online travel agent is where consumers go to book, isn’t that a mass-market merchant marketplace?”