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Top Ten Reasons to Book Direct

booking directI’m constantly frustrated when trying to book a hotel that I think I’m going to their website, when in fact I’ve accidentally chosen an online booking company. I know everyone has to make a living but personally I’ve found it frustrating that these sites can appear ahead of the actual company I’m looking for. Personally I have never, ever, booked through one of them – honest!

So when you Google the hotel, or chain you want to stay at, check the URL before clicking on it – dollars to doughnuts it’ll be one of the agency websites that appears near the top.

My question is why would you book through one of those websites? If you love the fact you can search and compare hotels and prices by using one of these sites, far be it for me to tell you not to, but I would suggest you use a degree of caution.

Here are the reasons I like to book direct with the hotel – however I chose that particular establishment.

  1. Better customer service – what is that saying about talking to the organ grinder not the monkey?
  2. Price, I’m always told that you get a better price by booking through online travel agents, but that’s not always correct. I travel a lot and I’ve never once had any trouble getting a hotel to give me the same price as that listed by an online booking site. In fact, the reverse is often true. For instance I’ve come across prices on these online ‘stores’ that are identical to the posted rate at the hotel itself, with one big difference – the hotel is offering an inclusive breakfast and the online price is bed only. SPECIAL NOTE: Always check what currency they are quoting in. With the Canadian dollar as low as it is be careful because often those really “cheap” rates are listed in U.S. funds. Once converted staff 2back to Canadian dollars any discount soon vanishes.
  3. I can discuss with the front desk person (who has intimate knowledge) what types of rooms they have for instance: is there a quieter side of the hotel, can I have a room that is not too close to an elevator, or right above the banqueting suite or night club; do you have a fitness room, hot tub, swimming pool? The list goes on. And, I can ask whether early check-in is available, or late check-out if I need it.
  4. I stay at Accent Inns Richmond whenever I fly out of Vancouver Airport, but I always forget the times of the shuttle bus in between stays, so it’s a standard question every time I book.
  5. Oh, and you get to know the front desk person over the phone so often when you arrive they remember you; especially if you’re a chatty Brit with a distinctive voice like me!
  6. I really like that I have spoken to the hotel itself and it has my booking and I get an email confirmation from them. I’m sure the online booking agencies are reliable but …
  7. The other thing is that I have often had to change my reservation and I’ve got to think that trying to do that online will be more difficult than simply calling the hotel and talking to front desk, or reservations person directly.
  8. I’m a great believer in talking to the front desk of a hotel I want to stay at about things to do in the area – they live there so they know the area personally. It feels sorta bad to have booked with strangers who could be manning a phone anywhere in the world and then expecting the local person to go the extra yard for me.
  9. If you like to stay at the same hotel chain whenever possible, then you should be collecting loyalty points – if you aren’t you should be, they can be very worthwhile. If you want to earn points you have to book direct.
  10. In some cases you may be able to get an upgrade by booking direct – heck it’s always worth asking! And, most hotels have special packages and promotions, which you won’t find on the agency websites!

linda name-tagCall me old fashioned, but I like dealing direct – I’m going to keep calling and talking to real people like Linda at Accent Inns, Victoria, whose title is Ferry Grandmother! Seriously that’s the title she has on her badge – Accent staff can choose their own title and Linda knows the local ferries better than anyone. And she really is a fairy godmother, but that’s another story.


Mike Wicks
Blue Beetle Creative