Explaining How Online Travel Agencies can Help or Hurt your Travel Experiences
It’s a question that hotel guests are not always asking when booking accommodation. The Online Travel Agent (OTA) has made booking a hotel convenient, but often confusing to the consumer. It’s convenient because travelers can simply enter a key phrase into a search engine and a list if options are quickly available. It’s confusing because travelers often do not realize that they are NOT dealing with the hotel directly. Additionally, when the hotel guest asks “Are you the <insert hotel name>?” on the phone, the response is “Yes”. Some OTAs are specifically trained to make an inquiring mind feel like they are talking to the hotel directly.
OTAs can help you in a Couple ways
The online travel agent does have a couple positive features searching for accommodation options:
- Finding the hotels that are available at your destination city
- Exploring or comparing hotel rates
If you decide to pay for your accommodations with the OTA be aware that they are not flexible when it comes to canceling, modifying or personalizing your reservation.
Once you have found answers to the above questions the Online Travel Agent has nothing else to offer the hotel guest. In fact, you may find yourself in an uncomfortable situation when you need to modify, cancel or personalize your stay. The hotel’s hands are in most cases tied when a hotel guest calls them directly to modify their booking purchased on an OTA website. Sadly, hotel staff is rarely able to provide the assistance needed with these bookings. With most hotels, there’s nothing they want more than to exceed your expectations. For example read our Trip Advisor reviews to understand the way we treat our guests. We pride ourselves in guest satisfaction that transcends the norm! If a guest has any issue with their stay we fix it. When something obstructs that initiative we will analyze this situation to understand why? This is the reason we are writing this message to hotel guests. We simply want to ensure that each of our valued guests understands and can make an informed decision.
We ARE sharing our experience with you so that you can make an educated decision the next time you require accommodations.
Booking Direct with Hotels will help you in Many Ways
When you have decided where you would like to stay, we recommend you call the hotel directly. Who else do you think is the most trustworthy and reliable way to book your accommodation? This will help you in so many ways…
- Accountability– If there is anything you need, in addition to what you booked, the hotel will work directly with you. There are no third parties in the way. Any issues with accommodation, rates, cancellations, amenities or bookings will be resolved to your satisfaction directly with the hotel.
- Room choices– Hotels often have last minute cancellations that do not appear on OTA websites. This is because hotels keep a tab of guests on a waiting list. These are guests that have asked to be on a waiting list. They are offered first right of refusal before they are available to OTA websites.
- Personalize your stay– There are often specialty service hotel offer s like casino shuttles, spa services, complimentary appetizers, etc that are NOT listed on OTA websites. They are not listed because most OTAs do not permit the hotel to showcase these services on their website.
- More Flexible– When a guest has booked directly with the hotel there is simply more opportunity for the guest and hotel management should a request outside of the standard room booking be required by the guest .
In a study conducted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) it was discovered 15 million bookings/ year through third party booking sites (OTAs) are scams. In some cases these rogue websites take the consumer’s money and disappear overnight.
We are not telling you how to book your accommodation but we do want to make sure you do not end up in a bad situation caused by an OTA that may reflect poorly on the hotel.
Booking directly with us has its rewards!