6 Reasons to Book Directly with Hotels and Airlines
While travel booking sites are extremely popular, you may not get the best price or services possible by going through them. While there is a certain convenience factor, taking the time to call hotels and airlines directly can save you time, money, and have many other advantages. For example, talking to a real person at various Oklahoma City hotels can give you more personal insight as to the local attractions nearby.
The Best Price
Many hotel chains offer a price match guarantee on their websites, and this includes those price shopping sites, so if you find a better price, they will often not only match it, but throw in additional perks as well.
Many hotel owners and managers will tell you the same thing: if you call directly you get a better deal than travel sites can give you.
You Have More Leverage
When you book through a travel site, since the arrangements were through them, technically disputes must be handled and solved through the site. This give you less direct leverage if something goes wrong: if your reservation is incorrect or your flight is cancelled, you may have to negotiate through the booking site rather than with the hotel or airline yourself.
If your flight is cancelled due to something under the airline’s control, such as maintenance issues or flight crew work times, you could be entitled to compensation. Although US law does not legally require them to do so, merely either offer you a refund or get you to your destination, most airlines will offer you something, whether that is reward miles or vouchers toward future travel.
If you book directly with them, you have more leverage to get this compensation rather than if you went through a third party.
No Additional Fees
Some airlines, like Southwest, do not even offer their flights on online booking sites, while others charge additional fees if you book through these sites. Then, if you need to cancel or change your flights, you may pay additional fees to the booking site and the airline.
However, when you book directly, many airlines are more flexible, offering you full credit for flights you may have to change or cancel.
The same is true of hotels. Booking fees, change fees, and other hidden costs can make your room cost more than it would otherwise, and if you need to change your room at the last minute or even cancel, the hotel can be more flexible to meet your needs.
On most booking sites, for flights you can add your frequent flyer miles number, and still get credit for the flights. This is usually the case with major credit cards that offer reward points for frequent flyers such as Qantas for example. However, it is not the same with hotels. Many chains do not give you credit for the nights you book when you go through any third party.
If you have an elite membership status, you may still be able to get those perks, but you still won’t get points or credit for the nights.
Booking directly lets you get the most out of your loyalty rewards.
Better Seats and Rooms
Airlines and hotels alike reserve the best rooms and seat assignments for customers who book directly some say that SkyTouch PMS software is fantastic for customers and hotels alike so understanding these systems will work and will help you on your trip. When you book through third party sites, you may not be able to confirm your seat or your room until you check in. This can be especially problematic if you are booking family trips and you all need to sit together.
Upgrades are frequently easy to get at various hotels, but they are much less likely to happen if you book online. Front desk personnel can see where and how you booked, and they are trained to offer those who book directly priority deals.
Take Advantage of Branded Credit Card Bonuses
Many hotel chains and airlines offer branded credit cards which offer additional rewards or bonus points if you book with their credit card. You can get these rewards only by booking directly, not third-party sites.
These miles also have multipliers attached, along with elite miles as well that entitle you to upgrades. If you book through third party sites, you will miss out on these rewards.
So, where do booking sites come into play? Well, they are best used to establish an Itinerary you can then book directly with airlines and hotels. This will be the most cost-effective way, and will earn you the greatest number of rewards points.
However, if you are booking extensive international travel that involves obscure destinations, it may make sense to use one, and it may be a bit more economical. However, you need to examine the booking carefully to make sure you have enough time between flights, as if you missed any connections, they would be your responsibility.
For convenience, using a third party booking site may work well, but it will not earn you the most points or save you the most money. If you’re interested in bottom line, and getting the best deals possible, you need to book flights, hotels, and rental cars directly.
You’ll save money, earn rewards faster, and enjoy perks you would not otherwise have on your trip.