Hotel Websites Offering Price Guarantees, So Why Use Wotif/Booking.com etc?

I've noticed more and more hotels offering best price guarantees when booking directly (some require free memberships to their chain), so why do they list on sites like Wotif and Booking.com?

Has it changed how you shop for a hotel stay? Do you have a set method to try to find the best price?

Comments

  •  

    I wonder if wotif and booking are taking a cut (or too big of a cut)? But without them the hotel has no good way to advertise they exist and that they're in that location? I have seen them do more then price guarantees as well, some I've seen offer late check out, or cheaper internet if you book directly which is interesting.

  •  

    Last time I was shopping for a hotel in Singapore, I found the best price via the hotel website directly.

    I rarely use the aggregation sites any more for the actual booking, mostly just reviews/research.

    It probably just depends on the individual hotel chain how they want to operate their business.

  • +2 votes

    I usually use aggregation sites to find out what's there and then ring the place directly to see if they'll match the price - have done so for Groupon offers, restaurants on menulog, hotels etc. Often booking directly is cheaper anyway as you're reporting.

    They should change their business model to charge a fee for being listed and take a much smaller cut from bookings. Then the price difference won't be so much that people can be bothered with the hassle and will just book directly and the site will still make money even if nobody books with them anymore.

    •  

      yeah this is the way to do it, but the only reason i've used aggregration sites is because they had big cashback offers

  • +2 votes

    Agree, especially with Singapore, best prices for us was when we booked online with the hotel directly, after checking sites online.

    Bit like webjet - use that site to find local flights and then book directly with the airline and save all those weird flight guarantee and transaction costs. How webjet exist profitably is a source of wonder to me.

  • +3 votes

    Hotels disklie aggregators because of the fees, but they're a necessary evil for them due to the visibility they provide.

  • +2 votes

    I use aggregator site primarily for research and then attempt to book with the hotel directly (obviously assuming they'll give me the best price).

    One area where I have found the aggregator sites useful is on package deals. I can't remember the exact details, but I've saved a few hundred on different deals by booking a hotel/flight package on Wotif.

  •  

    Haven't booked in a while. I'd prefer to use a hotel site as long as it's flexible - bill later, allow cancellation

  • +1 vote

    I get 10% discount with booking.com then the cashback 4% they often send special one off discount codes in the post from the Netherlands $50 off etc .
    You can also send discount codes to friends or someone booking your trip from booking.com $25 normally
    Booking direct is always better if you want a chance of better room upgrade etc.
    The issue with these price match guarantees is that you have to book first before they will match, and the conditions needs to be same, so normally the cheapest option is book and pay now no refund. So if they don’t want to match it you’ve booked anyway.
    Other fineprint they avoid they guarantee with is the bed type king bed vs extra large bed, is the same bed but they will argue it’s different.
    To get the guarantee you have to supply the website you noticed it on. This won’t show all your discounts and cashback. So they do tend to use the pricematch as bait.
    The other option is to figure out all the discounts you can get and contact the hotel manager direct and ask for that rate. (Works for smaller hotels)

  •  

    out of my last 5 hotel bookings, I only found the aggregator to be cheaper only once (the rest were priced the same as direct), but the convenience is a tremendous plus, especially if you are booking multiple places during the trip

  •  

    Important to note,
    hotels set their own price, even on booking/wotif etc.
    Hotels also pay booking/wotif etc a commission for the bookings. 10-15% depending on the site.
    There should be very few scenarios where a hotel cannot offer a better price by booking direct.

    • +1 vote

      In theory there should be but in reality my experience has been the opposite.
      Hotels want to charge higher prices if you walk in or go to their website directly because they believe you wont compare prices.

      My experience for Melbourne hotels was that aggregates like booking and wotif were almost always equal price or cheaper than direct websites. And that is before using a cash back website. Also there are often other differences like wifi or breakfast included free via aggregate website or charged when booking directly.

      I have also seen direct websites be a trivial amount cheaper like $1 which is not worth the hassle in dealing with archaic websites design.

      • +1 vote

        All of which the hotel should be able to offer if you call and ask them to beat or match the OTA.
        All the offers, free internet, breakfast etc, are still at the hotels discretion, bookingdotcom can't add additions like wifi or breakfast themselves, that's all done by the hotel. So if it's done at the hotel cost, it can be done at the hotel cost when you book direct.

        "In theory" is a good way to put it, I'm well aware hotels have not matched prices for people in the past, usually it's lazy staff, or not empowered to make decisions. There is no financial reasoning for a hotel to not match or beat the OTA prices.

        Aggregates will show lower prices than hotel websites, generally part of the contract with them that you don't openly advertise cheaper. Although advertising to a memberbase, email blast is ok.

  •  

    if you sign up to the hotels directly you can usually get a good discount price. Like others I use the aggregator sites to find the hotels then go to their websites to book directly. Always had either the same price or lower. It does pay to check through some of the travel sites, we got a great deal on a hotel in Hong Kong through Flight Centre that the hotel site had higher.

    •  

      This. The contractual arrangement most hotels have with the aggregator sites is that they won't openly advertise any deal cheaper than what is show on the aggregator site.

      However, they are still free to email members of their own loyalty programs with whatever deals they want. So, if you join the hotel loyalty program, you will get sent deals that won't be advertised anywhere else.

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