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The Pros and Cons of Hotel Deal Sites Vs Booking Direct

By May 7, 2017October 8th, 2017No Comments

We all seem to think we have it figured out when it comes to finding the best hotel deals in the world. Some people will swear that you simply book through the hotel site, as they claim to match the best rates on the internet. Here’s a few ideas on the good and bad of booking sites and how to best use them for your next vacation.

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Pros for Hotel Deal Sites

Number One Reason? Saving Money

No matter your budget, whoever wants to pay extra for something? Even luxury hotels, resorts and villas can be overbudget simply because of peak season or availability, so I’m constantly on the hunt for ways I can get around the system. I much rather my rate go towards a 4-or-5 star hotel then something sub-par if I can be a little patient or be flexible in my travels. For this, third-part booking sites are fantastic. However, you can go a step further with Groupon stores, which has partnered with brands like to provide additional promotions and specials. It’s like a deal within a deal and a win-win for you.

Signing up for Alerts

I have my top three hotel booking sites bookmarked right on my laptop. I go through these everytime I’m on the lookout for a room for a trip. You can get e-mail alerts nd market specific cities you’ll be visiting, or even check booking sites that consolidate rates from several other sites all in one place.

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Deals for Larger Groups

While booking hotels for a bachelorette party or guy’s getaway, certain booking sites can offer special deals for blocks of hotel rooms. This can be done without having to negotiate with the front desk or pay extra through the actual hotel.

Long Term Planning or Last Minute Options

Rates don’t often fluctuate wildly for hotel rooms, especially boutique and popular properties. This is more likely to be found through the best hotel booking sites. If it’s a last minute weekend trip or something you’re planning six months out, give several websites a try to compare and contrast rooms. Several sites even offer perks you don’t have to pay for, like a welcome bottle of bubbly or free breakfast.

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Also, don’t forget to occasionally clear your cookies or cache when searching! These booking websites are extremely intuitive and may offer special (or higher) rates depending on your location or the number of times you’ve made a search. Here’s how to do that on your web browser.

Cons for Hotel Deal Sites

While there aren’t many cons these days for hotel booking through third-party sites, there are a few small things to consider.

  • You might miss out on loyalty points or deals if you don’t stay consistently with certain hotel chains or book directly through them.
  • Direct bookings are prioritized at check-in, so there’s a small chance you could get bumped to another room or there can be an error with the reservation.

How do you reserve your hotel rooms? Have any tips? Do you swear by a certain method?

Eileen Cotter Wright

Author Eileen Cotter Wright

Eileen Cotter is a freelance travel journalist and owner of Pure Wander. She's our resident expat extraordinaire and falls down a lot in yoga class. Follow her on Twitter @PureWander.

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