When We Travel Again. The Benefits of Booking a Hotel Directly
As a traveler and someone who has worked in the hotel industry for years, I was always partial to booking directly with the hotel. I enjoyed the welcome notes and the priority check in and the occasional VIP status. But the benefits became clearer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hotels took responsibility and were able to assist travelers with their cancellations, or changes to reservations that were booked directly. They were able to manage the guest’s requests and refund appropriately without having to wait for cancellations from the third party sites. Third party booking sites used to be the source of discounted rates or best rates, but now most hotels practice rate parity offering a more personal and customized experience. As the industry starts to reopen, and it's time to hit the road again, consider these top 5 benefits of booking directly.
1. Flexible cancellation-In these times of uncertainty, you may need to postpone or cancel your stay. If you book directly with the hotel, they are most likely to waive cancellation fees and make modifications in one conversation whereas third parties have to double check with the property. Most importantly they can make adjustments instantly without any hassles or long wait times.
2. Payment Recovery Process - Unlike OTA’s where there are long wait times and your credit card can be on hold for months, hotels have the ability to make reimbursements sooner and faster than third party booking sites..
3. Covid-19 Communication- Many hotels, due to COVID-19 have new check-in procedures and not all amenities are available. Since they have your email they are able to send these updates highlighting your journey from arrival to departure.
4. Room Stay Transparency - if you want a low floor to avoid the elevators or want to make sure the room next to you is empty or that your room hasn’t been occupied you can easily find this out by asking the front desk when you arrive or over the phone when making the reservations. It is even more important now as hotels maintain transparency of monitoring room occupancy and reinsurance of cleanliness between guests stays.
5. Additional benefits- As an incentive, Hotels may provide book direct special rates or additional amenities like free wifi, breakfast, free local transportation, free lounge access etc.. The hotel website is the best place to stay informed and receive the best deals.
As lockdown restrictions are lifted, and you are eager to leave your home, think local, take a road trip and support your local economy. Let's start to #rebuildtravel.