Working at Forenom you meet and get to know a lot of inspiring and experienced people. We would like to share some of the stories and knowledge from these successful people.
This week we are going to learn about “Why travelers should book directly with a hotel rather than through an OTA (such as Expedia, Hotels.com and Booking.com)” from Carolina Gotthold, Online Sales & Marketing Manager at Forenom Sweden. She has been at Forenom since 2016 and previously worked at Grand Hotel Stockholm, Orbitz and Ebookers.com (MrJet).
It is a common belief that booking through OTAs does have some advantage in regards to price but since the restrictions for parity has changed in Sweden, the prices on OTAs are generally relatively higher than on the hotels own website. It is also common for hotels to offer “best rate guarantee” if you should find a lower rate on a third-party site. The hotels then will either match the price or refund the difference, potentially even giving discount codes for use on future bookings.
Also, when it comes to adding additional services OTAs are known to have fixed price for each room and even if the hotelier wants to provide some extra add-ons they won’t be able to do so because of the way OTAs are set up. Whereas by booking on the hotels own website you usually more flexibility when choosing additional services. Sometimes the additional services are also included by default when you book directly with the hotel.
Usually you will find that the terms and conditions are more flexible when you book directly with the hotel, for example the same booking can be non-refundable through an OTA but flexible through the hotel website. By removing the middle man, issues with delays and cancellations are more likely to be handled within a timely and you can avoid the hassle of trying to reach the customer service of an OTA. Many times they are not processed properly, leading to the hotels and websites passing blame back and forth, all the while leaving you out in the cold.
More information on Brand.com
When most people look for a hotel they will probably head to one of the big OTAs and search for the destination where they wish to go. But once they have decided between a couple of hotels they will most likely go to the hotels own website. Why is this you might ask? Well it is really quite simple, there is more information to be found on Brand.com than on the OTA site. Customers can on the hotels website get a better feeling of what the rooms look like and the facilities that the hotel provides. Many times we tend to find out that the images in OTAs are not proportionate with the original ones.
You become a Loyal customer
It is very common today that hotels and hotels offer loyalty bonuses and even additional incentives for bookings made straight with the hotel. These can range from complementary Wi-Fi, food and beverage credits to upgrades and discounts on future stays. These deals and benefits encourage you to book directly, since they’re not available through any third party. If you feel that it is important that you get the same room every time that you book or if you want the hotel to remember to hand you your favorite newspaper in the morning I suggest that you book directly with the hotel; because OTAs don’t share the customer’s data with the hotels and that makes it harder to keep track of the individual guest in the hotels own booking system.
Room assignments and special requests often take a backseat for OTA bookings; based on availability, better rooms will usually be prioritized for those who book directly. Special demands such as connecting doors, a higher floor, one or two beds will not always follow through from the OTAs and quite frankly, you are more likely to receive your request if there is a note that says that you have made your booking directly with the hotel.
Did you like what you read? Do you have any questions? Feel free to comment or share the article. Carolina welcomes your questions and will be answering them.
Online Sales & Marketing Manager på Forenom Sweden
+46 70 927 84 54
Next week’s topic is: “Four things to remember to ensure a successful hotel project”