The best room, rate, service and stay come right from booking with the hotel directly.
While third-party booking sites can be a useful starting point for researching the hotels available in particular destinations and their rates, that’s probably the extent to which they should be used. Booking directly with a hotel is the safest and best way to ensure you have received the most competitive rate and suitable booking terms and conditions.
When the reservation relationship is between the guest and the hotel only, it’s clean and easy because there are only two parties involved: the customer and the business. When a third party (booking site) gets involved is when things can get messy. For example, sometimes reservations are not actually processed and the site and the hotel can pass the blame back and forth. This can potentially leave you with the wrong room or without a room at all, and there’s little hope for recourse.
The big and probably only draw with booking through sites like Booking.com, Expedia & Laterooms is that they seem to turn up the lowest prices, even if it’s just by a few pounds. But what’s not yet common (enough) knowledge is that most hotels — especially chain hotels — will scramble to get your direct booking and match any price out there. All you have to do is present the cheaper price you found elsewhere for the same stay.
Hotels only set aside a certain block of rooms for third-party platforms. Obviously, hotels keep the best rooms and most variety for themselves to sell directly. This can make a big difference when it’s a property where a standard room can vary greatly in size, which is especially common in old properties constructed ages ago, when rooms (and, well, people too) were smaller. A little online research can often unearth what type of room might really be linked to booking through a third-party site, like this petite room in Boston from Priceline.
When you book directly, hotels will often be more willing and able to help should you need to change your dates or even cancel, because they’re not bound by some third-party deal. Reserving a hotel room through a third-party site can essentially create and lock in a contract for a stay, which can limit wiggle room for the guest and hotel staff.
This also means that if you book directly, the hotel can do more to compensate a guest — like waive the cost of an entire stay — should something go wrong or not be up to snuff.
So, go ahead and get yourself booked in direct - BOOK A ROOM