Powerful hotel search engines, which are also called online travel agencies (OTAs), are really hard to ignore. If you search for a hotel in Boracay or a Palawan accommodation on Google, OTAs often come at the top of the results. They present hundreds of properties in various destinations, and their search functions allow bookers to see at a glance a list of hotels that may best suit their needs. Very expedient, isn’t it?
But this convenience comes with a price. The truth is, booking through OTAs that flag up best price guarantees is not always the smartest way to snag the best deals. Online reservation through the hotel website is.
Yes, OTAs cost you more. Here are 5 reasons why.
1. OTAs do not offer budget-saving packages.
The first thing you consider when booking a room is how much it costs. And you believe that OTA rates are cheaper, right? Well, that is a false belief. Although rate parity throughout all booking platforms is the aim, you’ll find that reservations through the hotel’s official website are actually cheaper because it often offers exclusive promotions and packages that cannot be found elsewhere. Case in point: Bayfront Hotel Cebu’s 50% discount on published rate. You can only grab this deal at https://www.bayfronthotelcebu.com/promos/.
2. OTAs do not present loyalty programs.
OTAs have discount points, yes. But if your end game is to earn loyalty points and enjoy elite status through an exclusive program, you must ditch that booking app in your gadget. The only way to earn rewards is by booking directly on a hotel website. For instance, The Linden Suites in Pasig City is currently offering a deal for returning guest. By simply using a promo code, patrons can enjoy up to 40% discount.
3. OTAs don’t have full access to accommodations.
OTAs and third-party booking sites only offer select rooms. This means you’ll have limited options, which usually do not suit your budget. When you book direct, all accommodation type is available. Moreover, guests who use the hotel’s booking engine are able to enjoy a fast, smooth, and intuitive reservation process because the system can be bookmarked and printed for easier reference.
4. OTAs do not provide unique perks.
Free upgrades, complimentary add-ons, and more. You won’t find these privileges in any OTA. Hotels earn more from you when booking direct so they don’t have to pay a commission fee. Thus, they are more inclined to offer you freebies. This is what Bohol Beach Club does. For its summer promo, BBC affords free round-trip land transfers, 20-minute glass-bottom boat tour, fish feeding activity, and Tagbilaran or Countryside tour.
5. OTAs are very restrictive on penalty charges.
For instance, you book a room at Fairways & Bluewater Newcoast Boracay via OTA and then an emergency or sudden change of plan happens a day after the free cancellation/modification period . Adjusting your check-in date will cost you more because OTA will automatically charge an additional fee. This will probably not happen if you book direct. You can easily call the hotel in Boracay and ask to waive the penalty charge.