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Reserve direct w/ hotel or through other sites (Expedia...

Virginia Beach
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153 posts
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Reserve direct w/ hotel or through other sites (Expedia...

If the price is the same is it better to reserve direct with the hotel? I am paranoid that if you reserve through another site they will give you the their worst room and even if you ask what else is available they say "nothing", we are booked. I have asked this before and I don't know if the answer was genuine or "you reserved through expedia so we have noting else! Also is it normal to ask if you can see the room before you check in or is this considered a "you are such a pain in the &*#*!" request? Sometimes specials are listed on other sites but not on the hotel web site. Once again does special mean a special on their newly painted rooms or all those lower level street facing rooms that no one alse wants?

Thank you if anyone has worked at a hotel and knows the inside scoop on this. I own a restaurant so if anyone wants the inside scoop on secret langauage and codes at restaurants you can ask me.

Jacksonville, FL
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for Jacksonville
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1. Re: Reserve direct w/ hotel or through other sites (Expedia...

We have booked both through the Hotel and through other sources. We have never had a problem either way. If you're booking a 'tourist class' hotel, just realize that the room will probably be very small, and the plumbing may not be what you're used to. That being said, we've really never had a problem using a booking site. We're traveling back to Paris and Italy in May and have had good luck with venere.com. Have a great trip!

USA
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6 reviews
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2. Re: Reserve direct w/ hotel or through other sites (Expedia...

The answers to these questions are unknowable. As a general rule, all things being equal, you will be better off dealing DIRECTLY with the hotel. At the very least, they will know more about their property than a reservations agent, sitting in a cubicle somewhere. You may ask specific questions about the hotel, amenities, room sized, differences in room categories, make special requests. In many cases, hotel reservations personnel will endeavor to fulfill reasonable requests WHEN POSSIBLE. Though they may promise a specific room--and most will usually make a good faith effort to fulfill it--circumstances and the best will in the world, may not always allow.

It's always a good idea to do your homework and research a variety of reservations options. It's often as likely that the hotel may be offering a beter 'special' than shown at any on-line reservations agencies they use...or a 'special' may only be available through an 'agency' Many times, if you speak to the hotel directly, they will match any better deals offered on-line...or 'negotiate' something to your mutual satisfaction.

As for asking to see the room assigned before you check-in, this should be no problem. I'll grant you that some desk staff may not be as enthusiastic as others...but it is a perfectly reasonable request. If you are not satisfied with the room, then ask to see another. But bear in mind that if you have requested a 'standard' room and you like a 'superior' better, the hotel is under NO obligation to give you the 'better' room for the same price (or even at the same advance reservation 'discount' or special 'promotional' rate). If you don't like anything the hotel has to offer, then you are still liable (at the hotel's sole discretion) for whatever 'cancellation' fee that may apply to the Terms & Conditions of your reservation.

Just as a curiousity, what are the '..secret language or codes..' of the restaurant industry that get you better prices and/or better tables??

Virginia Beach
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3. Re: Reserve direct w/ hotel or through other sites (Expedia...

Well if you have a reservation at a restaurant they usually give you a better table, especially if you are a regular. (Hi, this is so and so I was wondering if you could reserve my favorite table by the window for me) Maybe this is why having a concierge at a good hotel make your reservations should definetely be useful. If you walk in usually the worst table is offered (you keep the better tables for resrv or more demanding people.) Also they try to distribute clients evenly among the servers. Of course any place that says no, sorry we can't seat you there because it is Mindy's turn, that is plain bad service and you should walk out. This is also an indication that they are not too busy which is also a bad sign. Most good places will let you choose another table as long as you are not two and want to sit at a fourtop. Also asking nicely but firmly is always better that getting angry and being rude, I call this the passive aggressive approach.

Massachusetts
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4. Re: Reserve direct w/ hotel or through other sites (Expedia...

Whenever I can get the same rate directly from the hotel via their website and one of the discount websites (Expedia, Orbitz, etc.) I will always choose to go through the hotel itself. One reason is because the hotel generally has a more liberal cancellation policy. For example, if you book via the hotel, as long as you cancel by 5 or 6 pm the day of arrival, you won't have to pay anything. But for a lot of the discount sites, you have to cancel at least 24-48 hours ahead AND they charge a cancellation fee (usually $25). Plus, by booking directly with the hotel I think I have a better chance of actually getting my preferred room. Although I don't really know if there's any validity to that.

boston
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331 posts
14 reviews
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5. Re: Reserve direct w/ hotel or through other sites (Expedia...

I read a comment once in the magazine 'Budget Travel' about this. The manager in a hotel said he would always give better service to someone who booked through the hotel. Perhaps knowing that the hotel is getting less for a room (although they get to have another guest in the hotel and perhaps some repeat business) makes the management view the guest differently. So when I went to book hotel rooms for my upcoming visit to Paris, I looked at the hotel websites.

Usually when you book through the hotel website of a big chain, they say that they guarantee to match any public rate for the hotel. I've found that is true when it is the advance Internet rate (at least 16 days in advance, pay in full up front, and book online at the hotel website). But there are some very inexpensive deals out there that are packaged with airfares.

West Chester, PA
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6. Re: Reserve direct w/ hotel or through other sites (Expedia...

After checking all the sites I got a better price by calling the hotel.

Paris 4th Arr
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7. Re: Reserve direct w/ hotel or through other sites (Expedia...

Often when booking via a travel website (Expedia, etc.) you are buying a room from the web agency, not the hotel. A year or so ago we had to return to the US for a family emergency and booked a hotel through one of the web-travel sites (like Expedia or Travelocity). When we arrived we weren't asked for a credit card imprint, We were just handed our keys. This looked like a good thing till I asked if we could check-out a day early than our original reservation). They said, and I quote "That's between you and your travel website. You'll need to take it up with them". We would have had to argue the matter with the agency, not the hotel. Very restrictive and expensive if you want to change your mind while on vacation.

Bottom line, when you book through a travel website, you are buying a room from THEM, not the hotel.

That said, I have successfully negotiated - BY PHONE - a similar "web" rate for a hotel because the rate on the web was published. In other words, I researched the best price on the web and then asked the hotel DIRECTLY to match it.

On the other hand, I have also been told by one hotel in central Paris - while standing at their front desk - that I could go around the corner to the internet cafe and get a better rate for THAT HOTEL and that there was nothing they could do to get around charging the rack-rate otherwise.

USA
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8. Re: Reserve direct w/ hotel or through other sites (Expedia...

>>>After checking all the sites I got a better price by calling the hotel.<<<

And that's the BEST---and only 'smart'---way to do it. If there were ANY other way, then everyone would be doing it. It's YOUR hard earned money. It's YOUR precious vacation time. And, it's YOUR responsibility to invest them wisely....and that requires research. The resource are there....for those willing to look for and use them. There are NO '..silver bullets..'.

The mention of special 'codes' and 'language' is a fairly common misperception. Even If there were such universal things, then someone would have put it all between soft-covers and sold it at $29.95 per copy....And just as quickly, the travel and hospitality industries would have changed them...leaving those who paid the price with little more than expensive 'door-stops'.

There is NO substitute for investing the time and doing your own personal research.

Paris
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9. Re: Reserve direct w/ hotel or through other sites (Expedia...

petiza, it seems that for a person like you, who is very (how should I phrase it not to be kicked out of this forum? )... demanding and focused on the different parameters leading to what is supposed to be a "perfect" hotel room, it's better to deal with the hotel directly. Thus you will be able to ask for the name of the person you are dealing with on the phone or net, to establish a personal rapport, in order to get all you wishes fulfilled when it comes to getting the ideal room in the ideal branché hotel in the ideal neighborhood.

Virginia Beach
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153 posts
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10. Re: Reserve direct w/ hotel or through other sites (Expedia...

Bob I'm not sure what insult you wanted to throw my way but thats OK. I guess I just wanted to know, and no one has really answered yet is what about the booking sites that offer free room upgrades if available on check in, or bottles of champagne or whatever, is this for real? And if hotel websites match any price then why are booking sites doing business with their strict cancellation policies?

Anyway, this time I am trying to do as much research as possible since this is the first time I use tripadvisor which is so incredibly helpful. Usually you rely on some book, or magazine article which I have had such bad experinces with before. I will ow be a faithfl user.