Online hotel booking sites can fool travelers

Image: Nikada / via AFP Relaxnews

A new study from the UK shows that travelers could get better deals if they go directly through the hotel rather than booking with an online travel agency like or

This is according to Which ?, a consumer rights group that found that when they contacted hotels directly, they could get a better rate than the prices listed on secondary travel websites or get other incentives, including free breakfasts or upgrades.

For the study, who? contacted 10 hotels in the UK and asked if they could offer a better deal than those published by online travel agencies (OTAs) like or Expedia.

In eight of the 10 cases, hotels offered discounts on rooms, food, spa treatments or freebies like breakfast and parking. A Cornwall hotel offered a discount of £ 20 (around $ 25 or P 1,200), reducing the rate from £ 170 to £ 150 (around $ 217 to $ 192, or P 10,900 to P 9,700).

“Customers should not be fooled into thinking that they are getting the best price on a hotel booking site when more often than not they can get a better deal by skipping their commission and booking directly with the hotel.” , Which? Travel editor Rory Boland in a press release.

“Hotel reservation sites can be a good place to start your research, but you should always call or email the hotel to have the best chance of getting the cheapest deal, even in the cases where they can’t offer a better price, there’s a good chance they’ll throw in a giveaway or two.

Online travel agents typically charge commissions between 15% and 25% on each booking, a fee that is often passed on to the consumer.

To get the best rate, which one? the editors recommend using an OTA as a starting point, then calling the desired hotel directly. Quote the rate listed on or and ask if they can do better. A reasonable discount is between 15 and 25%. JB


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