Planning a trip and wish to find the perfect tourist accommodation? Your reflex will undoubtedly be to launch a search on the Internet and the first results that will appear will certainly be the online travel agencies (OTAs) such as booking.com, hotels.com or expedia.ca (to name a few), since they benefit from an excellent positioning on search engines. However, by using an OTA to act as an intermediary between you and your accommodation provider, you are depriving yourself of benefits that only direct booking can provide. Here are seven good reasons to book directly with a tourist accommodation establishment rather than through an intermediary.
When it comes to choosing a tourist accommodation, most travelers have a clear idea of what they are looking for and more importantly, what they don't want. These criteria may include the type of establishment such as hotel, inn, bed and breakfast, etc.1, the target clientele such as family or adults only, the services offered such as restaurants, bar, pool, and concierge, the type of room (standard, suite, with a view, etc.), the price range and activities to do in the area.
No one knows their establishment better than the owner and staff
Online travel agencies (OTAs) can of course provide you with information about each establishment on their list, but no one knows the establishment better than its owner and staff. They have the ability and the desire to offer you a tailor-made stay adapted to your taste, taking into account your preferences and specific needs, such as allergies, for instance. To ensure a tailor-made stay that truly meets your needs and expectations, it is better to book directly with the tourist accommodation establishment rather than through an intermediary.
Personalizing your stay
By contacting the tourist accommodation directly, you will speak with a staff that will be happy to answer all your questions and guide you on the best choices to make in their establishment. You can then take advantage of this opportunity to personalize your stay, especially if you wish to celebrate a special event. Knowing all the details in advance to prepare for your stay is the key to a successful booking.
Finally, by contacting the tourist accommodation directly rather than through an intermediary - who is likely to reside in a country other than the one where the establishment is located - you have the possibility of requesting personalized documentation on the place you wish to visit. Whether you want to know the must-see attractions or the best restaurants to discover, it is always preferable to get information from those who live in the area, because they have privileged information that they will pass on to you with passion!
You can personalize your stay, especially if you wish to celebrate a special event.
Complete and up-to-date information
Relying solely on online travel agencies (OTAs) to obtain information about a tourist accommodation may bring its share of (unpleasant!) surprises once on site. Although the information sheets on the OTAs platforms are filled out by the accommodations themselves, the proposed templates do not allow them to reflect the uniqueness of their establishment, and some of the more specific - but no less important - information could be excluded.
On the other hand, most duly established and recognized tourist accommodations are more likely to update and refine their own websites than their OTA listings. You will find on their own websites current and exclusive information, including special offers and packages.
Whether it's by phone or email, when you’re looking to get answers to your questions, you expect it to be relevant, efficient, accurate and helpful. Keep in mind that third parties deal with many facilities at the same time and very often, they know nothing more about the accommodation than what is indicated on the listing which is available to everyone. For specific questions, they must contact the accommodations themselves to be able to issue an answer to their clients, which is similar to the telephone game and a waste of time.
So, by communicating directly with the tourist accommodation establishment rather than going through an intermediary, not only do you get timely access to complete and up-to-date information, you also ensure the accuracy of the information you need.
Whether it's by phone or email, when you’re looking to get answers to your questions, you expect it to be relevant, efficient, accurate and helpful.
Higher offered value
While the rate posted on OTAs' listings and on tourist accommodations’ websites is often comparable, since contractual clauses oblige the accommodation to maintain rate parity on OTAs listings, the value offered is often higher when you book directly with a tourist accommodation establishment.
Why is it so? Because when you use an online travel agency (OTA) to make a reservation at a tourist accommodation, you are contracting a third party which services are not free of charge. OTAs get a commission (between 15% and 30%) from the establishment for each booking made through their web platform.
So, when you book directly with a tourist accommodation establishment, they have no commission to pay to a third party and are in a better position to offer their clients advantageous conditions and unique and exclusive offers, such as discounts on the nightly rate, free additional amenities, upgrades, additional services at no charge, added value, etc.
Same rate but better booking conditions
Also, many OTAs dangle better rates to their visitors through loyalty programs that they impose on tourist accommodations without the latter having any say in the matter. These programs offer discounts on the nightly rate ranging from 10% to 20%, which accommodations are obliged to honor. You should know that most tourist accommodations will be happy to offer an equivalent rate to that offered by an OTA for an identical product. However, if an OTA offers you a less expensive rate than what the accommodation offers, it is because the booking conditions are different from those of the accommodation.
On your next booking, be sure to contact the accommodation directly to get the best deal at the best possible conditions; you will always be guaranteed the best rate and will find surprises that you will not find anywhere else!
When tourist accommodations have no commission to pay to a third party, they are in a better position to offer their clients advantageous conditions and unique and exclusive offers.
Settle contingencies directly with the accommodation provider
The best stays in a tourist accommodation are achieved through direct communication from the first contact until well after the client's departure. And since no one is immune to unforeseen events, it is better to deal directly with the entity offering the service than to use a third party.
Indeed, when you book through an online travel agency (OTA), you bind yourself to that intermediary and not to the tourist accommodation. In other words, the booking terms and conditions are those issued by the OTA and not those of the accommodation. For example, if you need to cancel your booking, you should contact the OTA's customer service department, not the hotel management. The latter is not in a position to make changes to bookings that come from an intermediary and must therefore refer the client to the OTA that took the booking.
So, by eliminating the middleman, you give the facility the flexibility to enforce its policies and manage incidents directly, without having to hold a third party accountable.
No psychological games
Another interesting fact about customer relations is that OTAs have the annoying habit of playing on the emotions of their visitors to urge them to book on their site by giving them the impression that there will be no rooms left in the next five minutes. Unless you are booking a room at the very last minute for a major event that brings tens of thousands of people to town, you may be surprised to find that the establishment has more availability than what is communicated on the OTA's website. Ignore the urgency to act and take the time to research the accommodation in question as well as the type of room desired. As mentioned above, the best way to check availability is to contact the facility directly.
Finally, many tourist accommodations offer loyalty programs to their regular customers. If you are a fan of a particular hotel chain or consistently return to the same establishments, find out about programs that they have in place to reward guests who book directly with them on a regular basis (more than once).
The best stays in a tourist accommodation are achieved through direct communication from the first contact until well after the client's departure.
Finding tourist accommodation gems outside OTAs
When you search on the Internet for a tourist accommodation in a given region, the first results displayed will be those of the online travel agencies (OTAs). However, OTAs do not offer an exhaustive list of all the tourist accommodations in the region, as not all establishments wish to be part of their listing. So, if you only use OTAs in your search, you may miss out on accommodations that could perfectly fit your criteria.
In this day and age, established and trusted tourist accommodations all have their own websites. But because the most popular search engines are in cahoots with the giants of online hotel booking platforms, accommodations' websites do not appear in the first results of an online search. This is why it is recommended that you look at the first ten pages of search results - and even beyond - in order to gain access to the establishments' websites, which will allow you to communicate directly with them.
In this day and age, established and trusted tourist accommodations all have their own websites.
Limited access to personal data
Nowadays, privacy and the protection of personal data are of paramount importance. That's why it's best to share your personal information with as few entities as possible. By booking directly with a tourist accommodation, you eliminate the middleman and reduce the number of people who have access to your data.
By booking directly with a tourist accommodation, you eliminate the middleman and reduce the number of people who have access to your data.
Putting the small players ahead of the giants
When you use an online travel agency (OTA), you contribute to the fortunes of two U.S. giants, Expedia Inc. and Priceline Group, which together account for 95% of the online booking market, thanks to the commissions they earn on every booking made on their Web platforms. These giants have a high level of technological expertise and almost unlimited financial resources, in addition to having an advantageous presence on most search engines. For example, a Google search will highlight the less current information from the establishment's listing on an OTA, mostly booking.com, instead of the up-to-date information posted on the establishment's website.
The commissions received by OTAs, as mentioned above, range from 15% to 30% on the total price of the reservation before taxes. These amounts, sometimes enormous, enrich the largest while at the same time they impoverish the tourist accommodation establishments, especially the small ones, such as B&Bs, inns and independent hotels.
Contribution to the vitality of the local community
You can therefore turn the tables and actively participate in the local economic vitality by booking directly with a tourist accommodation establishment. It's as simple as that. Thus, by allowing the establishment to keep all of its earnings, you contribute to the vitality of the local community since the sums retained are often reinvested with local suppliers or in salaries. This money also allows the establishments to reinvest in their own business to improve their offering on a consistent basis.
Quebec Blue Basket
In Quebec, we often talk about the blue basket, which offers products from Quebec companies. Did you know that booking directly with Quebec's tourist accommodations is an example of a local purchase, just like those made in the blue basket? This simple gesture is a good way for travelers to express their preference for local businesses; it is an increasingly popular mode of consumer behavior in Quebec. By making this gesture, you encourage a Quebec company, there is no American or foreign middleman and all the revenues associated with your booking will remain in Quebec.
By allowing the establishment to keep all of its earnings, you contribute to the vitality of the local community since the sums retained are often reinvested with local suppliers or in salaries.
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