How to Save Money on Lodging When Traveling
Belinda Howard Smith
The Rat Race
So, you think you’ve gotten a great deal on your hotel stay by booking through an online travel agency (OTA) such as Booking dot com, AirBnB, Expedia, or one of their numerous partners. Often, the hotel, vacation rental, or bed and breakfast has offered a 10% or greater discount to receive top listings with these agencies. Though do you REALLY get the best price as they claim? And is price the top priority when spending hard-earned money and precious vacation days, or a weekend getaway?
As owners of a bed and breakfast and a vacation rental, we get drawn into the online travel agency schemes too. Those in lodging hospitality are scrambling for their place in the rat race and often pressured to pay a 10% or greater discount, in addition to the 18-20% commission paid to the OTA for booking a room. If the accommodation management doesn’t opt into the discount offer, you, the traveler won’t see their listing on the OTA site unless you’re willing to keep scrolling. Though why should you? Why not just look at the ones offering a discount, especially if they have great ratings?
How Much Do You Really Save, or Do You?
Here is a real example of a recent guest’s expenses that made reservations through a highly popular travel site.
$790.05 3 night stay
-79.05 10% promotional discount offered by the accommation
+45.93 hotel occupancy tax
$786.11 total expense paid to the OTA
Had the guest booked the same room direct from our website, this would have been their total cost:
$687.00 3 night stay
+41.22 hotel occupancy tax
$725.22 book direct total guest expense
$786.11 - $725.22 = $60.89
The guest would have saved $60.89 and as a small business owner, we would have saved a $138.90 commission paid to the OTA, a win-win for both parties!
How to Search for Accommodations
To avoid the difficult navigation of the Rat Race when searching for a place to stay, use the convenience of searching via the OTA sites and Trip Advisor. However, once you’ve narrowed a search of places of interest, visit the direct websites of the hotels, bed and breakfasts, or vacation rental and compare rates. Often booking direct is the greater savings.
You may also want to do a general internet search for the area of travel in order to find unique places that may not list on OTA’s. You may just find a gem among the muddle. Definitely check their rating on social media platforms or travel sites such as, Trip Advisor.