Do you use a third-party booking service to book your hotel stay? I know I DO! The ads are everywhere! And the ability to book directly from an app on your phone is of even greater appeal! I can’t tell you how many times I have used an app last minute to get a great deal from the parking lot of a hotel in a new city, BUT does your hotel WANT YOU TO USE third party booking services?
After hotel hopping for a month back and forth from Salt Lake to St. George, Utah in 2014 one hotel owner told me a dark secret. He asked me to STOP using those third party booking websites and apps to book my stay! He further stated that he would charge me extra for my kids if I continued to use them for anything other than a one night stay…
Why Do Hotel Owners Hate Third-Party Booking Apps?
Confused, I asked him to explain. He said that he has to set aside a certain number of rooms for these apps, but by the time commissions are taken from him utilizing the service, some apps were charging him upwards of 50% of the booking fee paid! He said he would give me a discount of 15% less than what the app was charging me, if I would “please stop using the app to book my 4-day stays!”
Can Hotels Charge Hidden Fees at Check-in if I use an App?
Many hotels CAN and will charge extra per person or pet if you book your stay via an app instead of on the premises. Before booking ANY stay via a third-party app, read the fine print. Some stays are even non-refundable if you make a mistake, need to change your dates, late check-in, etc. Again. The hotel may be losing a lot of money on your booking when you use an app and will often look for ways to recoup what they can after you arrive!
Compare Direct Rate vs Third-Party Booking Rates!
I learned a valuable lesson on the in’s and out’s of the hotel business after our Utah adventure. Now, anytime I am preparing to book a hotel, I…
1) check my favorite apps first to see what the going rate is, and
2) then I call the hotel directly to see if they can match it or beat it!
Often, if the owner or manager is available, they gladly match the going rate offered on the app if I book direct instead. Travel smart and always ask before you book!