Hotels Offering Perks To Sway Guests Away From Third Party Booking Sites

Image courtesy of (Eric Norris)

Using an online travel booking site to find the perfect accommodations for your upcoming trip can be a simple and easy way to compare prices and make sure you get the best deal. But actual hotels aren’t exactly fans of such sites, and in a bid to bring customers to their own sites some companies are offering extra perks. 

The Los Angeles Times reports that hotels have begun to offer guests who book directly from their websites freebies, such as room upgrades or free WiFi.

For example, the Hotel Amarando in Burbank is offering guests $25 in food and beverage credits or a room upgrade. The Beverly Hilton Hotel offers free WiFi for those booking directly with the hotel, while a hotel group in Hawaii is giving guests $20 in Starbucks gift cards each day of their stay.

“It’s becoming necessary for today’s hotel brands to stay ahead by enticing travelers in new ways,” said Matt Bailey, president and chief operating officer at Aqua-Aston Hospitality, tells the L.A. Times.

In addition to pushing the perks on guests, hotels are suggesting that if they book directly with the hotel they’ll avoid paying 15% to 25% commission for using sites like Expedia and Booking.com.

While the perks of booking directly with a hotel might be appealing to customers, travel agents maintain that comparing prices on third-party sites is helpful to travelers.

“Consumers want the ability to see and compare all of their options, and they can’t do that when they book directly with a hotel,” said Stephen Shur, president of the Travel Technology Assn., a coalition of online travel sites, noting that The American Hotel and Lodging Association, which recently called for legislation to combat fraudulent online booking sites, are exaggerating the downside of comparison booking sites.

Hotels are using guest perks to battle online travel agencies [The Los Angeles Times]