Whether you’re looking for a well priced hotel in Sydney, car hire in Brisbane, or airport car parking in Melbourne, websites like Trivago, vroomvroomvroom, and finder.com always seem like the smartest choice. Of course, who wouldn’t want to get the best prices for similar services?
Here’s a little inside scoop: you’re better off booking direct.
It’s not to say that you shouldn’t go to comparison sites. They’re definitely a great place to start when you’re researching for options around the area. They can also give you a general idea on what the price points are for these services during the season you’ll be travelling. The trouble is that when you book with third party sites is that one muck-up with reservations and you have little chance of sorting things without losing a few dollars. Something as simple reservations details can turn your relaxing holiday into a wretched nightmare. If you really want to get the best bang out of your buck and get the best of a company’s services, book direct. Here’s why:
Price Match/Price Beat
A penny saved is a penny earned as the old adage goes and every dollar you save on travel necessities is a dollar that goes to the fun stuff (like attractions) or savings. Considering how competitive the market is now, services like price match and price beat guarantee are all the rage. It’s as simple as getting the cheapest quote you can find and have a competitor business price match or beat it. They’ll probably slash off a few dollars and, if you’re lucky, throw in a few freebies. If you book via third party site, however, you can only book the price advertised. Services like price beat won’t be offered.
Remember when I was talking about muck-ups? Let’s say for some reason you were able to purchase an expired discounted deal in a coupon site. Believe me when I say that the business and the third party site will toss your concern back and forth because neither will want to assume responsibility or expense. At worst, you’ll be short a few dollars (or a few hundred) without the service you badly needed during your trip. Communication and the opportunity to demand accountability is much simpler when there are only two parties involved: you and the business.
The truth of the matter is that businesses are more inclined to give you better service if they can make more money from you. Booking direct means they don’t need to give 5% to 10% of your payment to a third party. When you hint at upgrades and freebies at the counter, you bet they’ll be check the computer for whether you’re a direct booking or not. They’ll also be more inclined to let a few things slide just because you’re a direct booking (especially if you’re a repeat customer). The trouble with booking with third party sites is that you’re essentially going into a lock in contract which means little wiggle room for you and the service for things like changing of service dates and cancellations. When you book direct, businesses allow for more flexibility. Take note that these things typically incur fees. These can also be easily waived by the business if their terms and conditions allow for it.