What That Online Hotel Ad Isn’t Telling You

Shutterstock/Mykola KomarovskyShutterstock/Mykola Komarovsky

You’ve seen the ad. Cute guy comes on the screen and says, This is Bob. He owns a hotel. He needs to sell an empty hotel room so he’s putting on these three sites for different amounts. You just pick the cheapest.

Sounds good, right? But it’s not exactly true. Yes, Bob has a hotel and yes, Bob has empty rooms. But all of these rooms are not alike. One Ocean View room is on the top floor with a balcony and a great view of the ocean. Another room (also called Ocean View) is actually blocked by a big column, so you have to crane your neck to see the ocean. And a third Ocean View is right by the elevator, so it’s really noisy. One Deluxe Room has been renovated; another is on the “we’ll renovate that one of these days” list. You don’t know which room is being sold on which site, only what the room category is called.

Anotehr thing they don’t tell you: Reservations are also all valued differently. One is on the “we like how they booked, let’s upgrade them and give them perks” list. One is in the “they’re obviously just shopping around and looking for the cheapest rate so we don’t need to do anything special” pile. One booked with a guarantee that they get the the room they paid for and will not be bumped or downgraded if the hotel fills up. Another is the first to be “walked” (ie, moved to another hotel) if the hotel needs more space.

The catch is, online discounting sites don’t usually list all of those factors. Instead, while they seem to be  comparing apples to apples, it’s really apples to apple cores to ice cream cones. For some trips–last-minute jaunts out of town, or short stays when the hotel room itself doesn’t really matter–it’s fine to take your chances. But for a honeymoon or special occasion? I’d rather book with a fantastic travel pro and know I’ll get what I expect, or better.

Feel the same way? Drop us a line.

 

 

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