We’ll give you a hint. It’s not with an online booking site. And it’s not booking directly through the hotel’s website. You can get the best hotel rate through your corporate or personal travel agency. Not only will you receive the best rate, as well as perks that you couldn’t get via booking websites or even from the hotels in many cases.
We know this because the L.A. Times published an article titled “Hotel websites might just have the best rates and perks” in which the author suggests travelers can score the best deals on hotel rates by going to the hotel’s website and booking directly. Geraldine Calpin, chief marketing officer of Hilton Worldwide is quoted in the article saying, “There’s a misconception that the best price is found through online travel agencies. We want customers to know that that’s not true.”
Granted, hotel rates fluctuate, and those included in the article were accurate at the time they were checked. We did a little research ourselves and called one of the hotels cited in the article in order to prove what we tell our clients every day: using CIRE Travel gets you discounts and perks you can’t get on your own. (Or through the hotel directly or a booking site for that matter.)
The prices quoted in the article for a three-night stay in superior king room at the Kitano Hotel New York (including breakfast, before taxes and for same dates per night) were $419 on the booking site and $389 on the Kitano’s hotel website.
We checked the same sources. A popular booking site was $476.10 and the hotel’s website was $483.
Then we checked ours. CIRE Travel’s agency rate: $458 per night before taxes.
So what’s all this nonsense about booking direct and best rates?
It goes back to September 11, 2001. Travel was stagnant and hotels and airlines needed reservations, even at discount prices. Voila, the online booking site was born. In a sense, hotels and airlines created a monster as those sites evolved. Eventually, they were competing against these booking sites to secure their own business. To counteract that, hotels began offering a two to five percent discount to travelers who booked directly through the hotel’s website. With one caveat, they had to become loyalty program members.
How does a corporate and leisure travel agency snag better rates than hotels offer guests through their websites?
Hotels save their best rooms and rates for business clients – the type of clients First in Service Travel and its affiliates like CIRE Travel bring. Less favorable room reservations go to online booking sites.
Understandably so, hotels love the First in Service Travel’s and CIRE’s of the world who micromanage every single booking to ensure a smooth stay. Not to mention, the personal relationships we form with our hotel partners, which benefits our clients since we know without “reservation” that they will be taken care of well during their stay.
As a full-service travel agency with the power of First in Service Travel behind us, our agents go through a completely different booking process. Direct booking rates are nice, but hotels see the bigger picture. Although Mr. or Ms. Online Booking Site User may travel occasionally and book a room, CIRE Travel is booking rooms for multiple clients every day.
Think of it this way… Hotels treat our clients like the VIPs they are, which makes us happy because we recommended them, which in turn makes our clients happy.
Ms. Calpin is absolutely correct. There is a misconception here.
Where you book your travel really does matter. Compared to online booking sites and hotel’s websites, a concierge travel agency like CIRE Travel is where you’re likely to find the best rates, along with service should an emergency arise at 3:00 a.m., your plans change, or you have a special request. The list goes on…
Hotel rates for CIRE Travel’s clients aren’t price-driven. They’re relationship-driven to give you the best rate possible. Contact us to find out just how good “best” is compared to booking online or with the hotel.
Where in the World Do You Want to Go?
Inspired to plan your next weekend getaway, vacation or trip of a lifetime? See that form below? That’s all it takes to begin your next epic travel story.