Gary’s Tip #2 How you book your hotel matters.
Searching for rates on the discount sites (Expedia, Orbitz, etc) is a good way to start your hotel search, but booking through them is not always best. Once you find the hotel you want, go to the hotel’s site to see if they offer a comparable price. If they do, book direct. Hotels can pay 20% or more commissions to those travel agencies, and since you’re a less profitable guest to them, they may put you in less desirable rooms.
Wait, don’t click so fast though. Before you just book on Hilton.com, Marriott.com, or Hyatt.com … see whether booking through one of their preferred partners gets you a better deal.
You’ll often find the same rates for luxury hotels, but with added amenities if your hotel participates in the Visa Signature Hotels Program (any Visa Signature credit card holder qualifies), American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts
(American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders), Virtuoso (some travel agents belong to their network and can get you their rates), or chain-specific programs like Four Seasons Preferred Partners (again, offered by select travel agents). Booking through these channels often gets you free upgrades, free breakfast, late checkout, and possibly an additional amenity like a free spa treatment or $100 credit to use in the hotel’s restaurants — without paying more.
For other posts in this series and more tips from Gary, click here. If you travel often, follow his blog for regular tips and current deals. The man is an expert at discovering loopholes, online mistakes the airlines and hotels have to honor, and how to manipulate the fine print. You can feel free to tweet him questions @GaryLeff. He’s super sweet so don’t be shy.
(Photo: Mary Rambin, W Resort Koh Samui, see my review of the resort and video tour here.)Tweet this!