Everywhere you look, there are options for booking your vacation. From Expedia and Bookign.com to Trivago and AirBNB, deals are everywhere. As a traveler, you have to be the one to do the research to find the best rate. How do you know what deal is the best? Most guests don't even know when they click on some of these links that they are being directed to an Online Travel Agency, or OTA for short. Acorn Internet Services, AIHP (Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals) and PAII (Professions Association of Innkeeper International) sponsored a Google survey of 1000 travelers. They found that 70% of travelers think they are going directly to a lodging website when they press the Book a Room button, but instead they are being redirected to an OTA.
Did you know that OTA's such as Booking.com and Expedia charge inns 15 to 20% commission for a reservation? Then why do inns list their rooms on OTA's? Sadly, the world of internet searches and travel have evolved, and when you go online and look for a room, the larger directories and OTAs appear first. First page organic results are 70% to 90% group or Travel Agency sites, pushing individual properties lower and lower in the search results. Thus, in order to be found, lodging properties – from small B&Bs and inns to large hotels – must offer rooms on these sites if they want travelers to discover them. Unfortunately, as small businesses, these inns often have to pass those commissions along to you in the form of higher room rates on those sites.
As innkeepers, we can guarantee the best rate you'll find is when you book direct with one of our properties. Not only can we guarantee the best rate, but we can also help you avoid common problems when you book through an OTA. First, when you book direct, the inn owns the reservation, not the OTA. Therefore, you can make changes, cancellations, or upgrades which are often not possible when you use an OTA. Second, the innkeeper may be able to offer specials, gifts, or other add ons when not paying the added commission for you reservation.
To book direct, just visit the website of the property you wish to visit. Your innkeepers will be grateful and appreciate your willingness to work with them directly. When you book direct, you help the innkeeper while helping yourself - everyone wins!