When reserving a hotel room, do you book directly with the hotel, or through an online booking site like Expedia or Priceline?
If you answered the latter, hotels are trying to change that. And you may stand to gain.
A few weeks ago Hyatt Hotels began offering discounts to members of its loyalty program who book their rooms through Hyatt instead of a third party such as Travelocity. The announcement came after Marriott International introduced new discounted rates for loyalty program members who book directly with Marriott (which created an unambiguous marketing campaign called “It Pays to Book Direct”). Both chains announced their discounts in the wake of Hilton Worldwide, which said in February that it was rolling out the largest marketing campaign in its nearly 100-year history to tell its loyalty program members that they would receive discounts on rooms at more than 4,500 hotels around the world if they booked directly.
Hotels have been trying to get travelers to book through their websites and call centers for years, but now major chains are going further than ever to woo travelers away from third-party booking sites, which charge commission fees and have been a barrier to hotels marketing directly to their guests. (Stay tuned: When asked during its most recent earnings call about hotels offering discounts for direct booking, Expedia said that it was considering more flexible ways to work including “testing link-offs from our site on to the direct sites of some of our chain partners,” said Mark D. Okerstrom, Expedia’s executive vice president and chief financial officer.) With hotels and booking sites vying to be the point of sale, travelers are in a position to win, not only scoring perks like room upgrades, but lower rates too.
The discounts at Hyatt hotels are for properties in the United States, Canada and Australia and apply to members of its loyalty program, which is free to join at Hyattgoldpassport.com. Members who book directly can now receive up to 10 percent off reservations made through Hyatt.com, its app, call centers and travel agents. The chain also offers a best-rate guarantee. Later this year, guests who book directly will be allowed to make on-demand requests to their hotel through the app. They can also check in online and manage their reservation on their smartphones.
The new rates at Marriott are available more broadly, at over 4,200 hotels worldwide, to loyalty program members (it’s free to join at marriottrewards.com) who book directly on its website, app, call centers or through certain corporate travel professionals. Karin Timpone, Marriott International’s global marketing officer, said in a statement that the company wants “to help dispel the myth that other travel websites offer better rates for our hotels.” If guests find a better rate within 24 hours of booking directly, Marriott will match that rate and offer an additional 25 percent discount. hotels in lucknow