When you are looking for a place to stay on an online travel agency (OTA) like Expedia, or Booking.com, or yes even Airbnb, guess what you have to pay extra? Service fees! Guess what the lodging facility has to give to the big guys? Commissions! Neither guest nor innkeeper wins.
Supporting small businesses is what the majority of people want to do, right?
If you are booking a room on an OTA, guess what, you are not supporting a small business for two reasons, a B&B listing on a OTA has to list the same advertised room rates on the big Kahuna sites as on their own site, but they have to give them up to 20% of the fee booked. So a small business like a B&B loses money, but has to list some or all of their rooms on a OTA in order to be found online. Plus, the small business who you just booked with through an OTA sometimes has to wait weeks, and sometimes months to get paid through them.
OTAs tack on extra service fees on the back end of the guest booking, so that great rate you think you found and booked online? Not so great! OTAs change their policies frequently and don’t inform someone booking until the credit card information is already entered, or just about to be entered, which is misleading for the guest booking a stay.
In addition to paying the service fees, a traveler has to pay up front the entire cost of the stay at the time of booking. you book directly through a B&B, generally the deposit is the cost of one room night, with the balance of the payment due on checking in, or checking out, instead of weeks or months in advance.
Too bad the OTAs don’t give you interest on the money they are holding on to for you. Eh?
If supporting a small business isn’t enough, and saving money on service fees isn’t enough, think of what else you get when you book directly with a B&B….
The availability of last-minute specials, both advertised and not publicly advertised, but available only to people booking directly.
Real personalized service from people that know the area that you are coming to stay at: that can recommend a great restaurant, a local bookstore to check out, the best place to hike, the section of the Hudson River that has the best bird watching, what time and day of the week to best go to avoid crowds at the many Historic sites in the Valley, the best local place to shop for whatever fits your any whim, and of course someone to speak to personally when you have a special request, a food allergy , or you just have a question that you need access to a real person who can really answer your question.
It’s not just Expedia, Tripadvisor and the multitude of other online booking sites out there, it’s Google and Bing too!
Many inns and B&Bs don’t list all their rooms on the online travel agencies because they have regular guests that book direct and they lose money by listing them with the big guys.
OTAs don’t care if they double book a room. There is a lapse in time between when someone books on an OTA and the OTA informs the lodging facility that the room has been reserved. Up for driving 3 hours to get to your destination to find there is no room at your destination? Or fly a thousand miles and find you have to find somewhere else to stay? Calling an inn directly or booking on a B&B’s website gives you real time availability, so there is no question. The first person who books with a reservation confirmation wins the race to reserve the room, so why take that chance, book directly through the B&B.
And…….Good luck getting someone to help you if you booked through an OTA, if you have to change the date of the reservation, need an early or late arrival, add flowers for your significant other because you want to book a romantic getaway. (By the way circle back to the innkeepers at our B&Bs that can give you the best recommendations for a local romantic restaurant, and the best place to propose on the shores of the Hudson River, or in the lush gardens of one of the many local Historic Mansions (nope won’t tell you which one, you have to ask an innkeeper!).
And heaven forbid you need to cancel your reservation that you booked on a OTA, trying to find a number to call in the first place is an enormous challenge, find one and spend hours fruitlessly being lead through phone trees to hang the phone up in frustration with your issue unresolved. Call a B&B directly and get a live person who can help you.
You have to hunt on an OTA to even find B&Bs. B&Bs generally get listed on the bottom of the big sites, after hotels and motels. Interestingly enough, many B&Bs have rates comparable or lower to an equivalent lodging facility like a hotel or motel. And on that note, if you are looking on Airbnb for a place to stay, keep in mind those cheap rates generally include exorbitant cleaning fees (bringing the cost up above a similar legal lodging facility who has business and liability insurance, and is inspected by the health department). The cleaning fees at a B&B are included in the regular rate, not an extra $50.00 a night extra tacked on.
An inn’s website will show you what the inn really looks like in full, their rooms, their exteriors, their interiors, who their innkeepers are and what their background is, you get to see what they serve for breakfast and what else they offer, plus most B&Bs have recommendations on their websites as to what is local to them and easy to get to from the inn itself. Isn’t that easier then plugging in a destination on Google maps and then trying to see what else is around it? Or looking at a travel guide and reading some suggestions from someone that probably has never even stepped within a hundred miles of the location?
If you need yet more reasons to book directly through a B&B, some B&Bs have loyalty programs, just like a hotel, booking through an OTA means those points don’t get applied. Plus, if you need even more reasons to book directly, booking at a B&B offers free WIFI, delicious breakfasts, personalized service and maybe some room upgrades as well.
So lets recap, why book directly with a B&B………….
- Supporting a small business
- No service fees
- Access to the best rates
- All room inventory, not just the rooms listed online on an OTA
- A live person on the other end of the phone to help you
- No chance of a double booking
- No upfront full payments, which can sometimes be far in advance
- Personalized knowledge of the area
- Access to the best deals and offers, including last minute specials and unadvertised offers
Book directly with our Hudson Valley Association Members and Save!! #BookDirect