Plan your perfect stay
Six reasons you should always book your stay directly
The end of lockdown in England is finally in sight, and many of us are dreaming of a well-earned holiday. With the country on track to have vaccinated everyone by July, the hope is that we will be able to have a normal summer season and start making up for lost time.
We’re all desperate to get out and about this summer, and it would be easy to stick to the same old websites. But with a tiny bit of googling and reading reviews, you can find your ideal accommodation without the booking sites, and get a better deal by going direct.
You'll often find it’s cheaper
We all know that just because something says it’s reduced, doesn’t mean it’s a bargain! This is as true of online booking sites as it is of supermarkets, though for slightly different reasons. While these platforms can impose artificial costs, most of the markup is because of the fees they charge for every sale - causing hoteliers to raise their prices in order to make ends meet.
By booking directly through the accommodation’s website, it has fewer fees to pay, meaning you'll get the best price without a hefty site surcharge. You’ll also be able to tailor your booking to your needs and negotiate to get the best deal. Not only will you pay less, but your money goes straight into the local economy, helping family businesses to get back on their feet.
You'll get great advice
While you may get contact details for your accommodation when booking through an online travel agency, the overall experience is far less personal. It’s likely that you won’t have any contact with your hotel until you arrive on the day, and even then, it’s likely to be minimal.
By booking your accommodation directly, you’ll be in closer contact with them and receive more information about your booking. This will help you to find the hotel quicker, buy extras such as breakfasts, and check-in quicker, but you’ll also be able to make the most of their local advice and sightseeing tips. By talking with the staff or owner, you’ll get insider information on the best places to visit, eat and explore, and improve your holiday experience.
You'll be in front of the queue
While hotels try to stay on top of their bookings through external websites, they can also be prone to problems. If they’re not able to check for bookings regularly, they might end up overbooked, and have to cancel bookings - often starting with the booking websites. They will also be less flexible to any changes, as these usually have to go through the ‘OTA’ (online travel agency), which slows the process down.
If you go direct, they’ll be able to give you up-to-the-minute information, and ensure you get the room and dates you’re looking for. As they benefit more from direct bookings, they’re also more likely to accommodate any changes or delays to your journey and handle these much quicker and easier than if you went through an intermediary.
You'll be helping small businesses
We’ve already mentioned that hotels, hostels, and B&Bs get a larger proportion of your money if you book directly. This is always helpful for businesses, but never more so than now. The pandemic has seen bookings vanish over the past year, and this summer represents a lifeline for businesses across the tourism sector.
By choosing to book directly, you’ll help to secure their future and enable them to deliver the best possible service for their guests. Your support will be hugely appreciated, and will likely be paid back in kind - they will be doing everything they can to give people the perfect welcome. Hoteliers are in it because they love the place they live, and they’re often happy to share this love with you.
You may get extra incentives
To entice you away from booking through an online travel agent, many hotels are making some of their services exclusive to direct bookings only and offer bonus perks and discounts on top of better prices.
Many hotels have begun reserving wi-fi access for direct bookings or offer faster internet or fewer limits on data usage. Some may offer free breakfast or other upgrades for direct bookings, or some form of a welcome package. You may even find there are exclusive upgrades or extras you can only get by contacting a hotel directly, as they are not listed or available on the external booking websites.
You may get better service
We’ve all endured the nightmare of bad customer service. If you have an issue when booking through an online travel agent, you’re often in a queue with millions of other users. Even if your messages make it to the accommodation you’ve booked, the booking site is an extra step in the process and tends to slow down the response.
Removing the OTA from the picture and booking through the accommodation’s website will put you in touch with them directly, and reduce the chance of mistakes and misunderstandings. By talking to real humans, you can smooth out any issues before they snowball, and sap the fun out of your trip. That’s probably not an experience you want when planning your first break in a year!
Want to put this to the test?
Our extensive accommodation listings include the very best places to stay in Canterbury, and all of them will take you straight to their website to book direct - ensuring that both you and they make this a summer to remember.