12 Oct, 2012
Have you ever had the feeling that a car salesperson is deliberately steering you (no pun intended!) into buying a car that you really don’t want? One thing is for sure. When the salesperson says “I’m not making any money on this deal!”, he or she is probably not telling you the truth. Salespeople are in the business of making money through sales and if someone sells without making money, they will likely not have a job for too long.
The online hotel booking industry is the same. When a hotel booking site tells you that there is “No room available” at your favorite hotel, they will quickly steer you to several other hotels instead. Naïve travellers and vacationers may think that’s a good thing – the house if full so the site is directing me to another, albeit a slightly more expensive one. Well, if you believe that, then you may be in for a big surprise. A quick phone call or email to your favorite hotel may just indicate that there are lots of rooms available for you, your family and your entourage! So why would you empty more of your pocket book using an alternate site?
Why indeed! And that is precisely what the Paris Commercial Court thought about French online sites TripAdvisor, Expedia and Hotels.com. The Court ruled that telling sites that there was “No room available”, when in fact there were plenty of rooms vacant, was unfair. The sites were ordered to change the message they give to their users.
So, the next time an online hotel booking site says the house is full, and asks you to empty your pocketbook – don’t! Instead, call the hotel and make your reservations directly and save your money!