What the Online Travel Agents ( OTA’S ) like “Airbnb, Expedia , Booking.com” don’t want you to know….
Discussed below are some of the major disadvantages of using OTA’s, and why booking direct would likely be a more positive experience when booking your Blue Mountain getaway….
“Airbnb” is an online travel agent that connects people looking for accommodations with other people looking to rent their personal homes/spaces short term.
Travelers search and book in over 190 countries worldwide, 365 days a year looking for what they believe to be upscale accommodations at a lower cost….. what travelers don’t know is….
For example: In 2017 “Airbnb” alone raised $448 million in funds bringing the value of their company to about $38 billion. This made it worth more than the Chicago based Hyatt Hotels Corp and New York based Wyndham Worldwide Corp respectively….. hmmmmm…. how is that possible?
Well…. what OTA’s don’t tell you is they make their money charging a fee to the owner of the property and another virtually hidden fee to the guest when booking….
They charge a “VAT”…. “Value Added Tax” A value-added tax (VAT) is a consumption tax placed on a product/service whenever value is added…. (Ie: using their website in Airbnb’s case as a platform to sell an owners rental and to the guest for being able to rent accommodations.)
The amount of “VAT” depends and varies based on the dollar value of the product/service. In this case with an “OTA” you would be paying a tax to use their website to book….
In laymen terms a “Middle Man Tax”. You’re not actually saving much if anything when you get your final charges billed to your credit card. Resorts like us would rather pass on savings to guests than to pay high commissions to OTA’s. After all you are our guest………not the OTA.
The most prominent and quite valid concerns for guests are often that the property does not match the description/pictures advertised, or that the host/condo or other is unresponsive to guest needs/issues/emergencies.
CASE IN POINT : I experienced a family that had booked a condo through an OTA and though they were emailed the key code to get in the unit, the key pad on the front door did not work. They came to the front desk as we have a reception/ check in area for our guests and asked for help.
We had to explain that though they were booked here in this condo complex that we were not in charge of maintaining all of the units including the unit in question.
Apparently, the battery had expired and needed replacing. Something that had they booked directly through us we would have been able to rectify within a matter of 10 min or so.
Instead the frustrated and disappointed guests had to call the owner directly which proved to be quite difficult. I overheard the several attempts in our lobby before being able to finally reach them.
After being advised that there was “no one on site” to assist, the guests were visibly distraught and didn’t know what to do. They had just spent hard earned money on a family vacation to have spent a good part of it in a lobby.
It was cold outside already getting dark and not the greatest weather so this was a serious issue. They were informed that they would have to wait in our lobby for a locksmith to arrive.
After what I assume felt like the longest 2 hours of their life (waiting with a small child who wanted so desperately to be settled ) a locksmith finally arrived to get them into their unit.
The next day before checking out they came by to ask for our information and asked how to book with us in the future based on their poor experience.
What people do not realize is that something as simple as “an expired battery” is a very common issue and happens more often then they may realize. Having someone available on site for maintenance or housekeeping issues is always a huge benefit.
The lack of human touch these days due to the OTA’s have left many disappointed with their experience, especially when they have spent so much time researching and planning their perfect romantic getaway or family vacation for it to be spoiled by issues that could be rectified quickly.
“We at The Lodges at Blue Mountain aim to bring back the personal touch and positive experiences through direct customer service interaction at the hotel/property management level”
So, in a nutshell its often NOT less expensive and NOT worth loosing piece of mind during your vacation to book an OTA such has Airbnb, Expedia, Booking.com, Home Away etc.
“Book Direct!” We will match any advertised price and beat it, so why not? Right??