Why You Should Think Twice Before Booking Directly on a Hotel Website

© Alessandro Gottardo

Posted September 05, 2016

How to get the best deal.

This piece originally appeared on TravelAndLeisure.com.

Hilton wants you to “stop clicking around.” Marriott says, “It pays to book direct.” Hyatt tells travelers they can save big.

Hotel companies are tired of paying commissions to online travel agencies (OTAs) like Priceline and Expedia, so they’re trying to convince customers to cut out the middlemen—they promise you’ll find the best prices on their own websites and apps, with loyalty-program members seeing even bigger savings.

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But do they deliver? We put the brands to the test, to see what kinds of discounts travelers could expect, and got mixed results. In some cases, prices were lower on hotel websites. In others, the very same room cost 20 percent more. So caveat emptor—but remember that if you’re trying to collect hotel loyalty points, which you don’t get through OTAs, it might be worth paying a little bit more.

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