In a digital world, planning a getaway is easier than ever. However, a more digitized travel economy brings more opportunities for customers to take advantage of, and a former hotel worker took to TikTok to reveal that one of the most common methods of booking hotels could be a scam.
In the video, which was viewed more than 660,000 times as of Dec. 31, TikTok user Dani (@danibeeating) revealed that she just quit her job at a hotel, giving her the freedom to share insider knowledge to the internet.
@danibeeating little-known $$$ savings tip from a former hotel employee!! lmk if you want more of this #travel #tourism #traveltiktok #traveltips #travelhacks ♬ original sound – dani 🖤
“Third party booking sites – you know the ones I’m talking about – are a scam,” she said. “They want you to think you’re getting the best price by booking through them, but they’re making fun of you, sweetheart.”
Dani claimed that instead of booking through a third-party website, customers should contact a hotel directly for a quote.
“If you’re planning a trip and you have a hotel in mind, call the hotel directly and say, ‘Hey, this website sells your rooms for that amount per night. Can you give me about $10 off?’” she instructed. “And as long as the person you’re talking to isn’t a jerk or new, they’ll say yes.”
According to Dani, hotels are willing to give customers a discounted rate for bookings directly through them because they have to pay a commission for third-party bookings. Getting that commission from hotels is the “entire business model” of third-party booking sites, Dani said.
Dani went on to say that in addition to saving money, booking directly through hotels is also good practice as it allows customers more flexibility.
“Most of the time, when you book through these sites, your reservation is prepaid and non-refundable,” she explained. “So if something happens – you have to change dates, you have to cancel, whatever – you won’t be able to do that. You can say goodbye to this money.”
On the other hand, Dani said most hotels don’t charge guests until they check out of their rooms. She also said they typically have flexible cancellation policies and are willing to work with customers if they need to change their bookings.
“Stop being scammed,” Dani concluded.
In the comments, many users said that Dani’s method was too cumbersome or that it never worked for them.
“For $10 off I’d rather pay full price and not have to call anyone lol,” said one user
“I did that yesterday, the hotel said they were fully booked. I told them I’m looking online now. They actually told me to book it there,” wrote a second.
“Girl where did you live?? I have tried this in so many different hotels and they NEVER say yes. I even offer [to] pay the same price,” commented a third.
Other users who claimed to work in the hotel industry also added their insights. Some agreed with Dani while others said that a discount is not always guaranteed.
“I use [to] I work in a hotel and always tell people that,” commented one viewer.
“Yes, always call the hotel and ask for the guide price, I work in a hotel too,” wrote a second.
“In the hotel where I work, we can’t give a discount so easily,” disagreed a third. “Unless it’s about a manager or a specific situation, we can’t just say for sure.”
“I work in a hotel and they don’t match the price. We will tell you to book where you found that price,” claimed another.
Dani didn’t immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment via Instagram direct message.
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*Initial publication: December 31, 2022 at 11:09 am CST
Charlotte is a chronic online culture journalist with bylines in outlets like Insider, Rolling Stone, Dazed, VICE, and The Independent.
https://www.dailydot.com/irl/3rd-party-booking-websites-psa/ Former hotel employee shares PSA via third-party booking sites