Shop Hotel Rooms Online, Book Directly

 In Vail Experience

You may have noticed Hilton and Marriot’s national advertising campaigns encouraging travelers to contact the hotels directly to get the best available room rate. There are small hotels in Colorado, especially the ski areas including Vail Mountain Lodge, that are encouraging that as well.

Why is this happening? Most consumer-travelers use and book their hotel reservations using large travel websites like Expedia, Orbitz and Kayak. They make it easy for you to shop around, get details about the property and find the cheapest hotel rate.

For the hotels that have an agreement with these travel websites, they must give them a certain amount of room inventory, plus offer a lower rate and then on top of that the hotel has to pay commissions to the site.

So why should a traveler shop the big travel websites and then contact the hotel instead of booking through these travel websites? Mostly because of customer service! When guests book a room through a third party travel website, the hotel has limited to no contact with the guest until they arrive. The hotel has no opportunity to communicate with the guest.

What we find with many guests is they want to adjust or cancel their reservation and when booked through the large travel websites, they cannot. At this point, our hands are tied; we cannot adjust or cancel your reservation in any way because it was booked through the travel website.

Problems arise when you want to adjust your reservation, change days, add or subtract a day, or whatever the case may be; instead of making a small adjustment, you often are required to cancel the entire reservation. Canceling a full reservation and re-booking causes guests to lose out, especially if there is limited availability or the property is sold out.

Sometimes credit card issues arise, and, as the hotel, we can do nothing to help you because you paid the travel website, not us. The travel company takes their cut, and then they pay us, and the commissions are significant. Trust me, we want to help you but cannot.

As most of us know, it’s easier to deal with smaller, more personal businesses as they are more accommodating. So we encourage you to book directly with the hotel.

Booking directly with the hotel also offers benefits some travel websites do not offer. For instance, direct hotel bookings gives the hotel the opportunity to inform you of any construction and renovation projects and encourage and work with you to book at another time. We’ve had guests who tried to book a ski vacation when the mountain was closed or not open yet. Luckily they called us first!

The majority of hotels will honor any rate you find online. You can discuss your ideal room with the hotel, especially if you want a room with two beds and not just a king size bed. Your room location also can be adjusted, and most hotels will give you the best room possible when you call, at least we will at the Vail Mountain Lodge.

Our guests also get sage advice on the whole Vail experience. Our concierge can offer advice, set up restaurant reservations, organize and recommend activities and give you options for the best vacation experience possible. A sense of location is also a big question we get from travelers, and we can be honest as to where we are in relation to Vail Mountain.

What events are happening during the time you’ll be in Vail for your vacation? We can answer that question, as well as anything you might want to know about the weather, the snow conditions, reservations, or anything else you can think of that would be important to your Vail vacation. We can share information, like if 10 families are staying at the hotel for a soccer tournament at the same time — which happened to me. I would have appreciated this information because I usually need peace and quiet and want to use the hot tubs and have towels available at the pool.

And if you’re on a budget, hotels can offer advice regarding a great time to visit when rates are a little less, or give advice about the pros and cons of each season.

We want that personal connection with our guests!

So go ahead, shop the travel websites, but when it comes time to book, we encourage all travelers to contact the hotel directly because it’s a much better customer service experience and the hotel will often match the rate you find online.

If there is anything we can do to make your experience better, please let us know! EMAIL or Call 970-476-0700

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