Not all travelers want to use travel agents for their trips and My Vacation Lady can understand that. There are certain trips that are easily booked online- like airline tickets and simple hotel stays.
In an online article on MarketWatch, some interesting points were brought up about what online travel agencies (and yes, those websites do below to online travel agencies) and what you may not know:
“We’ll snag you a great view — of the parking lot.”
Your chances of ending up in a less desirable room at a hotel increase when you book a stay with a third-party site, says Bjorn Hanson, dean of New York University’s Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management. That includes rooms over the loading dock, with a view of the parking lot, near the service elevator or the part of the hotel under renovation, he says. Hotels can determine where to place guests partly based on where their bookings come from: Guests who book via third-party sites are less likely to be loyal guests than those who use the brand site and identify themselves as loyalty program members, says Bill Carroll, senior lecturer at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. Those guests tend to get more preferential treatment because they have a relationship with the hotel, he says. So travelers who plan to visit the same hotel again might want to book directly with the hotel.
Online travel agencies counter that their contracts stipulate that all customers be treated the same and that when customers reserve a specific type of room, the hotel must give them that. The hotel industry, however, corroborates the idea that loyal customers tend to get the best rooms. McInerney, of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, says hotels consider consumers who use online travel agencies infrequent travelers who are searching for the cheapest price, and prefer to instead reward customers who book with them because it displays loyalty: They sought out a particular hotel brand and are more likely to return again, he says.
When speaking to some of our hotel partners, we have hear the same thing. We also will email the hotel to alert them to our client’s upcoming stay. When speaking to the sales manager of one of our favorite resorts in Hawaii a few years ago, My Vacation Lady asked Chris what they do when I email them about my upcoming client’s visit and what difference it makes in their room assignment. First of all, he said that they put a trace on my client’s reservation. Basically it is tagged as a VIP reservation. While My Vacation Lady can never guarantee room upgrades, our clients may get the best view of the available rooms in that category of rooms. When we asked how that may differ from those guests who book with the online travel agencies, his reply was, “They get what they pay for.” Simply said, if they paid for a garden view room, they shouldn’t expect to get a pool view or ocean view room.
My Vacation Lady may not be the right travel agent for everyone but for those clients who want a vacation or honeymoon experience, rather than just a trip, we might be able to help.