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“If you want to get the best deal on your room and support the local economy, book directly with the hotel,” says Graeme Hunt, owner of Argent Motor Lodge in Hamilton.
An estimated $150 million is taken out of New Zealand each year by third party booking sites - a problem which triggered the Commerce Commission to launch an investigation late last year into tactics used by online travel sites operated by Expedia and Booking.com, which include Wotif.com and Hotels.com.
The intervention by the Commerce Commission forced the sites to amend “parity clauses” which required New Zealand accommodation providers to offer their lowest prices to the booking sites.
Mr Hunt says travellers using online sites often don’t realise they aren’t getting the best deal. He says most hotels would prefer to give the guest a discounted price on the room, rather than pay commission to a third party.
However he says it can be hard to bypass sites like booking.com when trying to book accommodation online.
“I’ve experienced it myself,” he says, “when I’ve tried to book directly with a hotel or motel and struggled to get past the booking.com site.”
Mr Hunt’s advice is to find the hotel you want to stay with and simply phone them.
“It might seem old fashioned to use the phone but this is one of those situations where old fashioned works best,” he says. “At Argent, as it will be with most hotels, if you give us a call we can find out what your requirements are and put you into the best room to suit your needs, with the best price.”
Mr Hunt says booking directly also ensures any problems with the room or the booking can be resolved easily because the guest has been communicating with the hotel from the outset.
“We don’t want a third party booking site to get in the way of us being able to properly take care of our guests.”
About Argent Motor Lodge:
Argent Motor Lodge is right next to Waikato Hospital, with easy access to the City Centre, cycle trails and the world-famous, award-winning Hamilton Gardens.
Contact Argent Motor Lodge:
Address: 27 Lorne Street, Hamilton, New Zealand
Phone: +64 7 843 9912/0800 275 676 (toll free within New Zealand)
Phone: 0274 587 724