Why Book Direct?

Book direct.

Everything is better when you get it direct from the source: Food tastes fresher, flowers last longer. But what about travel reservations? A “King Guest Room” is a “King Guest Room” no matter how you book it, right?


Travelers might not notice it right away, but there are some serious advantages to booking directly with a hotel rather than through an online travel agency (OTA) like Expedia or Orbitz.

How it Works: When looking for hotels, many savvy travelers start on an OTA site so they can comparison shop. To be included in the search results, hotels make agreements with the OTA negotiating a hefty commission for bookings – typically 20-30%. So if you reserve a $200 room through an OTA, that little Travelocity gnome is skimming about $60. Further, the hotel must agree to not sell that room at a lower price anywhere else, including on its own site.

If the cost to you is the same either way, why should you book direct?

Direct Benefit #1 – Loyalty Points: It doesn’t matter if it is Stash Rewards, Hilton HHonors, Marriott Rewards or any other hotel loyalty program, if you book through an Online Travel Agency (OTA), you don’t get your points.

Direct Benefit #2 – Brownie Points: OTAs aren’t fluffing your pillows, pouring your nightcaps or giving you wake up calls — your hotel is.  Put your money where it belongs, with the folks taking care of you. Cutting out the middle man saves the hotel beaucoup bucks–an action that does not go unnoticed by hotel staff.

Direct Benefit #3 – Perk Priority: Those brownie points have real benefits. With only one upgrade available, a front desk agent is going to hook up the direct-booker over the OTA-booker, every time.  Early check-in requests? Hotels will try to accommodate every request, but direct bookers often float to the top of the list.

Direct Benefit #3 – Flexibility: Need to make a change to your reservation? Would you rather call the OTA’s 1-800-Robot (Please speak your 27-digit reservation code so we may assist you…. I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that. Please try again) or get a friendly human who can actually assist you?

Direct Benefit #4 – Get Personal: Have special needs or requests? When booking direct, you can make sure the hotel knows you need adjoining rooms on a high floor, or that you are allergic to down and require foam pillows. Or maybe you just need a framed picture of bacon.  No matter what you need or want – a direct booking is the surefire way to get a tailored experience.

In closing, every Stash partner hotel will go out of their way to delight the every guest, regardless of how they book. It’s the standard of service that unites these independent hotels.

Next time you travel, skip the middleman, and head straight to the source.

Categories: Industry InsightsTags: , ,


  1. I assume you look at a travel agent the same as online booking engine by the look of it.
    It is disappointing if you do as I have booked and stayed at your hotels and recommend your properties to many of my clients, it doesn’t give me confidence to keep doing this.

  2. Hi Debra,
    Thanks for your comment. That’s a very important distinction we should have made in the article. Sorry for the confusion.

    Stash does not discourage booking through travel agents. In fact, Stash members who book through travel agents, consortia, or a GDS are eligible to earn points at partner hotels. Our partner hotels value their relationships with travel agents, as well, and leverage Stash to the mutual benefit of both travel agents and Stash members.

    As you probably know, with Stash, travel agents receive their commission when booking on behalf of a member at a Stash hotel, and the member gets the added benefit of points.

    Additionally, many Stash Partner Hotels now offer bonuses for group and corporate bookings during soft periods. We encourage travel arrangers to reach out to the hotels where they frequently book group stays to ask about group promotions at their hotel.

    We’ll try to be more clear in future posts. We love our travel agents, bookers, meeting planners and other travel professionals. It’s the massive OTAs that we try to steer clear of.

    All the best,
    Emily (and the Stash Team!)

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