I learned a pretty nifty trick last week that I wanted to share with my readers about booking a hotel reservation. For those who did not know, the industry of booking reservations through 3rd party sites is a billion dollar industry. Essentially, hotels pay commission to the 3rd party sites for the reservations regardless of if you actually use the reservation.
What this means is if I logged into expedia.com and booked a hotel reservation through their site and then tried to cancel the reservation, the hotel would not refund my money because I chose to go through a third party site and they already paid their commission to the vendor.
Hotels already lower their prices by very small margins through these 3rd party sites, but they are banking on cancellations that they do not need to refund because people’s plans change. The trick around this though is rescheduling your reservation which a hotel must honor even if the customer booked through a 3rd party site.
How I Gamed the System
After I figured this out, I tried to game the system. I found that certain nights in October were pricier than those in January in a specific location. I booked the ticket through the 3rd party site for $59 a night in January, when the hotel was charging $61 a night. I then called the hotel and told them that I could not make my reservation and rescheduled for October, where the price for booking on the hotel’s site was $109 a night.
Bottom Line: Book ahead on 3rd party sites for the slight marginal cost savings, but to really save money, book for cheaper dates and then switch reservations.