It’s time to book your vacation. This job is pleasant for sure but it is also a big responsibility requiring the ability to really break it down uncovering all the components necessary to create a nirvana land experience-rather than the Death Valley scary kind we all have heard about from friends.
This blog is not designed to help you decide on a destination, nor an accommodation type. This blog is designed exclusively to help you keep as much of the money you have budgeted available to do some very cool, memorable and highly fun things. To accomplish this is no mean feat.
This blog is going to concern itself with saving on the biggest ticket item any vacation has in common. Accommodations. Now, on to all the OTA,s and GDS. Ok, wait now, don’t get nervous. I know all of you are not in the lodging industry so I will offer a brief explanation of these terms.
GDS- Global Distribution System Primarily, we will concern ourselves with what this does. It attempts to gather information about all aspects of vacationing. Accommodations, airlines, cars and more. This system offers this data minute by minute to OTA’s. and others interested parties.
OTA- Online Travel Agents. While you may not know what this is, they have been relentlessly marketing to consumers for some time now. Once I reveal what some of their names are, you will realize that though you did not know their fancy name- you do know them.
Booking.com, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline are to name just a few. These companies offer consumers a way to access thousands of travel options from cars to flights to accommodations at the click of a mouse.
Now, I promised earlier in this blog that I would tell you a way to save money on accommodations. Here is it. Contact the lodging property of your choice directly. Call them up and tell them you prefer to book their property through them. Tell them you’d like to hear about their property from the people who know it inside and out. Tell them really important personal criteria in lodging that will make the difference between your having an ok time or a really awesome time. Tell them you’d really appreciate a bit of a cost break for having contacted them outside of an OTA.
OTA’s can serve a huge business concerns well. They have thousands upon thousands of rooms to book. With that many rooms, the exposure these systems offer is key to booking as many of those rooms as possible keeping everyone in the black. It can be a win-win. These huge concerns have so many rooms that it is a far better economy for them to pay a company 20-35 % of their room revenue to gain the booking than to have that vast sea of rooms remain unbooked for lack of exposure to sufficient numbers to accomplish that.
As you might imagine, a smaller property takes a much larger hit. Take bed and breakfasts or a small boutique property. These properties really specialize in personal contact, delivering excellence and truthfully, time consuming, labor of love, customer service. Their entire operation, due to the smaller numbers involved, is run entirely differently from the sheets to the furnishings to the breakfast offerings. The average number of rooms is generally six. To have to cough up 20-35% of room revenue can mean the difference between economic solvency and a struggling business.
Give it a shot. Book locally. You clearly like the locale enough to schedule a vacation there to explore it. You’ve chosen this place out of all the others. Don’t start with an OTA. Start with someone who lives there, works their property and has as much a vested interest in your best vacation as you do. They are not anonymous and they don’t want you to be either. They don’t just hope to see you at their property one time. They hope you’ll return again and again. Call ’em up and you’ll see what I’ve told you is spot on!