Having been in this business for 15 years and an avid traveler for 10 years before that it still surprises how often people blindly put their faith into online travel agencies and discount sites because of the perception of better pricing or a better deal. Sometimes this can make sense but when you are booking your vacation or taking that important business trip isn’t it worth knowing you are getting the best information possible? That you are speaking with the same people that will be providing the actual service to you? I still remember one time when one of the OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies) booked a gentleman into the cheapest available room, on the 3rd floor of our B&B. Now this man clearly indicated to the representative of the OTA that he was handicapped and indicated he could not climb steps. It was actually in the notes that came with the reservation. Being an old building we have no elevators. Luckily I noticed the notes when the reservation came in and decided to call the customer to see if he would like us to move him to a room on the first floor. What I found out is he was in a wheelchair and we are not able to accommodate that kind of special need. In this case we averted a a problem and severe disappointment. Who wants to start a trip off that way? Countless other times we have to try to help upset customers who believe they booked something different than they actually did. The reality is many OTA’s are simply selling a room or a seat on an airplane. They can’t possibly know all the details about a property that make it unique, special, or simply a wrong fit for the customer. They leave out the most important part which is the experience. No one will care more about your experience and well being than the people at the properties who host you. The next time you plan a trip consider booking directly with property. If you find a better price on an OTA mention this and chances are the property will match it and still give you better and more personalized service.
John Battista, Owner of The Carisbrooke Inn
If found this interesting article for those who wish to read more.