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Hotel hack: Save money and get perks by booking a room directly instead of online

Published Mar 25th, 2016 12:36PM EDT

Back in the old days (read: pre-Internet), reservations for most anything were made directly. Need a flight? Call up an airline. Need a hotel room? Call the hotel. But these days, many of the reservations we make are not only done online, but via third-party booking sites. Need a flight? Hit up Travelocity. Need concert tickets? Try out Stubhub (and go broke in the process).

Similarly, many people today opt to book hotel rooms through third-party sites because they provide a quick and easy way to compare rates and amenities and ultimately secure the most bang for your buck. But because hotels would much rather have customers book rooms directly with them (and not pay a commission to third-party websites), the Los Angeles Times reports that some hotels have begun offering guests substantial perks for direct bookings.

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The report reads in part:

As for the perks, the Hotel Amarano in Burbank offers guests who book directly either a $25 food and beverage credit to use at the hotel’s eateries or a room upgrade. Guests who book directly at the Beverly Hilton Hotel can get free Wi-Fi.

In Hawaii, a hotel management group is giving daily $20 Starbucks gift cards to guests who book directly at the group’s Lite hotels, plus 12 other properties across the islands.

All that said, if you’re truly looking to get the best deal on a hotel room as possible, you might want to keep this in mind and, gasp!, pick up the phone and call the hotel directly and see what types of perks they might be willing to offer you. While the price a hotel will quote you will often be higher than what you’d find on a website, sometimes the offered perks can more than make up for that price differential.

On a related note, an old Reddit thread on hotel hacks featured the following comment from a hotel front desk supervisor: “Hotels also receive a lot of business from Hotwire and other third-party sources which have negotiated rate codes with the hotel. Whenever someone books a hotwire room at my hotel we only make $49 off the room even though it might be listed for $119 or more on our website. Hotwire will then advertise this room for $60 or so on their website, sometimes you can negotiate a great deal with the hotel by offering to eliminate the middle man.”

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.