Why you should book accommodation directly with hotels

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Did you know that you can often get cheaper accommodation rates by booking directly through hotel websites?

You can; only you may have to call hotels first to check which has the lowest rate.

Under existing laws, independent hotel operators cannot advertise lower rates that undercut larger online booking sites, but these laws would be outlawed if Labor wins the next federal election.

Labor claims that the “number one issue” facing Australia’s accommodation industry is how online booking giants such as Expedia and Booking.com use their market power to prevent businesses on their platforms advertising cheaper prices on their own websites.

While independent hotel and motel owners are copping a raw deal by using these larger booking websites, they feel forced to, in order to operate. But when doing so, they pay commissions between 10 and 30 per cent.

“They’re frankly gouging local hotel owners,” Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh told SmartCompany.

This is why YourLifeChoices has repeatedly informed it readers that booking directly with hotels will get them a better deal, as those who call providers directly or visit in person are offered cheaper rates than those who book online.

Mr Leigh believes it’s time for Australia to follow regulators in Italy, France, Germany and Sweden, who have already banned these pay parity clauses.

While Labor’s policy addresses pay parity clauses, it doesn’t really help independent hotels compete with larger platform’s online discoverability, which dominate search result listings.

This means smaller hotels and chains still have to use larger platforms to be noticed by potential bookers.

Some operators derive up to 80 per cent of their business from these larger platforms, but have to pay steep commissions, cutting into their bottom lines.

But the discoverability problem means they have little option but to use them.

Labor’s principal focus is to create “proper competition” by ensuring that consumers can go direct and save money.

“A platform like Expedia or Booking.com will invariably have a stronger presence online than any individual hotel but that doesn’t entitle them to be getting nearly a third of the booking fee,” says Mr Leigh.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is also currently investigating pay parity clauses.

“The ACCC continues to look into potential issues within the online travel booking industry, including parity clauses, to see if further action is warranted to improve competition and business practice,” said an ACCC spokesperson.

The industry keenly awaits the outcome of the ACCC’s probe – as too should consumers.

“It will hopefully recalibrate the way people book,” said chief executive of the Accommodation Association of Australia Richard Munro.

Do you book your accommodation directly with hotels?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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14 Comments

Total Comments: 14
  1. 0
    0

    Good on Labor well done, always thinking of the average Aussie & making it a much fairer playing field

  2. 0
    0

    Please explain! I have always found the opposite. I call hotels and ask to match online prices only to be told that they can’t. They say that online sites buy accommodation in big lots and resell cheaper.

  3. 0
    0

    Wow, such an important issue for Labor to focus on!

    Wish they had the same focus on the massive tax avoidance by the Large companies and the rich, as well as the Super rorts by the wealthy which they ignored over the decades. As well as the massive use of Negative Gearing (for multiple properties) and unlimited Capital Gains tax concessions – all for the rich – which includes the Labor politicians, their friends & family! Any changes being proposed in these areas are being carefully designed to not affect themselves!

    Of course, on the other hand, attacks on retirees has been their par-for-the-course approach instead! Because they have different rules for themselves and are not affected!

    • 0
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      It is important because many hotels/motels are small business and are struggling to survive, and people are paying more for accommodation because of overseas owned booking agents who are ripping everyone off. It all effects our economy too. Less money to spend in the towns you visit.

    • 0
      0

      Not sure if you missed my point – they will attack the small targets not the big ones which really need to be attacked. Also, definitely not the ones where their rich Labor mates are affected.
      Hotels are optional expenses – you can always ring them directly, or you can use Airbnb, etc. Lots of choices. Good regulation is always useful in any area (how about petrol prices?), however I refer you back to my previous comment.

    • 0
      0

      No did not miss your point, I do understand many large companies especially overseas owned avoid paying tax and the rich have ways to pay less by hiding their money, but they are also the ones paying Labor and Liberal big donations to get what they want. I just wanted to add what I thought. I also think we need to curb MP pensions or at least assest test them like everyone else.

  4. 0
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    Yes we need to stop filling the pockets of overseas websites who are raking in money just for advertising online, what a scam. And I bet they do not contribute to the Australian tax either.

    • 0
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      The LNP haven’t done anything about it because they are closely affiliated with one of these travel booking companies. Cant upset the donors.

    • 0
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      Yes, BTM I forgot about that. Dick Smith did a big talk on this scam too, he joined the Sustainable Australia Party, so if they get more seats maybe they can work with Labor to make positive changes to help hoteliers and small motels and caravan parks.

  5. 0
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    I recently booked and stayed at Accor motel in Campbelltown and was charged $7 more after paying cash. When I questioned the rate because it was more than the web price was told if you had of booked on line it would have been cheeper

  6. 0
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    OGR
    have a read of this about your favorite labor leader. You need to have a look on Facebook to see what a lot of other people think about him. They cant all be wrong If you want a crim to be you leader then stick with him. https://kangaroocourtofaustralia.com/2016/05/15/bill-shortens-alleged-crimes-are-fraud-theft-adultery-and-rape-to-name-a-few-should-he-be-pm/

  7. 0
    0

    OGR
    have a read of this about your favorite labor leader. You need to have a look on Facebook to see what a lot of other people think about him. They cant all be wrong If you want a crim to be you leader then stick with him. https://kangaroocourtofaustralia.com/2016/05/15/bill-shortens-alleged-crimes-are-fraud-theft-adultery-and-rape-to-name-a-few-should-he-be-pm/


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