There’s nothing worse than paying over the odds for a hotel room, after all, doesn’t everyone love a deal? So where do you look when you are searching for a place to rest your head for a few nights?
A Shout Out to The OTA’s.
You could check out one of the many online travel agents (OTA’s). Just like traditional travel agents, they provide information, planning tools and a way to book your much-longed for vacation – but as the name suggests you do it all on-line rather than pop into a store or have a long-drawn-out chat over the phone. OTA’s offer a simple way for travelers to plan and book, showing live availability and real-time prices, but there’s often a lot of information to wade through.
A Warm Welcome to Meta-Search.
What if we were to tell you there is another way to grab yourself a too-good-to-be- true hotel deal? Allow us to introduce you to travel meta-search websites, the new way to access accurate information based on your preferences.
How Does It Work?
Put simply, a meta-search website acts a search engine, providing a single platform (a sort of one-stop shop) so you can choose the best hotel for you. Why not personalize your search? Fancy a gentle steam in a sauna or hankering for a pummelling massage? Search for a hotel with a spa. Always wanted to find out if there really is a monster lurking in Loch Ness? Search for a wee hotel in the Scottish Highlands.
You enter your preferences and the clever meta-search gathers content, such as room rates, from various booking websites and online travel agents. You can then make an informed choice, safe in the knowledge that you are receiving accurate and up-to-date information.
OTA Vs Meta-Search.
In the red corner we have OTA’s traditionally the way to book online – lots of hotels in one easily accessible spot, and often you can sort out car hire, and tickets for events at the same time.
In the blue corner we have meta-search, companies determined to offer all of the options, they are often viewed as “the new kids on the block.” but the likes of SkyScanner and Kayak have established companies that have been around for years, and they have paved the way for other meta-search sites.
Who will win the day? Some feel that meta-search and OTA’s will work hand-in-hand to offer the best deals to customers, other feel that OTA’s have had their time in the sun and it’s time that they retreated beneath their parasol and let meta-search websites shine.
It’s becoming more likely that this will happen – first off providers such as hoteliers like the idea that meta-search websites allow the consumer to connect and book directly with them (instead of using OTA’s who act as middle-men). There’s also a feeling that consumers prefer the idea of going directly too – having to deal with an OTA can be messy and add an extra layer of communication. Plus, surely the best deals come directly from the hotel? Not from an agency acting as a go-between.
So, if you are looking to book a cheap hotel it seems savvy to check out a meta-search website. Get searching, there are a boutique hotel and a diamond of a deal just waiting for you!