Hotel Reservations? Use the REAL Web Site.

Reserving a hotel room for a night or two was once a simple process. You would telephone the hotel, give them your arrival and departure dates, they would check their occupancy and, assuming there was space, you had a reservation. 

The hotels are delighted when you book direct like that because they don’t have to pay a commission on bookings that come through a travel agency or one of the on-line web sites like hotels-dot-com. Not having to give up that commission pleases the hotel managers and guests who book direct sometimes wind up with a slightly bigger room or one that’s higher up with a better view. Of course, the means you have to book through that specific hotel’s actual website. 

And that’s the problem! For many—perhaps even most—of the popular hotels, it’s very difficult to know that this is the hotel’s web page and that one is actually one of the on-line travel agencies.

I had to go over to Honolulu a week ago and it meant staying over for one night. I went on line and booked a room at a centrally located hotel for a rate of $230. I checked out the next morning and, with no additional charges, a $230 charge was added to my Visa card’s account. A simple, clean transaction.

But yesterday my Visa bill arrived and there, halfway down a list of recent charges was the hotel in Honolulu, showing a charge of $446.

I have spent the better part of the past two days talking to various people at a call center in India and trying to clear up a mess not-of-my-making.

Several hours today were devoted to explaining why I was not willing to provide them with a copy of my bank statement.

To hopefully avoid these hassles, do your best to book your hotel rooms from the actual hotel’s website. The troubles is, its hard to tell which is the real one and which are the websites of or or designed to make you think it’s something it’s not.

This may help: If the reservations phone number shown has an area code, that should get you to the actual hotel and not some reservations web site. And remember: you could  get a room close to the elevators.