Are the best hotel deals found through Online Travel Agents? Think again!

When travelers are searching for lodging, the most common way to find hotels is through Online Travel Agencies (OTAs).  In recent years, OTAs have grown in size, and their dominance in the hospitality industry is undeniable. Travelers often believe that OTAs, such as Expedia and, are convenient, presenting guests with a range of lodging options that customers can easily compare. Moreover, travelers can book their lodging, transportation, and tickets for various attractions all in one place!


What’s not to love?


Turns out, quite a bit…




OTAs are Pricey


Hotels and bed and breakfasts pay a commission to OTAs. In turn, OTAs advertise their business on their site, gaining traffic and facilitating bookings. Instead of having to search for lodging that suits their individual needs, OTAs present a range of lodging options. In the early 2000’s when the OTA boom took place, OTAs offered package deals that streamlined the cost of traveling. For a commission of 5%, some hotels saw an increase in booking by 26%.


However, times have changed. OTAs now have a monopoly on the market. Companies like Orbitz and can now charge hotels a commission of 30%. When paired with the fact that OTAs have greater marketing power, this means that OTAs can charge rates that are significantly higher than if a customer had simply reserved a room with their boutique hotel or lodging of choice.  In a recent study of 25 major cities around the world, prices offered by OTAs were cheaper than booking directly for only 14% of the hotels listed. Luckily, there is a way to avoid the steep costs associated with OTAs – booking directly! When a traveler books directly with a hotel, there are no commissions, nor associated price hikes. In other words, booking directly will save the customer money.

A Customized Experience


However, saving money isn’t the only benefit to be gained from booking directly with hotels. Booking with an OTA presents its own complications. Should a guest need to rearrange their itinerary, a hotelier or an innkeeper will not be able to amend the reservation.  Instead, the customer will have to change their reservation with the OTA instead. Booking directly also allows for a more customized, individual experience. Oftentimes, guests are unable to see the precise room that they will be staying in, nor can they take advantage of a boutique hotel’s special packages or amenities. Put simply, booking directly allows for a cheaper, more tailored experience with clearer communication for all parties involved.


Your Experience at Amerian Guest House

Pancakes with fruit, juice, and coffee

A part of the Book Direct movement, American Guest House wants our guests to have the best hospitality experience that we can provide during their stay at our Washington, D.C. bed and breakfast. At American Guest House, we pride ourselves on providing our guests with an individualized experience. Upon arrival, guests are offered a glass of wine. Each morning we cook a gourmet, delicious breakfast for our guests. In the evenings, our guests can snack on cookies, candy, sodas and water. For special occasions, guests can arrange for chocolates, chocolate-covered strawberries, champagne, sparkling wine, and roses to be placed in their room in advance of their arrival. As a hotel in the Dupont Circle area, we host guests in our luxurious building in a residential neighborhood — not a corporate, cookie-cutter building. Book now to make sure that you don’t miss out as we fill up in preparation for Spring!

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