Beware when making hotel reservations
Patsy Hobbs, of Vancouver, was organizing a trip for a family wedding this summer and was asked to book the accommodations.
She was searching for a specific motel in Eganville, Ontario, a summer getaway destination east of Ottawa.
"I clicked on the motel that I was looking for," she said.
She had clicked on a third party travel site that popped up in her search. It was Booking.com and having used it before, she went to work. She needed three rooms, each had two double beds. The first reservation was made but then something happened.
"When I went to book the second and third room, the prices jumped up because it kept saying last rooms," Hobbs said.
There were two different prices for the same type of room. One was quoted at $148 and the other was listed at $163.
"We paid the price because we thought that's what it was," she said.
Her sister who lives in the area happened to drop by the motel to check it out. That’s when it was discovered that all the rooms were the same, double beds, priced at $110 each.
Hobbs says she immediately contacted Booking.com trying to get some answers about what happened.
"I was so frustrated. I thought, give me a straight answer why, when the motel owner says it’s $110 and you charge $163? You’re fighting with so many different people they pass you on, pass you on."
CTV News Vancouver confirmed the price discrepancy with the motel owner.
Booking.com is one of the world’s largest travel booking sites and says it does not set prices, and only charges a 15 per cent commission.
It blamed the motel owner for the price difference stating in an email to CTV News:"..the property informed us, as well as the guest, that the rate was loaded incorrectly by the property."
According to the cancellation policy on Booking.com, only 70 per cent of the money would be refunded until Hobbs says she got the owner involved.
"Just the amount of trouble I went through trying to get the money back, it was pretty brutal," she said.
Booking.com also says the property sets the cancellation policies.
Hobbs has now booked all three rooms directly with the motel – all at $110 each.
Using a third party booking site can work in your favour to make it easier to find what you want and to compare prices among similar properties. But before you book, compare the quoted price directly with the property to see if there’s a better deal. Also, if you book with a third party verify the reservation directly with the property to ensure it went through.
Typically if you use a third party travel site you will have to live by its rules and deal with that agency to make changes or if anything goes wrong.
Booking.com says it’s merely a platform that connects suppliers with customers to reach for a larger global reach.