If you’re booking a hotel for a summer getaway, the I-Team has learned that some travel websites can cost you hundreds of dollars more than others.
For a quick trip to Portland, Diane Herscovitch knew she wanted to stay at a hotel in Kimpton, so she went online and booked it.
But later, Herscovitch noticed that almost 25% of the cost of the stay – $490 – was due to taxes and fees. She thought it was excessive. So Herscovitch started digging around and learned that she hadn’t booked directly on the hotel’s website, like she thought. Instead, she booked through Reservations.com, a third-party booking site, with a URL that Herscovitch said made it look like she was using the hotel’s website.
“The website address that appeared started with the name Kimpton Riverplace Hotel, so I assumed I was on the hotel’s website,” she said.
Herscovitch says she paid $250 more in taxes and fees by booking through reservations.com than she would have by booking directly through the hotel’s website.
“I could go to the hotel website just as easily and do it in five minutes and make the same reservation. They didn’t do anything extra for that money,” she said.
Herscovitch isn’t alone, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, a hospitality industry trade group. It also hears traveler complaints about third-party booking sites.
The group says that 23% of travelers surveyed say they have been misled by third-party travel sites. Nearly 50% say they were charged extra and 30% say their reservations were lost so they never got a room or a refund.
The I-Team contacted reservations.com. The business owner said she takes customer satisfaction seriously. In a statement, it said the fees it charges are “displayed in multiple places.” He also said his website was “clearly branded reservations.com, with no intentional resemblance to any of the hotels available for booking.”
The company issued Herscovitch a refund of $500. She said next time she will watch more carefully where she clicks.
“I was furious,” she said.