Booking travel elements like hotel rooms, airfare, or car rentals can be frustrating – especially when prices can change often. That’s why a lot of travelers turn to third-party websites like Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz, and more. However, these aren’t always the best option for booking. Here, our PHL Airport parking company shares some risks of making a reservation through a third-party website:
Lack of Perks
Companies appreciate it when you book your car rental, flight, or hotel directly through them, so if there are any extra perks to give away (like an upgrade or a freebie), they may shy away from giving them to someone who used a third party website. In addition, if you’re an airline or hotel rewards member, you may not get credit for your reservation if you booked through another company.
If you book a hotel room or a flight through a third party website, you may not have the opportunity to make changes to your reservation like you would when you book through the company. Many third-party sites can offer lower rates because their reservations are non-refundable and/or not able to be changed. This means you run the risk of having to book a second reservation or pay a hefty cancelation fee if your travel plans change. Some third-party websites even offer change fees in addition to the fees put in place by the hotel or airline, so you could end up paying even more than if you booked directly through the company.
Though each third-party website is different, overall, they’ve gotten a bad rap when it comes to customer service. Many times, travelers spend long wait times on the phone with a website only to find their issue unresolved or to be directed to talk to the hotel, airline, or rental car company directly. By booking through the main company, you’ll likely have a better customer service experience and they can help you faster and easier if something goes wrong during your trip.
The main objective of a third-party website is to offer the cheapest prices for a hotel, flight, or car, however, in order to do that, these parties often list rooms, seats, or cars that are on the lower side of a traveler’s expectations. If you decide to use a third party, the lower price means you can’t expect to be booked in a suite, enjoy priority boarding, or drive away in a new model vehicle.
What to Do Instead
While our PHL Airport parking company doesn’t recommend booking with a third-party website, that doesn’t mean you can’t use them at all. We recommend looking for low rates through sites like Kayak or Expedia and then searching for the same deal through the actual company website. Most of the time, you’ll find the same offer. If you don’t, try calling the company and telling them the price you found, but mention that you’d rather book directly so you can give them the support; many companies will price-match the offer.