Most families are all looking for the same thing...the very best hotel room, at the cheapest price with a guarantee that this will all work out perfectly.
Hotels will often offer cheaper prices or perks online to entice guest to book directly with them. They are not suppose to do this. They are suppose to keep the playing field fair and offer the same price through all their wholesale and online partners that sell rooms for them. Often this is not the case.
The motivation for all hoteliers is of course to sell more hotel rooms at the cheapest prices that they can. The industry lingo is called "putting bums in beds" (aka bums meaning the Euro term for rear end). To meet their occupancy and financial goals, they offer incredible online or direct deals to unsuspecting vacationers. This may all seem innocent enough, but you could be putting your vacation at risk.
Imagine this scenario...
You and your kids arrive at your resort all psyched and ready to play for spring break. The desk clerk kindly informs you that the resort is shockingly over sold and they don't have a room for you. Yes, they will do their best find you another room at a different hotel but it may not be the same caliber or have the same features that you originally booked.
So Now what?
...well, you're kinda stuck! Because it's spring break, most of the good hotels have sold out weeks ago and chances are you won't be able to find another room that will make your kids happy.
So out of the all the people booked into all the rooms of that hotel, why was your family the ones to get "walked" (another hotel term)?
Try to stop and think like a hotelier for just a minute and you'll figure it out. Hoteliers need to make their sales and revenue goals to keep their board members happy. They know a certain amount of people will ultimately cancel or change their plans. So they purposely over sell more rooms than they have available. Basically they play the Vegas odds and take a gamble. When the odds work against them how to they decide who get's "walked" or sent packing to another hotel?...why it's the people who paid the cheapest amount for their room. This is how hoteliers meet their financial goals. When you rant and rave at the front desk saying how you'll NEVER book with them again, they really don't care. They just see you as one cheap room.
So...How do you get the best rates and insure that you do not get "walked"?
Here's a secret....your travel agent is your best ally.
Travel agents will book your hotel room for you by using a travel wholesaler or tour company. These tour companies are major distributors of rooms for the hoteliers. They sell THOUSANDS of room nights every year and the hoteliers NEED them. Hotels won't mess with clients booked through the tour companies for fear of loosing their contracts and millions in revenue.
Also, sometimes there are legitimate problems guest face when they arrive at a hotel...for example let say the hot water heater for one of the building leaves 50 rooms with no hot water and the part they need to get it fixed won't arrive for 5 days. If you booked with a tour company, they can help use their clout to move you to another hotel with plenty of hot water, even if that means they need to upgrade your room to find you space. If you booked directly with the hotel, well... let's just say the cold showers might help to cool off your hot tempers.
Another secret most vacationers don't realize is that travel agents can usually match most advertised deals online. If you've been shopping price and see a great deal, call your local travel agent and have them book it for you. By doing it this way you get the best price and a much better shot of having the actually vacation that you've been planning. Plus this way you get a Plan B. You have your agent on your side to help you with the rest of your planning and will be there to help you every step of the way.