I've been criticized for not having a true writers blog. I can talk about writing one day and rattle on about garbage the next (yes, garbage like the stuff in the dumpsters). So, today is no exception. But I'll focus on something I rarely talk about--travel. I don't talk about it much, but I've worked for quite some time in the hotel business. As we plan our winter travel, I thought I'd share a few thoughts.
People are often enticed by the offers of what we in the travel business call wholesalers. and I admit that some of the packages places like Expedia and Hotels.com offer are enticing. Still, consider this: I estimate that 95% of my problem reservations that I have had to deal with are booked through wholesalers or travel agents. The flip side of that, I hardly ever have any issues with guests who book with our hotel directly. What kind of issues? They run the gauntlet from people expecting a view room and they were booked in the cheaper rooms that overview the parking lot to showing up and we've never heard of them. The most common issue is bedding. If you have specific needs keep in mind that the major wholesalers do not guarantee bedding. If you have dreams of that king bed awaiting you, you may be in for a surprise when you check in. A full hotel can't magically move you to whatever you want. And they're certainly not obligated to upgrade you.
There's nothing wrong with the convenience of having someone else arrange your trip, but keep in mind this: I booked with a large company that lets you bid on rooms (I won't say their name). The room was awful. The hotel was a dump and totally misrepresented. The response from Price$@!& was basically that I was a damned fool for booking with them and their rating system was meaningless. In other words, buyer beware. Have a nice trip.