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Do you book hotels through your TA?


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I am fine with booking hotels myself online, but just wondered if there is any benefit to doing it through your TA? On their website it shows added perks, mainly free breakfast.

Just wondering if that is added into the price so you are paying more than you would online through the hotel?

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We always book ourselves.

American Express Travel has hotels worldwide.  We use there listed hotels whenever we can. We also book with

Marriott. Best prices are on hotel website.

Sometimes there are special offers available. You need to do your research before booking a hotel.

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Only in non-US destinations and when not already included by Regent. Our TA is affiliated with Virtuoso and has gotten us some incredibly memorable and amazing hotels in Sydney, Venice and Monte Carlo. It's not cheap but is cheaper than going through Regent, and they usually have a bit of an incentive (upgrade, free lunch, etc.) 

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3 hours ago, vegasdriven said:

I am fine with booking hotels myself online, but just wondered if there is any benefit to doing it through your TA? On their website it shows added perks, mainly free breakfast.

Just wondering if that is added into the price so you are paying more than you would online through the hotel?

I usually book hotels on my own....sometimes with the hotel directly. It's best to check rates booking directly, or with American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts (if you have a Platinum card) OR with a Virtuoso travel agent. That gives you an early check in, late check out, room upgrade (if available), $100 to spend at the hotel, and daily breakfast.  

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On some occasions, always involving a foreign itinerary, have gone through our TA to book a hotel.  This decision is based on our TA's extensive experience in that particular part of the World.  Specifically:  Southern Africa and  Cape Town-Port Elizabeth areas related to combining cruises with safaris--or just safaris. 

 

November-December, 2015.  TA recommended, and then facilitated booking us for an extended stay at Cape Town's Victoria and Albert Hotel located in the Waterfront (not downtown) area.  This was for several days in advance of joining many other Regent cruisers at a second hotel in downtown Cape Town for another day; then flying with a group to Port Elizabeth to begin a Safari; then back to Cape Town to board Mariner for the cruise to Rio.  

 

Nice way to get over Jet Lag.  Great hotel.  Got an "upgraded" suite and other amenities.  "Free" breakfasts w/champagne, no-less, included in our room rate.  

 

So, it depends. 

 

GOARMY!

 

 

  

 

 

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1 hour ago, Wendy The Wanderer said:

Our TA doesn't even do hotels--I always book them myself.  I enjoy the research and the price-shopping.

That is the best way - as a TA, I don't do hotel or airfare unless I am booking the entire package. Heck, I don't even run my own bookings through the system because its more trouble than the miniscule commission is worth.

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Pcardad-that was what I was thinking, maybe what I was looking at on the TA site is meant for addons to land tours. At this point in time, I do not want to make extra work for my TA, if she won't be getting a benefit from it.

 

Thanks for all your input, for this one anyway (Miami hotels), I will book them myself.

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If we are very familiar with the  city, I will probably book our rooms.  But the several times our TA has booked hotel for us, it has been just great.  On our cruise that ended in Venice our TA booked transfers and hotel.  When I first got the quote, I thought that was a little expensive, but decided to go with it.  I was wrong about it being expensive when I started comparing what we got with prices I saw when we got to Venice.  The package included "white glove" pick up when we got off the ship, water taxi to our hotel which was down the canal from St. Marks.  At hotel in addition to its own chock,  breakfast,  $80.00 for other things, room had a canal view.  The next day water taxi took us to airport, a car to take us from dock to terminal and finally making sure we got in the correct line.

 

I am sure we could have gotten a night in Venice cheaper, someplace not on the canal, taking a vaporetto (water bus) etc, etc.  But we just really enjoyed not having to worry about this and enjoy the extra day in Venice.

 

Our last cruise started in Amsterdam.  We have been here several times and I booked our hotel.  I often will use "Motel One" which is a very nice chain.  Rooms are small, but the hotels we have stayed at are in very interesting parts of the city with décor reminiscent  of the history of the part of the city, great breakfast.  (Amsterdam - Rembrandt, Vienna - Prater Park) For 20 hours or so these work.

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I look into both the hotels site and check what amex can get in the FHR program which has some great benefits for plat/centurion members like guaranteed late check out or arrival, free breakfast hotel credit.  FHR is nice if I can't find a hilton or marriott brand in a good location.  It also has good deals on upper tier rooms.   For example AMEX FHR got me a way better rate (over 200 euro/night savings )then I have seen online for the Palacio de Los Duques Gran Melia, Madrid, for a jr suite with terrace.    It also has $100 credit, wifi breakfast and late 4pm checkout (nice since we have a 5pm flight to Florence.  So it is best to check with them or an agent and compare.

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We have been using the same TA since 2003 to book our Regent cruises.

She responds immediately when contacted. She has been on every

Regent ship. She has helped us get reimbursed for medical expenses during two cruises. Needless to say it’s important to us to have someone like this to do business with.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We have booked post and/or pre cruise hotels through our TA only when we book a cruise through the TA and when the needed hotels are out of the US. Under these circumstances, the TA has.  always advised us well and has ensured that we get the best possible deal.

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Agreed

12 minutes ago, ronrick1943 said:

Sometimes a good TA can get you a better price and extra perks for hotels (not Regent) your TA.

Agreed.   Our TA has set us up at some incredible hotels around the world, where she personally knows the owners/management and makes sure we are well taken care of.    Several times while cruising, she's been able to get us a complimentary day room at a local resort.   Anything (hotels, cruises, tours) that we book through her, she stands behind and will fight for us if we have any issues or bad experiences.   A good TA is invaluable to a great overall vacation experience. 

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We usually book through our TA. We always get free breakfast and often room upgrades. She has also helped us out in a couple of jams. When the Star Pride went adrift off the coast of Nantucket due to loss of engines we came into New York about 15 hours late. Our TA had us booked in a NY hotel near LaGuardia and rebooked our airline tickets within half an hour of us calling her from the ship.  (On a side note, sailing into NYC at night, past the Statue of Liberty and all the skyscrapers lit up was magical!)

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Always best if you have elite status at a hotel chain to check booking direct with the chain/hotel.  Especially if you are collecting points/miles from the chain   For whatever reason many chains do not give you points/miles unless you book direct with the hotel/chain.  Plus you do not get your elite benefits unless you book direct.

 

Best to always compare prices/benefits to get the best value, not necessarily the lowest price.  Also if any problems better to not have to go thru the third party rather than direct with the hotel.

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Once a few years ago we needed a hotel in Amsterdam for a river cruise. We booked the Amsterdam Hilton on no better recommendation than a 40 year old song by John Lennon! It was just OK, and no more. The next time we needed a hotel in Amsterdam for a river cruise we asked out TA  who booked into a delightful hotel, with open “serve yourself” bar and a location close to the museums. And at no greater cost than the one we booked ourselves. Our feeling is that if one books a cruise though a TA, that TA should be one who can give good advice on hotels associated with the cruise, and book them. And, oh yes, this TA also booked us hotel in Budapest. When we checked in, we were told we were being upgraded to the Presidential Suite. I wondered what that suite might be like in Hungary, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was an elegant suite on about 1500 square.feet! And included was a drive to the airport in a large Mercedes! The same TA also booked our hotel in Iceland a few years back. What do we know about hotels there? Nothing. But the TA did, and we were happy with it. 
 

 Good TAs that book us on cruises know that we require pre and post cruise hotels. And they should know about hotels in locations where we do not. I don’t know if they receive commission on hotels, or not. But in either event, good TAs are invaluable in advising and booking hotels when the guest is not familiar with the areas.

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17 hours ago, rallydave said:

Always best if you have elite status at a hotel chain to check booking direct with the chain/hotel.  Especially if you are collecting points/miles from the chain   For whatever reason many chains do not give you points/miles unless you book direct with the hotel/chain.  Plus you do not get your elite benefits unless you book direct.

 

Best to always compare prices/benefits to get the best value, not necessarily the lowest price.  Also if any problems better to not have to go thru the third party rather than direct with the hotel.

The elite status etc is not always better.  We did a river trip with friends, and they were adamant about staying at a certain hotel because of her elite status from work travel.  When we got into the hotel, they went to the red carpet line, we stood in the normal line.  We got our room before they did and we had a slightly better room.  Cost was the same.

 

The only times I can remember not getting points for a hotel was when I booked through a site like Booking.com  My TA uses our credit card for booking hotels which has worked just like if I had booked direct.  Other bookings that are in some kind of a package done by our TA are to far off places (and didn't get points) to hotels that were definitely not part of some kind of chain.

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The last time we booked a hotel through a TA was about 34 years ago.  That's when you used to make your airline bookings by going to your brick and mortar travel agent, sitting down at a desk and working out the details.  Since we were going to be arriving in Edinburgh by train with a 6-year old, we decided to let her book a hotel there, before we went off touring by car.

 

When we told the cab driver the address, he kind of looked at us funny.  Then took us for a long drive, way out unto the Firth, to a lovely stately old mansion in the midst of a golf course (not our idea of a good location, I can tell you.)  We walked into the hotel rather perplexed, to be told that they had NO RECORD of our reservation, and were in fact, full!

 

However, they had a sister hotel in town, with a vacancy, which we accepted.  They paid for our cab back into town and we had a delightful stay in a lovely old (Georgian?) hotel off Princes Street.  It was way out of our budget, but we sucked it up and had a wonderful stay, before embarking on our drive around Scotland and back down through England to Heathrow.  In those days, pre-internet, they had a system of "Book a Bed Ahead", where you could find one of the huge network of Tourist Information Centres in mid-afternoon, and choose a B&B or guesthouse that suited you.  So you didn't have to plan your route exactly.  It was a great system--of course now to do that you'd have to spend your time on a tablet of phone sussing out places in advance I guess. 

 

Those stays remain memorable even today as does that lovely place in Edinburgh.  Suffice it to say we didn't use that TA again.

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