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Continue to Pay $121 More for Your Hotel, for Nothing

Continue to Pay $121 More for Your Hotel, for Nothing
The lowest room rate per night for Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok ranges from US$144 ( to US$230 ( on 7 different websites. This is based on the search result by Bezurk, a rates comparison search engine. A huge USD121 difference in rates! At another travel search engine, SiteStep, Landmark Hotel Bangkok is listed on 7 websites with the lowest rate of US$125 on and the highest rate of US$198 on A US$73 difference in rates!

Why is there such a huge difference in hotel room rates? Why hotel rates differ across multiple websites? To answer the question, we need to understand the five key factors that affect hotel room rate distributions.

1. Different mark up.
Travel operators/agents (including websites) apply different mark-up from the net contract rates issued by hotels. Some agents will mark-up a low 5% whereas others may mark-up to over 50%. If the net contract rate is $100 per room per night, an agent will be selling the room at $105 (based on 5% mark-up) or $150 (based on 50% mark-up). In order to restraint agents from selling hotel room at an undesirable low rate, hotels are now trying to set a minimum mark-up or selling rate required for internet sale.
However, with the vast re-distribution of rates to third parties, it is extremely challenging for hotels to control their selling rates on the internet.

2. Lower contract rates.
Hotels will generally reward high-performing agents by issuing them a lower net contract rates. Also, an agent may get a lower rate if they have a good relationship with the hotel. Likewise, a lower rate maybe granted to an agent if they are in a market (e.g. Australia) or distribution channel (e.g. internet) where the hotel would like to penetrate or develop further. As such, it is not hard to deduce that different websites will have their own group of top selling hotels with very competitive rates.

3. Nationality.
When you enter a hotel reservation website, you are seeing the room rates based on your location. If you made any hotel booking from Japan, it is possible that you are paying for a higher room rate meant for Japan citizens only. Hotel may issue a separate contract for certain regions or nationals. Also, certain rates are not applicable for the locals. Due to the nature of internet booking, hotels are finding it difficult to control rates based on nationality and are constantly finding ways to streamline their rates differentiation, with limited success.

4. Exclusive Promotion.
At times, hotels may provide limited period, low exclusive rates to participate on the promotional activities organised by websites.

5. Breakfast.
Websites who are competing solely on room rates will generally ask hotel to provide rates without breakfast. This will make their rates more competitive. Also, based on hotel's experience, they will include or exclude breakfast from the room rates to best suit the needs of specific market.

In view of the number of factors affecting hotel rates, it is important for you to find the best deal before handing in your credit card details. Even websites with lowest or best rate guarantee may not necessarily feature the lowest hotel rate available on the internet. Rates comparison search engines like SideStep, Kayak, Bezurk and HotelCombined are able to help you find the lowest hotel rates across multiple websites within seconds. Most importantly, they are free to use.

Another great way to find the best hotel deals is to look for hotel packages. There are many hotels that offer attractive packages like bonus night(s) offer, weekend specials, value added benefits or minimum stay deals. Besides having a lower rate, they offer more values for money.

Hotel packages are rarely loaded in hotel reservation websites due to their complexity. The few websites that feature hotel packages in Asia include, and Alternatively, you should be able to find hotel packages available on many hotel websites as well. Lastly, it is worthwhile checking if hotels offer better rates for booking in advance or at the last minute. InterContinental Hotels and Resorts offer saving up to 20% off their best flexible rate when you book at least 14 days in advance. Starwood Hotels & Resorts offer at least 20% off regular prices for stays on the upcoming weekend for hotels and the next two weeks for resorts. Be a savvy traveller and stop paying more for the same hotel room, for nothing.
Have a great holiday! ***

by Clare Chong
This article is courtesy of Asia Discount Hotel Deals (, where you can only find hotels with special promotions. You may freely reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter provided this courtesy notice and URLs remain intact.

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