If you need to save a hotel room before your arrival, there are more than a few options due to the involvement of other options in online shopping. Which line do you want to use on the site? Use an ‘auction’ site? Corporate or franchise site? A third party “discount” site? Another option is to call the hotel directly.
Call directly: Lots of benefits. You can easily get for driving or shuttles, instant confirmation number, ability to ask front desk agent or some details about the property of the reservation taker etc. Different rates can be discussed. When times are competitive (summer, seasonal, situation sold in the area) there are fewer options in terms of rates. That’s why it’s best to talk to someone – you can find out a week later that the rate is 1/3 of your desired date. Always ask to get the lowest best available rate; Internet rates, online rates, triple A, etc. One of the problems is the price of the phone call – if the hotel does not have 800 numbers. My travel advice is this is the best option, especially if you have questions about the hotel or region.
Book online: Advantages: This rate will usually be the lowest you can find (at least corporate and franchise direct sites can go). Most savings are completely secure and credit card information is secure. No need for people to wait on the phone. Disadvantages: Usually more expensive than showing hotels or motels. Advance dates must be paid in advance (does not make long-term financial sense) and reservations may be canceled even a few months away. There is no contact with the hotel so you cannot ask where the 24 nearest coffee shops are. Can’t even find the phone number of the hotel on the third party site. The confirmation number given by third party sites is that hotels do not use the same number, so it may be more difficult to check on a reservation. Special requests “are not always passed.
There are valid reasons for using all of these techniques. One that fits most of your needs (be it time, money or both) can be used even if you accept more than one.