A hotel worker went viral after venting about why third-party booking websites “suck.”
In the viral video, Jessica (@jessicavanel) said she and other hotel workers share a similar disdain for third-party booking sites like Kayak, Trivago, and Booking.com.
“I have yet to meet a single person who has worked at a front desk who DOESN’T hate 3rd party sellers,” her caption reads.
@jessicavanel I have yet to meet a single person who has worked at a front desk who DOESN’T hate 3rd party sellers. 😅 #hotels #customerservice #talesfromthefrontdesk ♬ original sound – Jessica Vanel
For those who say they’ve never had a problem booking through third-party sellers or ask why hotels don’t just cut ties with the sites if they “suck so much,” Jessica has a clear answer.
“Hotels just want money. If a room goes unsold for the night, that’s money that they lost,” Jessica said.
She said that if a hotel is expecting a lower occupancy, it’ll put more rooms on third-party websites in hopes of getting “just a little bit of money.”
She added that if all a person is looking for is a roof over their head, they can go ahead and book through the third-party seller to secure a better rate. She admitted that she does the same thing. But she wants visitors to understand that they’re paying for a room the hotel wasn’t able to sell directly.
“Generally, what happens is you end up with a poor view or a location next to an elevator or the ice maker or something about a room that makes it less desirable,” she said.
As a hotel worker, Jessica said she was always told by managers to prioritize those who booked direct over those who booked through a third-party site.
Even those who paid for perks like a pool view may not get what they asked for because the third-party description isn’t always accurate, she claimed. Jessica said hotels will ask the sites to update to reflect accurate information, but when they don’t, it becomes this “whole awkward back and forth” with guests who insist on perks that are on the third-party site, but not on the hotel’s site.
Payment is apparently also another headache. Most hotels require guests to put down a credit card for incidentals. Guests who booked through a third party are often surprised when workers tell them they don’t already have their information on file since they didn’t book direct, Jessica explained. She added that generally, third-party sites would accept a guest’s card for payment but make the reservation with their own credit card number, not the guest’s.
“They look at me like an owl in headlights and say, ‘Well I don’t have a card.’ And I have to tell them that I can’t check them in,” she said.
And if there is an issue with the person’s room, the hotel generally doesn’t give any kind of cash back to third-party bookers like it would other guests, she explained. Instead, she continued, it offers a credit or perks like a free drink, meal, or room change.
“Which usually works fine for most people, but what if you didn’t plan to eat at the restaurant or go to our bar or buy from the shop?” Jessica questioned.
The worker’s last warning was related to the actual price of the hotel room. She added that while the hotel room may be listed as cheaper on another site, the third-party companies are prone to adding additional fees and have stricter cancellation policies. Often the price on the hotel site is as close to its real price.
“Book through third parties at your own risk,” Jessica said.
The 8-and-a-half-minute video has nearly 400,000 views and close to 2,000 comments. Viewers found Jessica’s video helpful and shared their own disdain for third-party booking sites.
“We would be overbooked and email/call a million times and they would STILL BOOK more rooms!!” one fellow hotel worker shared.
“I will ONLY book directly with the hotel. I learned the hard way many, many years ago,” a guest shared.
Jessica’s video struck a chord with one viewer especially.
“I literally watched this on hold with Expedia because of an oversell,” they wrote.
The Daily Dot reached out to Jessica for comment via email.