Lifestyle | Direct Booking Vs Online Travel Agency

By huayyu - 6/29/2018

As a budget and DIY traveler, we often find ourselves trying to book at the lowest price possible with value for money.  We often try to look for as many choices as possible before deciding which you would book.  This post is about helping you choose which is the best deal for you.  Is it booking directly with the hotel or through an online travel agency?
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For DIY travelers out there. What do you do first when you try to reserve a room? (Let me know in the comment section below.)
For me, it is going to Trip Advisor to look for hotels, hostels, etc.  I think Trip Advisor has more honest reviews since most of it really comes from travelers and they have a lot of hotel listings.  I even sometimes encounter hotels that are not really known but have high ratings.  Since we usually book our trip way in advance, I have enough time to browse reviews and pictures of the hotels that caught my attention.

Next, are the things I need to consider in looking for hotel rooms:
1. Cleanliness: This is definitely a number one factor
2. Location
3. Affordable
4. Safety
5. Service

Once I have picked out the hotel that I want, I usually go to their official website to learn more about their rooms.

Now, which is really better.  Direct booking or Online Travel Agency?

I would say it depends.  It depends on what they offer and what is convenient for you.  Here are the pros and cons that I listed for both.


1. There are a lot of packages and promos that hotels offer if you book directly with them especially for large hotel companies.  Just like the one in Hennan Resort in both Bohol and Boracay, they previously offered a 3 days and 2 nights package with buffet breakfast and dinner with roundtrip airport transfers and boat transfers as well (for Boracay).  Not bad of a deal because now, you don't have to worry about anything at all since it is all part of the package.

2. You deal directly with the hotel.  Any concerns that you may have, they will be able to resolve it quicker than Online Travel Agency.

1. If you prefer staying in a hostel or boutique hotel, they might ask you to pay through a credit card.  I am very apprehensive about using a credit card outside of my home country because the exchange rates are ridiculously high.


1. As I mentioned in the Cons of Direct Booking, for hostels and boutique hotels, you may opt to book through Online Travel Agency instead.  An example would be the Step Inn Myeongdong, they prefer a credit card or bank transfer to pay for the booking(pre-payment) which I both do not want because there are extra charges.  Thanks to Agoda, I was able to book their room through a credit card but under my own currency.  I don't have to worry about extra fees.  Click here if you want to book through Agoda.

2. They have top recommended hotels in the area.  You would have the opportunity to also view other hotels before booking.  Unlike Direct Booking, you won't get an opportunity to know other recommended hotels aside from the one that you view in Trip Advisor. 

1. If something goes wrong with the booking, you would have to call the Online Travel Agency to sort it out.  It is because the Online Travel Agency will be the one to pay for the hotel so the hotel won't accept your booking if they didn't see your reservation in their system.  Although this rarely happens and they do have a 24 hours support and it is usually resolved quickly.

So there you are, my pros and cons for Direct Booking and Online Travel Agency.

Final Answer?  If your issue is using the credit card or bank transfer which has extra fees then I suggest you book through Online Travel Agency (much more convenient).  However, if you don't have that kind of issue and are not afraid of charges then you can opt for Direct Booking.

Looking for a hotel room?  You can book through Agoda here.

Let me know which you prefer and why.  Comment below.

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  1. I never thought about the differences between directly booking or going through an agency. You made some really good points about the fees! I travel with an eco-tourism travel group but next time I might try direct bookings and see how that works out. :) Great post!

    1. Hi Andy,

      Glad you like it. Yes, there are really differences in booking direct or through an agency. Let me know how it goes if you book direct. Hope this post helps.

  2. online travel booking system is a software solution used for reservation management. Before such systems were available, in order to track bookings and manage inventory, travel agents had to work with a series of spreadsheets and enter the information manually.