Over a quarter of Brits (27%) have booked the wrong hotel or selected incorrect dates due to feeling pressured by comparison sites
Almost half (43%) admit to making an error with their hotel bookings due to rushing
Two thirds (72%) still believe comparison sites offer the best rates even though travellers could save more than £24 million by booking directly with hotels
With summer holidays just around the corner, cost conscious Brits looking for a last-minute deal often turn to price comparison sites for their bookings. But new research reveals the urgency created by these comparison sites is causing almost half to botch their bookings due to rushing. Over a quarter say the urgency and pressure to secure a deal has led them to book the wrong hotel or select the incorrect dates. The research of 2,000 Brits by IHG Rewards Club, the loyalty programme of IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group®) also found that while two thirds (72%) believe comparison sites offer the best rates, consumers in Europe could in fact save more than £24 million a year just by booking hotels direct .
On average, the British consumer spends £715 a year on hotels, with Londoners the biggest spenders averaging £917 per year. Those in the East Midlands spend the least on hotels every year with £566 on average. Men are also more likely to splash the cash than women, spending on average £767 (almost £100 more than women) who averaged £670 per year on hotels.
The study also revealed that 20% of Brits admit to going on a night out and booking a holiday they weren’t intending to. Similarly, men are more likely to book a hotel stay on the spur of the moment, with 22% admitting to doing so, while 60% of women spend weeks researching before making a hotel booking.
While the research shows that 96% of Brits feel it’s important to get the best deal possible for a hotel stay, only 15% of cost savvy adults book direct. That’s despite almost half (48%) feeling more secure making a booking directly with the hotel.
UK travel expert Simon Calder says, “Travel and the internet have been terrific partners for the last two decades, but as with any relationship there are some pitfalls to avoid. In terms of hotel bookings, the Competition and Markets Authority is investigating whether some practices by comparison websites break aspects of consumer law relating to pressure selling, fake discounts and hidden taxes. Once I have established the range of deals using a price-comparison service, I always contact the hotels direct — online or by that old-school method, the phone.
“In my experience, you will never pay more booking direct, and if you sign up with the loyalty scheme you often get an even better rate and added benefits such as a free drink, upgraded room or even the loan of a bike. Given the benefits of going direct, I’m concerned to see that so many people assume that clicking through on a price-comparison site is the best way to go. While it’s great that travellers have so many options, they should be aware that booking sites can extract a heap of commission from the transaction between the hotel and the guest,” added Calder.
The survey also revealed some interesting findings about the booking behaviour of travellers across different regions of the UK. Those in the North West are least likely to book directly with a hotel, with only 8% using this method. The savviest shoppers are in the East Midlands with 19% opting to book direct.
* Survey was conducted by One Poll in May 2018, surveying 2,000 people in the UK.
 Figure based on IHG’s total OTA revenue from 2017, with an average discount applied.