Home » Hotel tips » The Hazards of Wholesale

The Hazards of Wholesale

I understand the idea of saving money. I try to save as much as I can. I am a pretty simple guy. Give me a big TV, a laptop and quality internet and I am pretty much a happy guy. There are a few things that I splurge on because quality and satisfaction are important with those things. I don’t buy cheap cigars, I don’t buy my steaks at Walmart and I don’t buy Boone’s Farm when I want a bottle of wine. I want what I want and I am willing to splurge on those things. I recognize the difference.

When you travel to Las Vegas what is important to you? Do you want a specific room in a specific hotel or do you want a cheap deal? If you want the cheap deal, great, go with a wholesaler. They do what they do, they get you a cheaper room. If you want something specific and are willing to spend a little extra money for it, then do it.

I did a small sampling this past week on check-ins from wholesalers this week. The results are by no means a accurate portrayal of what happens every day or week but it is a trend that I see. Also remember that I have no idea if some of these errors are guest error or wholesaler error but it still is significant.

  • 15% of the guests got the wrong type of room booked for them.
  • 25% claim that the wholesaler never told them about the security deposit or they couldn’t find it in the small print.
  • An airline and a travel agent never sent us the actual reservation so the guest showed up without a reservation.
  • 6 guests had their reservations cancelled by the wholesaler because their credit card declined but never contacted the guest to tell them.

Now I realize that means that the majority of times they got it right but no one cares when it goes right. The issue is when it goes wrong. Do you want to be one of those people when it comes to check in?

The wholesaler just wants to sell the room and get their money. That is when their transaction ends. Not yours. If your reservation depends on saving some money on the hotel, by all means, do that but please, follow up on the reservation. Call the hotel and find out about what room you have or if there are any fees at check in. Make sure any additional people that will be on the room are listed on the room. If you get delayed and someone else is staying in the room might get there before you, they can’t check in if they aren’t on the room.

Also remember that we, at the hotel, can’t change a 3rd part reservation. If you find out that the wholesaler has done something wrong, you will need to call them back. I know, it is a pain, why can’t we do it? They have the information on the reservation, if we change something then our records don’t match and getting payments and commissions will get screwed up.

Oh, and if saving money is an issue and you are gambling, guess what can be done on a reservation done through the hotel. We can comp it or we can discount it. We can’t do that with a wholesaler. They have your money, we don’t.

If you are willing to spend the money, book direct with the hotel. If you need to get the discounted rate, book with the wholesaler but do your follow up.



9 thoughts on “The Hazards of Wholesale

  1. I found your blog this week from a podcast recommendation (Five Hundy by Midnight) and love what I’ve read so far! But a question: When you refer to “Wholesalers”, does this mean ANY site that isn’t booking direct? Ie. is there a difference between the various third party hotel comparison sites, or do these same risks exist as long I’m not making reservations on your website?


  2. I found that booking direct with the hotel actually gave me the same rate. Not only that but I’ve had follow up emails since the confirmation with additional info from the hotel too. I know that if something does go wrong, I know exactly who to go to.


  3. I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks now and I think it’s fantastic; I check it often for updates. One question… While watching The Hangover for the 1000th time, I thought of you during the hotel check-in scene: How often are you exposed to groups of goofballs at check-in? “Is this the real Caesar’s Palace?” “Did Caesar really live here?” Thanks.


    • Personally, I like booking.com just because we know what the room rate the guest was charged. Most of the time with Expedia and hotels.com we have no idea what the guest was charged and that is a pain because they are always asking for the total. Well, we don’t know the total most of the time.

      For screw ups, I don’t think any one is horrible or make disastrous mistakes; it is just inconsistency.

      Not for mistakes but “run of the house” wholesalers can be an issue because one time a guest gets the an upgraded room with a great view and the next time they get a crappy basic room and they don’t understand why they can’t get the better room.


  4. I’ve nearly always viewed booking through an OTA as the first gamble of a Vegas trip, especially if you’re booking through Hotwire. In 20 trips, I’ve booked through a third party 8 times and only once did my booking specifically state the room type other than a generic “standard/deluxe”. I’ve gotten some bad rooms in terms of view or location in the building, but I’ve also gotten a better than expected room at least twice. There’s one hotel that I’ve stayed at twice in which I got a better room through Hotwire than through Delta Vacations,

    The company I work for books their hotel rooms through Expedia and at times there have been screw ups and issues with bookings through them. Last year, a group of employees show up at the hotel the company had been sending employees too on a weekly basis and are there isn’t any record of a reservation (The company would tell the employees what hotel they were booked at and not send them any sort of other info.). So they end up calling their boss and waking them up to tell them of the situation. The boss ends up paying for the rooms for the first night with their company card and in the morning, they get the reservations sorted. Several weeks later, I was sent down there and Expedia screwed up my reservation and I didn’t find out until the next day when my room key didn’t work. Somehow, Expedia (or whoever at the company making the reservations) made two bookings for me at that hotel, one for one night and another for four nights and didn’t bother to tell me. At the time, our company was sending 3-4 employees on a weekly basis to this hotel and the clerks often asked why the company didn’t book via the chain’s own site (Probably could have saved some $$$ plus gotten some free room nights.). When it comes to hotels, the company doesn’t go for the cheapest, but if the room rates at a hotel get above a certain rate, they will actually have employees change hotels for a night or two until the room rates get cheaper.


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