Hotels with lots of business travelers often pass out drink coupons, not breakfasts, because traveling employees can expense breakfast but not booze at many employers. If you are in that boat and are offered a free breakfast, ask to swap it for a couple cocktail chits if that’s your pleasure. Most hotels are happy to play.
There's one factor that may be the clinching reason to book direct. “You cannot accumulate hotel loyalty points unless you book directly,” said Kristina Portillo, founder of BusinessTravelLife.com. If you are an accumulator of loyalty points - which can be exchanged for free rooms - you want to get in the habit of booking direct or get used to rarely seeing any points at all. Hotels - unlike airlines - are pretty insistent that booking with them is the only way to score points.
A final reason to book direct: what happens if there’s a screw up with a reservation?
Said Charles McCool, who blogs at McCoolTravel.com, “booking direct with the travel supplier means one less layer of communication,” and, he suggested, that alone should cut down on snafus. A related fact: book directly with the hotel and, said multiple sources, resolution of what problems do arise just is generally simpler.
True: when there’s a problem with a reservation made through an OTA many hotels just punt the problem back to the OTA - which could leave you sleeping on a plastic bench at the airport.
Add it up, and for most travelers, much of the time, going direct really is the shrewder path. You may pay the same room rate, but if you ask, perks will be yours and you will also get loyalty points. That’s a win for going direct.