There is a time and place for everything and that can include online booking engines. I know what you’re probably thinking, as a travel consultant surely I despise online booking engines and would never recommend using one. Well, that’s not true.

Sometimes all you need is a hotel room for a night and it really doesn’t matter where the hotel is, you just need a bed! You can use an online booking engine for that and you probably won’t encounter any problems. When it comes to booking your family holiday, however, you’ll want to stay away from online booking engines. Here are 3 things that the online booking engines don’t tell you.

What’s included.

They are very good at highlighting the price and making it all about the price. You have to go through a number of links before you can fully see what’s included in the price, e.g. if transfers have been included. It’s difficult to make an ‘apples to apples’ comparison when you are searching for what’s included each time. Some websites won’t even tell you which hotel you are booking until you’ve already paid for it! Talk about gambling with your family vacation!

Who you can call.

It is so easy to find a phone number when you want to make a booking, but if you have a problem or even just a question about the destination you are visiting, you have to hunt for a phone number. Even when you find a phone number to call, online booking engines have a notorious reputation for bad customer service and it’s not surprising when they don’t know anything about you and see you as just a confirmation number.

You won’t get the best room.

When you arrive at your hotel, they know exactly how you booked that room. Hotels give the better rooms to their loyal patrons, i.e. to the people in their loyalty program, those who booked directly with the hotel and those who book with a travel consultant who has a relationship with the hotel or chain. When you book online, you get what’s left. The hotels do this because they know you booked the room on price and not because you really wanted to stay at their hotel and you don’t have any loyalty to them.

Now that you are aware of what the online booking engines don’t tell you, you can make an informed decision to use them for your one-night hotels or any other extremely simple travel segment that you don’t need any expert advice on. For all of your other travel needs, stick to working with an expert who gets to know you and your family personally as opposed to a website who sees you as just a number.

About the Author

Rhian Torontow is a Family Travel Consultant with Magical Family Adventures. Rhian creates travel experiences that foster connections in your family that will last a lifetime and transforms your children into open-minded, flexible, well-travelled people. During Rhian’s childhood, her father travelled for work constantly and it was always travel that brought her family back together. You can follow Rhian on Facebook at, Instagram @MagicalFamilyAdventures and you can also connect with her on LinkedIn