E-commerce becoming less of a good deal?

E-commerce becoming less of a good deal?

Summary: When travelling around Australia and New Zealand, I have been a great fan of buying accommodation online.


When travelling around Australia and New Zealand, I have been a great fan of buying accommodation online.

I am a regular user of sites like Wotif, Expedia and Rates to Go, typically believing that they deliver decent savings over turning up on the spot.

In recent years, when I have checked what the "walk-in" rate was, I have found that buying online has typically delivered savings of $10 to $20 and sometimes even more.

However, recent experience is giving me second thoughts.

I am currently in Canada and twice have found the walk-in rate to be the same as that online. For one Vancouver hotel, I was also quoted over the phone the same or a better rate than I found online.

Earlier this year, when booking an extra night at a motel in Hamilton, New Zealand, the motel keeper admonished me for not coming to him direct.

He told me he would have bettered the rate I paid online as I would have saved myself the $5 or so commission I paid the online retailer, and he would have saved his commission too!

It does make you wonder if we really get the best from buying online.

And does the same apply with other products and services?

Of course, there remains the convenience of comparing the prices from the comfort of your armchair.

It seems, however, that you cannot beat an actual drive-by just to see if the product is as good as it appears online.

Topics: Browser, E-Commerce, Enterprise 2.0

Darren Greenwood

About Darren Greenwood

Darren Greenwood has been in journalism, not all of it IT, since the days of typewriters and long before the web spun its way around the world.

Coming from Yorkshire, he can be blunt, and though having resided in New Zealand, as well as Australia, for quite some time, he insists he is not one of the 'sheeple!'

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  • I love the convenience of booking from my computer - but in recent times, I check the prices and availability online and then ring. I've found I can usually get a slightly better deal for the same reason - minus the commission paid to the big websites.
    I like the idea the little guys get a few more dollars in their bank accounts.
    But, if the price is on the little guys website, there is no commission to bargain with!
  • Marketing 101 will tell you if hoteliers continue to undercut their agents then the agents will stop promoting them. Then how will you find the best deals in town?
  • 'Online Hotel Boookings becoming less of a good deal?' would have been a more appropriate title.