Travellers using comparison sites to book hotels are wasting a collective £20 million, says new research.

The vast majority of holidaymakers now use hotel comparison sites because they let you compare a raft of different options in one place. 

However, many of us are unaware these sites don’t always show all the available rates, meaning four in five end up overpaying to up to 10% compared to booking direct.

New regulations are good news for those who go direct

This is according to the hotel IHG Rewards Club, the loyalty scheme from Intercontinental Hotels Group.

Now, while the sceptical among you might think a hotel chain would say booking direct is better, it’s undoubtedly worth making a couple of calls direct to see what deals a hotel will offer – especially if you’re planning to stay a long while. 

That’s especially true given the recent regulatory changes aimed at helping hotels guarantee their guests the lowest prices rather than through deals with travel agents, comparison sites and the like, says consumer champion Sarah Willingham.

“So many of us assume that booking with a price comparison website will mean we get the cheapest price and that we will save money but the reality is that you should always try booking direct as there are often big savings to be had,” she says.

“Booking direct also has the added benefits of loyalty recognition, such as upgrades and points towards free nights, as well as the added extras like free Wi-Fi and breakfast included.”

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How to save even more on your hotel booking

There are other steps you can take to keep your accommodation costs down. If you’re supremely organised, booking a holiday well in advance (more than a year) should get you a far better deal. 

Alternately, leaving it to the last minute can also save you cash, but it’s obviously a far riskier option.

Remember to make use of any reward schemes on offer. Pretty much all the big hotel chains have these, including Hilton Intercontinental Group and the Marriott. If you’re going to stay somewhere, you may as well rack up loyalty points to save you money on future trips.

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