rates & availability

Why to Always Book Direct when Making a Hotel Reservation

Remember when you used to look for a hotel on the internet and the search result was just that hotel, not some third-party booking agency? Well, not anymore. Now you need to scroll past innumerable ads, then all those OTA’s (Online Travel Agents) and if you are lucky, you’ll find the website you are looking for on the first page of your search.

So what, you may ask. Isn’t it super convenient to see all hotels for the place you want to visit in one spot to compare prices? The short answer is: it’s misleading at best and deeply hurts small family-owned businesses such as our Bird Rock Hotel.

Nowadays it’s almost impossible for small hotels to stay in business without signing up with at least one of the big OTA’s. If they don’t, the hotel may not show up in Google searches. And signing up is expensive. Depending on your contract, commissions can be as high as 25%. Because Google favors the OTA’s in their listings, small businesses additionally have to spend more advertising money with Google. The playing field is not level.

The historic Bird Rock Hotel, in the heart of Friday Harbor, offers 15 unique rooms
The historic Bird Rock Hotel, in the heart of Friday Harbor, offers 15 unique rooms

The Problems with OTA’s:

OTA’s room and amenities description are one size fits all. We here at the Bird Rock Hotel have 15 unique rooms. The OTA websites don’t adequately convey what we have to offer.

  • For example we have metered street parking around our hotel, but offer free, off-street parking at our sister hotel, the Earthbox Inn & Spa, two blocks from us. On the OTA websites we can only say either that we offer parking or that we don’t.
  • As a Bird Rock guest you are entitled to use the indoor, heated pool, sauna, hot tub and exercise room at our sister hotel. There is no way to describe this wonderful perk on the OTA websites.
  • Another example are our European-style rooms. We offer four lovely rooms with shared bathrooms. They are very moderately prices and therefore quite popular and still include breakfast and all of the other guest amenities. However, the fact that those rooms have shared bathrooms is hidden under the “details” page of the OTAs, something many people fail read. So we end up calling each guest to make sure they know about the shared bathroom.
  • Sometimes an OTA guest needs to cancel or would like a different room and calls us. We can’t cancel or alter third party bookings from our end, making our guests, who often don’t know their booked through an OTA, feel like we are giving them the run-around.

We here at the Bird Rock Hotel & the Earthbox Inn & Spa know our hotels inside and out
We here at the Bird Rock Hotel & the Earthbox Inn & Spa know our hotels inside and out

Advantages of Booking Direct:

  • We know our hotel inside and out. We know which room has the best view, is the most romantic or best suited for a family of four. We know how many stairs go up to a specific room and if it has a shower only or a two person jetted tub.
  • We always offer the best rates, despite what some OTAs loudly promise. If you ever find a price lower on an OTA site, just call us, we will match it!
  • We make it clear and easy as to how to cancel or change your reservation.
  • One of the most common guest complaints about OTA’s is lost reservations. When booking with us directly, you’ll receive a very comprehensive confirmation email right away and yet another two weeks before your trip, so you’ll know you have a guaranteed  reservation with us, as well as how to get here and what to expect.
  • Our super friendly staff are trained concierges. We can book spa treatments, whale watching and kayak tours or add a bouquet of flowers and bottle of champagne to your room reservation right when you make your reservation.

BR Blog - Book Direct (breakfast by Lisette).jpg
Bird Rock Hotel offers a complimentary gourmet continental breakfast every morning

What You Can Do:

If you like supporting small businesses; want to get knowledgeable customer service and better deals and more transparency; if you’d like us to spend our money on hiring the best staff and upgrading furniture, rather than paying the middle man, then book your next trip directly with us.

  • Always make sure you are actually on your hotel’s website before booking a room.
  • When in doubt, call us. 360-378-5848. We love to chat.
  • Don’t use the blue Google button to book; it never goes directly to a hotel’s website.

Thank you for your time! We are so excited for your next visit!

"What a delightful place to stay!...

The staff is wonderful and the little extras

make it a comfortable place to stay."