Booking at hotel often cheaper than booking sites: Consumers' assoc.

Booking accommodation at a hotel through the hotel's website is often cheaper than using a booking site like Booking.com, Expedia.nl and Hotels.com, according to a study by Consumentenbond. Booking sites also tend to use "tricks" to convince consumers to book quickly, the consumers association warned.

Consumentenbond compared the prices of 30 hotels in Amsterdam, Groningen, Berlin and Paris on booking sites and on the hotel site. In 14 cases, booking a standard double room was cheapest on the hotel site. Expedia.nl offered the cheapest option eight times, Booking.com and Hotels.com each seven times.

The price differences were often only a few euros, but in a few cases they were more significant. A hotel in Amsterdam, for example, offered a room for 178 euros per night, while this same room cost 217 euros on Booking.com.

According to the association, booking sites use "tricks" to convince consumers to book quickly. They create a feeling of scarcity by posting notifications like "only 1 room left on this site", while there are often more rooms available under slightly different terms. Crossed-out prices and special offers also tempt consumers, but it is often unclear how these discounts are achieved, the association said. 

The European Commission is currently discussing price and availability transparency with Expedia.nl and Hotels.com. Booking.com already promised to place more information about prices and availability on its website by mid-June. 

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