Q&A With Reservations.com CEO: Booking Properties At The Best Rates
Mahesh Chaddah is the co-CEO of Reservations.com and has more than 20 years of industry experience in finding great deals at hotels and resorts around the world. Here we sit down to pick his brain about tricks for booking properties at the best rates (it has a lot to do with timing) and also 2017 travel trends in general.
Q: Tell us about your background.
A: I’ve worked in the travel space for about 12 years, and I have a background in technology. I have a double masters and bachelor’s degree in computer science. After finishing my studies, I was working with partners already in travel, and was working on the technology of travel. Around that time in the year 2000, online travel reservations started getting much bigger and through already working in travel, it’s something I naturally fell into.
Q: What are the best kept secrets about booking hotels?
A: Almost all hotels publish same room rates on all public websites, however, most also offer discount hidden rates up to 30% cheaper through unpublished channels, like the customer success center, so using them are a great resource. Also, since most hotel guests check out on Sundays, hotels have a lot of availability on Sunday nights. Checking in on a Sunday night will usually reduce the average room rate for your stay and help with Monday blues. For those traveling within their home state, many hotel properties will offer state resident discounts, so always be ready to show your ID to redeem the discounts when available.
Q: What is the best way to find the best deals for four and five star resorts around the world?
A: Comparing prices is crucial. Always make sure you use booking sites to compare prices, and see who is offering the best deals. Like we discussed above, using the customer success center directly to find discounts helps tremendously, because depending on the property, not all of their deals will be listed online. Travelers looking to book a four or five star resort should also plan on joining a loyalty program to accrue loyalty points and to get insider offers and deals ahead of time.
Q: When should consumers book their hotels for upcoming vacations? (i.e. how far in advance, the day of the week, etc.)
A: When you book your reservations in advance it gives you more time to find the best deals and gives you more options in which hotels are able to accommodate your stay. Historically, if consumers book on aTuesday, hotel rates are the lowest on this day of the week. Another important tip is to be flexible with your travel dates, especially if you are able to book far in advance. Booking a mid-week stay instead of over the weekend can lower costs.
Q: What are the top myths about booking travel plans through online travel agencies?
A: I think one of the biggest myths travelers assume is that if they use an online travel agency and something goes wrong their booking, they won’t be able to get in touch with someone to make things right. Aside from getting the best deals, this is another reason why we encourage our customers to use our customer success center, because we want them to know there is always going to be someone there for them, 24/7.
Q: What travel trends do you predict in 2017?
A: What we’re predicting for 2017 is that personalized travel planning experiences will be on the rise. While they have been promised for years, with new platforms like Reservations.com offering personalized recommendations based on a user’s travel behavior, travel brands will have to shift to this custom-made mode to attract and accommodate savvy travelers. With that said, although there has been enormous advancement in automation, the industry is seeing a trend to bring back the human element for more curated bespoke experiences and provide on-demand personal travel services. Additionally, through reviewing our customer feedback, we’re seeing that hotel-only booking sites may soon become a thing of the past. New services offering online itinerary building in addition to hotel booking, such as activity and tour reservations, car rentals and travel insurance options, are becoming the standard in new booking platforms.