Conventional travel booking wisdom is that is is better to book direct; you get the cheapest rates and you get additional benefits based on your status level. This applies to lots of things, including flights, car hire and hotels. It also makes it easier when things go wrong as you won’t be passed from pillar to post with travel agent and supplier arguing over who’s responsible for sorting out the issue.
This is a mantra that I try to stick by. I outlined in this post how I book hotels when there is no big name option. However there is a new kid on the block which is upsetting the apple cart in a good way.
Club1hotels.com is a luxury online travel agent that works with high-end hotels to sell rooms at the trade rate. They don’t make their money on commission on the bookings; rather they charge an annual fee of $675 which pays for a concierge service you will receive.
This sounds like a lot of money but depending on the travel patterns and type of hotel that you like to stay in, it’s possible to make some great savings.
Let’s do the sums*:
Got a few days between Christmas and New Year? I’ve always fancied a winter trip to New York to see the lights, the Rockerfeller tree and ice skating.
3 nights at The Plaza, a Fairmont Hotel, would cost you $3,430 if you booked direct into their cheapest room.
Booking through Club1hotels.com would cost you $3,206 for their cheapest room – a saving of $224.
Fancy a week’s skiing in Switzerland?
6 nights at the Grand Hotel Zerhmatterhof booked direct would set you back $4,219. This includes a ski pass worth $680 for two people.
Book with club1hotels.com would cost you $2,946. This does not include the ski pass, but even buying one, you are still saving $613.
Just booking these two stays would have saved me more than the annual membership free, which is great if you are travelling a lot.
The best part is that you can try this for free for a year!
That’s right, you can get membership for Club1hotels.com, worth $675, for free by signing up through this link. (Club1hotels.com are waiving the fee in the first year as a way to promote the company and build interest. If you don’t like if or don’t get value from it, then you just don’t renew!)
There is nothing to lose by signing up, and there are some brilliant savings to be made. I have spoken with the Senior Vice President of Global Distribution and Product Development at Club1hotels.com before writing this to ask a few questions and I am not getting paid for any affiliate links for this – it is just a great product that I can see myself using! Get in touch if you have any questions.
*For transparency, I want to explain how I chose the examples listed. I thought of two places I wanted to go and looked up to hotels on club1hotel.com. I then picked one of the hotels listed that I like the look of, and searched the cheapest price direct, which I then tried to match as closely as possible on club1hotel.com. Both examples were the first ones I looked at and I did not hunt around for the cheapest prices to put into the analysis!