Why It’s Sometimes Better to Book Hotel with a Travel Agent

Booking my hotel for Las Vegas through a travel agent really made my experience.  I ended up at the Four Seasons in extra luxury and walked out as relaxed as I could be.  But let’s rewind.

When booking hotel rooms for Las Vegas, it is difficult to know when to stop “upgrading” to a nicer hotel.  Is the Venetian really worth that much more than the Mirage?  Is the Bellagio really worth that much more than the Venetian?  I’ve stayed at many hotels on the strip, so I have a good sense of what I like and don’t like about each hotel.  I love how empty TI’s pool is compared to the rest of the strip.  I love the ambiance in the Mirage.  I love the rooms in the Venetian.  I also dislike some of the ambiance of TI (despite loving pirates!).  I hate the crowds that are in the Venetian even early in the morning, when all I want is a cup of coffee.  And every time I consider booking the Bellagio, I think about the crowds in the lobby.

As I was price comparing, a hotel in my budget popped up.  A hotel I didn’t expect.  The Four Seasons was priced right around the Bellagio.  And the Bellagio wasn’t bad.  The Four Seasons was available for less than $200 a night.

I debated whether it was worth that price.  I had never stayed there before, so I couldn’t compare it to anything–but that also made me want to try it out.

At higher end properties, travel agents can sometimes add some extras into the deal.  It’s the hotel’s way of giving the travel agent an incentive to book a client at their property.   I contacted Chris Wolf of Protravel to see if there were any extras at the same rate.

And these were the options I was given:

* Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
* Daily Continental Breakfast for up to two in room guests, served in room
or at the Verandah
* Dinner for two at the Verandah Restaurant (max. value $85.00 USD
excludes tax, gratuity and alcohol), once during stay


Four Seasons Preferred Partner
* Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in
(excluding signature suites and villas)
* Daily full American breakfast for two people per bedroom, served through
In-Room Dining or in the hotel restaurant (including buffets)
* Spa credit of USD100 once during stay (not applicable to products)
* Complimentary high-speed Internet access for all suite bookings

I am a sucker for great breakfasts and I love the spa, so I went for the preferred partner rate.  The breakfast turned out to be $72 credit a day, which makes the total value (not counting the upgrade value) $244 for my two nights.  Granted, I would not spend $72 a day on breakfast normally, so it isn’t a full $244 discount, but it added an extra luxury.  I was especially excited that it applied to room service.  This sold me on staying at the Four Seasons.

This post isn’t saying you should do all your bookings and research through travel agents.  On the contrary–I did not approach an agent until I had a rate in my hand.  But once you are looking at a higher end property and have a great rate in hand, check with a travel agent to see if there’s a little extra they can add to it.  Just make sure you confirm they can give you the same rate.  Don’t assume they have the same numbers in front of them that you have.

And enjoy your extras:

a table with plates of food and drinks


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. Thanks to this post, I got in touch with Chris Wolfe to help me with hotels for a recent trip to LA. He is AMAZING!! He booked a night for me at the Fairmont Santa Monica that was cheaper than the rack rate but also included a room upgrade, $100 spa credit and full breakfast for two. This was a true deal. Chris worked similar magic for me at the Ojai Valley Inn. I’m so glad that you did this post!

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