You’ll get a better deal booking directly with a hotel than with an online travel agency (OTA). One would think so, given that direct bookings are more profitable for hotels than third-party bookings. But Craig says that “due to rate parity clauses in agreements between hotels and OTAs, hotels are contractually obligated to not undersell OTAs. And due to general incompetence, many hotels allow OTAs to undercut them.” But he also acknowledges that travelers can resort to workarounds to get a better deal. Craig advises that travelers “shop on OTAs, then call the hotel directly and ask it to beat the offer. The hotel has more flexibility over the phone because the transaction isn’t public. And remember that the room rate is just part of the package. Hotels often have more flexibility with inclusions like parking, internet, breakfast and upgrades. If the hotel won’t match or beat the offer, find a hotel that will.” Get the full story at USA Today