In response to Andre Riley’s article on Nov. 16, “Bargains shouldn’t mean cut-rate service,” I would like to dispute the “inside tip” from the article that Mr. Riley found on budgetravel.com (“Confessions of… A Front Desk Clerk”).

To the editor:

In response to Andre Riley’s article on Nov. 16, “Bargains shouldn’t mean cut-rate service,” I would like to dispute the “inside tip” from the article that Mr. Riley found on budgetravel.com (“Confessions of… A Front Desk Clerk”).

The article said that folks who reserve through discount websites, such as Expedia, Priceline, etc., are purposely given lousy service, because hotel managers want to punish such guests because the hotels make very little profit off of them. Now, I have no doubt that, whether intentionally or not, such “service revenge” occurs in the industry. However, that has not been my experience.

Last summer, my wife and I decided to spend a week in the Springfield-Branson area. I researched hotels on TripAdvisor.com, where you can read reviews from actual guests who’ve stayed at each hotel. The site allows you to check rates on some of the discount sites that have been mentioned. You then go make your reservations via those websites.

I chose the Greenstay Hotel in Springfield for the first two nights of our week-long vacation. The rooms looked very nice online and the reviews of former guests were very encouraging. Expedia gave us a sweet rate of $59 per night weekend on a room that, once we arrived, we realized was easily an $80+ per night room!

On about mid-morning of our second day, my wife and I decided that we’d like to stay at least one more day in Springfield. So, my wife asked me if I thought the front-desk would give us the same rate as we had gotten through Expedia. I told her I really strongly believed that they would not do this. Why should they, they’re out to make as much money as possible, right? Well, surprise surprise, they were quick to say “yes”!

Now, on that third day, I went online and made reservations at the Angel Inn in Branson. The price we got on the room there was okay, but the service was definitely not as good. My wife and I both observed things where they were clearly making cuts to save money. However, those things were things such as quality of towels and the fact that an indoor pool had its windows wide-opened to the outdoors full-time, things that all guests would experience.

I mention this second hotel for one reason, both hotels had notes included on their receipts at checkout, asking guests to go online to rate and review them.

Now, there’s one good reason why the first hotel might have been happy to accept our rate-extension request – They know that an online user is likely to write about their stay online, especially if it is very good, or very bad. More and more people are reading reviews from common folks before they commit to hotels. And more guests, even ones where they make only little profit, help keep their hotels at near-capacity, something that I’ve always read hotels strive hard to achieve. Plus, good reviews reflect well on the entire chain of hotels, the brand name.

So, take those so-called “Confessions” with a grain-of-salt. I encourage everyone to experience online reservations and how they are treated for themselves. I’d reserve again at Greenstay of Springfield in a heartbeat.