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Hi everyone, sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. If I had the points earned from my stay with the Westin then I would have enough for a free night, in which case I would be enticed to make plans to travel.
I was booking hotels for a trip in March this afternoon and noticed that all Hilton properties have a disclaimer that various goodies are extended to their HHonors members ... when booking direct with the hotel.
I totally understand why the hotels are trying to convince people to book directly. When an OTA doesn't do the job properly, the innocent people at the front desk take all the grief from the traveller. This makes it tough on hotel management; it affects morale as well as productivity. The OTA traveller writes terrible reviews of the hotel, makes all kinds of trouble for the hotel ... which didn't cause the problem in the first place. Hotels don't want to pay commissions either, of course, but those are negligible.