According to the research by hotel price comparison website Top10.com, guests save an average of 15 per cent or £30 a night when booking through OTAs such as Booking.com, Expedia.co.uk or LateRooms.com with the online price being cheaper than the direct booking 71 per cent of the time.
Top10.com's random sampling of 100 three to five star hotels across the world for a booking date of Saturday 7 December 2013 revealed that only one hotel offered a cheaper rate by going direct and in the UK specifically, consumers were able to save 50 per cent through an OTA.
Examples include a rate of £54 a night at The Cleveland in Torquay through Venere.com compared to £110 by booking direct; £108 at the Cotswold House Hotel in Oxford on Booking.com, compared to one of £200 direct and £400 for a night at The Savoy in London through Expedia and Lastminute.com compared to £774 direct.
Alex Buttle, director of Top10.com, said: "There is a commonly held belief that booking a hotel direct with the hotel is the most cost effective way to book - our research debunks that myth. The reality is that customers need to shop around to save money - the best prices are normally to be found through one of the booking sites.
“While people are aware of the savings that can be made by comparing prices on services such as car insurance and energy, there is still a lack of understanding of online travel agents. Our research shows hotel prices vary hugely between sites like Expedia, LateRooms.com, Hotels.com and Booking.com which confirms the importance of shopping around to get the best deals,.”
At a round table event in October, Brian Reeves of Goppar Digital said consumers were already shopping around for the best prices and urged hotels to start acting more like OTAs if they wanted to gain a bigger share of the bookings as well as ensure there was price parity across all mediums.
"The number of touch points is increasing every year and the biggest cause of abandonment is because of price comparisons. People are shopping around. They’re going from the brand or independent website to a Booking.com, Expedia or TripAdvisor.
"What the OTAs are doing terrifically well is actively selling rooms. Consumers go from a brand website where a double is £200 and it’s being sold really passively to Booking.com who’ll say it’s £200 but it’s down from £250 and there’s only two left, the last one was booked 10 minutes ago and you can cancel it free of charge. So they’re actively selling. Their conversion rates are so much stronger."
Meanwhile, hotel comparison website Trivago has drawn up a list of the 20 best value locations in the UK with Leyburn in Yorkshire topping the list.
The company's Best Value Index takes into account more than two million price enquiries and 82 million hotel reviews from 200 booking partners to compile its Best Value Index.
Scotland performed well in the Index, with four of the top six - Ayr, Callender, Dumfries and Dunoon - destinations located there, while Wales also had five destinations within the top 20 - Abergavenny, Brecon, Llandudno, Tenby and Bangor. Fourteen of the top 20 were also located by the sea, suggesting seaside resorts remain a commendable holiday choice in the UK for top value holidays.