Tag: Hotel Booking SitesView All Tags
As a storm brews over the East Coast just days before Thanksgiving--one of the biggest travel days of the year--we're already bracing ourselves for the horror stories of folks whose flights have been delayed and stranded. We're also bracing ourselves for the inevitable "my hotel wouldn't let me cancel my reservation" stories too, no matter what sort of storm gets in the way.* But this year, there might be a way around those cold-hearted cancellation policies, thanks to Roomer.com.
The easiest way to describe Roomer, and this is how they describe themselves, is "a Stubhub for hotel rooms." If you're stuck with a hotel reservation that you can't actually make, you can put it up for sale on Roomer and folks looking for discounted hotel rooms can buy your existing reservation for less. Now, instead of losing all of your money for a hotel stay that you can't even do, you'll get a little bit of the expenses back.
Discounts vary depending on the property but some go for up to 50 percent off (or if you're the seller, that means you'll get 50 percent of your money back.) Meanwhile, someone else is getting a steal on the hotel. It seems like a total win-win.
Right now, we're seeing a Roomer listing for the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC for $287 a night on Thanksgiving and Friday. That same room is going for $349 on both Expedia and the hotel's own website. That's a nice chunk of change to save. But of course, the Roomer reservation is nonrefundable too, so you really have to be sure you are going to make it. After all, we don't think you can Roomer a Roomer reservation.
Keep reading for more info on Roomer, straight from the founder and managing director!
The other day when we were cruising Expedia for a hotel stay, we noticed something different with the site--the room rates were buried under one or two-word "reviews" of the property. Say what? Oh hell no. So we had to investigate.
Here is how the search results looked last week. Look at how teeny that rate is while the "Very Good" is bigger and bolder.
And here is how they used to look back in the spring.
When we inquired at Expedia what this was all about, we were told the following:
" Expedia began testing new search hotel search pages earlier this year. The Expedia teams are constantly testing pages to see what improves the user experiences and you likely encountered one of the new pages being tested."
Mobile Booking Apps / Hotel Booking Sites / HotelQuickly / HotelTonight / CheckInTonight / → All Tags
Launched in March, the smartphone app works very much like HotelTonight--guests can book seriously last-minute rooms up until 4am for that same night. And like HotelTonight the app only lets you access hotel room rates for that day, starting at noon--you can't book a room the day before or the week before. It's also only available through a smartphone app store--either iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.
We checked today for the options in Siem Reap and two hotels pulled up--one for $100 USD and another for just $30. (Some cities also have just one hotel listed.) If you can't decide between the options, HotelQuickly tells you to shake your phone which will then make your selection automatically. You can also earn credits for recommending friends to HotelQuickly, which is something that HotelTonight has done from the beginning.
Right now, HotelQuickly is operating in Australia's big cities (Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne) along with Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Siem Reap and cities in New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. You can read through their FAQs if you still need a little help understanding how the app works. We also just discovered another app that's doing the same thing for Asia called, CheckInTonight, which does most of the same cities at HotelQuickly, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand.
UPDATE 7.23.11: The recommend bid of $190 for The Nolitan Hotel was denied. Back to square one we guess.
Being hotel nerds determined to get the best deal on our hotel rooms, we've been known to get a little obsessive with all the hotel booking sites out there. We once rounded up our 5 favorite booking sites to use and we're not lying when we say we usually consult all of those sites before booking a hotel room. And now we'll be adding one more into the mix--Stayful.com.
Stayful.com was just announced last week as a new booking site for independent boutique hotels, and not for every random chain hotel brand under the sun as you often see on most booking sites. But Stayful is not as wide-open as other booking sites. For starters, the site is in beta right now and is invite-only. And it's also only offering hotels in San Francisco and New York. So if you were looking to book that Chicago getaway, you'll just have to sit tight.
But Stayful does have one cool feature that most other sites don't usually have--"Bid or Book It Now." As the name suggests, you can search hotel rooms and either bid a lower price than what's listed or book it now and get the best available rate. If you're unsure about what to bid (and perhaps to prevent people from bidding too low), Stayful gives guests "recommended bids" which are rates that their site's algorithm believes the hotel is most likely to accept. Aha, finally some guidance in the hotel room bidding realm. That said, you can enter your own bid but you can only enter one bid per hotel every 24 hours.
The other month, we published 5 Booking Sites to Know About and Use, our handy little guide to the hotel booking sites (and one mobile app) that we use frequently for our hotel stays in the U.S. But what are the best hotel booking sites for Europe?
We personally have used a variety of booking sites for our past European vacations. In Monte Carlo, we ended up going through Kiwi Collection and Leading Hotels of the World. In Paris, we once had you dear readers pick our hotel. Another time, we booked through the hotel at Le Meurice. In London, we booked directly with Tune for the opening of their first hotel in London and in Munich and Barcelona a few years back, we actually booked using credit card points.
And the frequent hotels we've casually surveyed seem to use different tactics themselves. Several folks told us they go through loyalty programs like Starwood and Hilton. While others stick with the big travel aggregators like Expedia, Kayak, Priceline and Travelocity.
Hotel News / Hotel Booking Sites / Rocketmiles / PointsHound / Airline Loyalty Programs / Loyalty Program News / → All Tags
Back in May, we told you about a website called PointsHound that allows you to earn airline miles for your hotel stays. It seems this market is now beginning to catch on and grow, as another site called Rocketmiles has emerged in the same light, offering a minimum of 1,000 miles or points for each night's stay at a hotel. In some cases we saw, the rewards were as high as 5,000 a night.
Like PointsHound, using Rocketmiles a very simple process -- sign up, link your mileage accounts, and book through the site. Rocketmiles is currently partnered with American AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, HawaiianMiles, United MileagePlus, US Airways Dividend Miles, and Virgin America Elevate. Generally, hotel rewards points will not be earned in addition to your Rocketmiles preferred currency, however your stay will most likely count toward your elite status level (although the exact policy differs from hotel to hotel).
Are there any real differences between PointsHound and Rocketmiles? In terms of policies and site interaction, not really. But from the eyetest, PointsHound seems to have a bigger selection of hotels while Rocketmiles offers, on average, more points per night at fewer locations. The good thing for us is that we have both sites at our disposal, and together they make up a pretty good team with plenty of options should we want to pad our airline points accounts.
Hotel Booking Sites / Hotel Booking Tips / Quikbook / HotelTonight / Tingo / PointsHound / RoomKey / Hotel News / → All Tags
One of the questions we get asked the most (after "Can you get me a free hotel room?") is, "What hotel booking site do you use?" Our answer often varies depending on the city, the time of year and whether the trip is business or pleasure, but we've definitely got a few sites that we trust more than others.* So allow us to round them up for you here:
5 Hotel Booking Sites You Should Know About and Use
*Sorry, these won't help lower the rates for NYC in mid-June but at least you'll be getting the best rate you can.
Hotel News / Hotel Booking Sites / PointsHound / Airline Loyalty Programs / Loyalty Program News / → All Tags
Regardless of your approach to cashing in the hotel and airline loyalty points you accrue during your travels, one thing we can all agree on is that we want more of them. We've seen partnerships between industries before that helps to earn points even when we're not staying or flying -- such as credit cards -- but outside of the initial bulk reward one gets for signing up, the accumulation is anything but swift. Unfortunately, the $100 we spend at the grocery store every two weeks isn't going to get us very far in the way of a free ticket or night's stay.
So, what else is out there to aid in our crusade? A new booking engine recently launched known as PointsHound seeks to unite a myriad of loyalty programs, and although it's in the early stages of its operations, we think it has potential to really be a useful tool. Put simply: the site allows you to earn airline and/or hotel points when you book a hotel stay through the site.
When you sign up for PointsHound, you enter in your account information for the loyalty programs you're enrolled in. Right now, the site is partnered with the hotel reward programs of Hilton Honors, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, Priority Club, and Starwood Preferred Guest. For airlines, it works with United Mileage Plus, Etihad Guest Miles, Virgin America Elevate, American AAdvantage, Baltic Miles, Club Premier KmP, Delta Skymiles, Hawaiian Miles, and US Airways Dividend Miles. You can also link your Best Buy Reward Zone account if you'd prefer to buy gadgets instead of earning more travel opportunities.
Hotel booking site, Tingo.com arrived on the scene about a year ago, promising to give money back to hotel guests if the rates dropped after they made their reservation but before they arrived for their stay. The site also helps guests who book with them get free room upgrades too. Clearly, it's not your average point, click and enter in your credit card booking site.
When we first checked it out, we compared it to a game show and a year later, not much has changed. The booking process is straightforward but we imagine after you book your room, you will be keeping your fingers crossed and hopping up and down hoping to get some money back. But you may not need to do that as chances are pretty good you will "win" if you book with Tingo.
For its first birthday Tingo, which is part of TripAdvisor, has put out a new infographic claiming to have refunded over $371,000 to travelers. (Actually, the number is now over $400,000.) The average refund per guest has also risen from $47.69 to $54.30. A recent article on Tingo even tells how one lucky guest was refunded $1,878.73 for her trip in the Dominican Republic. Um...yes, please?
But perhaps the most compelling stat is that 44 percent of customers who booked with Tingo got a better deal, either with a Money Back refund or a room upgrade.
UPDATE: We were approached by Jetsetter with the request to affirm that 98% of imagery on Jetsetter was provided by vendors (which we assume to mean that, in contrast to what the WSJ reported, they weren't commissioned specifically for the site) and that Jetsetter is "close to breakeven". Close to breakeven is technically still not profitable, but we're happy to provide this additional detail straight from the horse's mouth.
We love us some flash sales. Who doesn’t want to snag that out-of-reach hotel for a reasonable price? Add super-slick photography and it’s easy to see why we’ve loved Jetsetter around these parts. Starting as an invite-only sample site, it soon branched out, adding a UK-website, “room tonight” functionality to their app, and even non-sale hotel rooms.
Now, word comes that Gilt Groupe, the internet-based fashion company behind the site, has put Jetsetter up for sale. But it doesn’t look like there are many takers. The Wall Street Journal reports that Gilt was initially seeking around $100 million, but that asking price has dropped to $50 million following a lack of interested buyers.
You get free perks at the Smyth Tribeca with Want Me Get Me
A new hotel booking site called Want Me Get Me, launched today, perhaps trying to get inside the ring with sites like SniqueAway and Jetsetter.com in a battle to see who offers the best bang for the luxury travel buck.
The free, members-only hotel booking site, promises to give travelers “exclusive access to perks and amenities usually reserved for celebrities, rock stars, and platinum rewards status priority guests at the world’s best hotels,” according to today’s news release. It’s co- founded by Melanie Brandman, who owns a public-relations firm that represents some of the hotels on the list and has an advisory board that includes Kellie Pelletier, former director of communications at Jetsetter.com, Roberta Seiler, former director of partnership development at Jetsetter.com, and Brad Wilson, president of Ace Hotel.
The idea is that travelers who pay standard room rates at the 200 select luxury and boutique hotels on Want Me Get Me’s list will get VIP treatment and free perks. So far, we’re told these may be room upgrades, free WiFi, free valet parking, and even champagne upon arrival. Nice, but not quite as “exclusive” as it sounds. However, apparently those who book a hotel through Want Me Get Me get placed on the hotel GM’s VIP List, and those perks supposedly can be “quite lavish” and left up to the GMs discretion. Sounds super secretive!
It's no secret that we consider HotelTonight one of our go-to booking apps when in need of a hotel room in a hurry and at a discount. And fortunately for us, and for you fellow deal-seekers, the mobile app keeps on expanding.
Today, in addition to announcing that the app has surpassed three million downloads, HotelTonight also announced its presence in 10 new cities in the US and the UK. Right now you can get hotel rooms tonight in St. Louis, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool. Manchester and Salt Lake City will be added in early September.
In total, HotelTonight has deals in over 50 destinations in US, UK and Canada. Next up? The Continent we hope!
Stay tuned tomorrow and Friday when we'll have more on our own booking experiences with HotelTonight!