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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!
Back in June, a gay-friendly flash sale site launched called Out Escapes, specializing in unheard-of destinations and pre-packaged travel deals. But now, another one has emerged that aims to cover regular old, on-the-beaten-path places like New York, Berlin, Bangkok, and San Francisco.
Though it's existed since 2011 as a travel booking company, the new World Rainbow Hotels website allows users to browse—and then book rooms at—"carefully chosen" gay-friendly hotels in major destination cities. And, from the sounds of it, they have some pretty high standards!
We've seen our fair share of good hotel booking websites and then a few that we choose not to talk about ever again. Some are still using the standard model: view room details, book room, pre-pay and then rock up to lay your head. But now searching for a hotel room in Australia has just been changed to a way more pleasurable experience thanks to Hooroo.com
The website is the brainchild of the Australian airline, Qantas. The Red Roo has gone into booking accommodation for their passengers arriving in domestic cities. Our initial reaction? So smart! Oh wait; there's more! The site is not only a search engine to find the cheapest hotel. The site acts as a travel concierge, even before you step foot in front of a reception desk.
UPDATE, 9:03pm: HotelChatter received a response from Orbitz CEO Barney Harford, stating that while Orbitz is indeed trying to provide more "relevant" hotels to its customers, it would never charge Mac users more money for the same hotel room. This was stated in our original post, but we thought we should clarify that part.
More bad news for people who use computers and stay at hotels. Oh wait, that's pretty much all of us.
This time, the sword falls on Mac users specifically—who, according to a study by Orbitz, are statistically more likely to stay at pricier hotels than PC users, or at least a pricier room inside a hotel. Huh.
We always associated fancier, state-of-the-art tech amenities (iPads, Chromebooks, Mac Minis) with a fancier, more state-of-the-art hotels. But to make that decision for people based on what computer they're using to book a hotel room? Seems a little shady.
Hotel Booking Sites / Mexico Hotels / Thailand Hotels / Out Escapes / Gay Hotels / Hotel Deals / → All Tags
A brand new luxury travel flash site called Out Escapes just launched this month, and it's the first ever flash site oriented towards gay travelers.
Luring customers in with super-slick photos (pretty much a requisite for any commercial travel site), Out Escapes offers deals on boutique hotels and all-inclusive resorts, destination packages, and tickets to gay events around the world. Once a hotel has been given the "stamp of approval" (ie, it's gay-friendly), it pops up on the site as an "escape," with a quick blurb on the hotel and the destination, and enticing half-off rates, as well as extras thrown in like a bottle of wine, 60-minute massage and VIP beach passes.
In the words of co-founder and CEO Jimmy Im, the whole idea is essentially to "offer escapes in places that aren't typically known as gay destinations. Our goal is to get gay travelers to travel outside their comfort zone."
Always a good thing...
Manhattan Hotels / OpenThread / Hotel Booking Sites / Hotel Deals / Hotel News / HotelTonight / → All Tags
Whoops, you can't have this one!
[Update: 6/6/12 3:34pm, After being in touch with the folks at HotelTonight, they reminded us that their rooms are bought separately and ahead of time. So even if a hotel is saying it's sold out, any room that appears on HotelTonight is still valid and bookable.]
Oh dear. Being the dauntless hotel predators that we are, we try to keep a positive outlook when it comes to the Manhattan hotel scene—crowded, yes, but hopeless? Never. And yet, today, we had to sit back and watch in horror as a colleague of ours struggled all afternoon in vain to find a hotel room for the evening.
Hotel after hotel continually turned him away, saying they were completely sold out. The Ace, Trump Soho, Eventi, Gramercy Park, Conrad New York, Yotel. All sold out. On a Tuesday night! And for many of the ones that still had rooms, prices were exorbitant (Indigo Chesea for $999/night? No thank you!)
The situation was pretty desperate, we admit. But where there's a will, there's a midtown hotel rate below $600/night. And what kind of HotelChatter-ers would we be if we weren't able to make at least a few practical suggestions?
For a sound night's sleep, read on!
Just the other day, we were planning out an upcoming trip through Arizona, and we decided to browse some hotel reviews on TripAdvisor; specifically, places in Tucson. But just as we were about to scroll down through the list of results, we noticed a row of boxes at the top of the screen with labels like "business," "romantic" and "trendy," each of which corresponded to different categories of hotels.
Or, as TA calls them, "styles" of hotels.
We dubiously clicked on the seventh one, which yielded four results. And, while we can't say anything bad about them, by no stretch of our imagination would we hasten to call any of these places "trendy."
Hotel Booking SItes / Room 77 / Hotel Deals / Loyalty Program News / Hotel Loyalty Programs / → All Tags
We're doing our best to keep up with the ever-shifting landscape of hotel booking sites, but there's certainly been a lot to keep track of! The latest: Room 77, which made a name for itself by being able to match up guests with the exact room they want, is now allowing guests to earn loyalty points from bookings made through Room 77. In other words, you no longer have to choose between the convenience of window-shopping for hotel rooms and the satisfaction of using the hotel's loyalty program.
This harks back to a discussion topic we started in 2010 about whether it's possible to earn loyalty points for rooms gotten through blind booking sites like Hotwire and Priceline. The line was pretty blurry back then, as we're sure it still is now, but this looks like a sign that more hotels are giving in. What's more, all the friendly competition going on between the hotel booking sites right now means that guests are the ones who cash in. Who said we can't have our cake and earn points for eating it too?