Tag: Hotel Booking SitesView All Tags
In a society where smoking is becoming less socially acceptable by the day, many hotels in the States no longer offer smoking rooms, and the ones that do tend to keep it on the down low, so as not to scare off nonsmokers (if anyone has seen a hotel openly advertise itself as smoker friendly of late, we would sure like to know about it).
To travelers looking to find a room where they can light up, the industry has essentially shrugged its shoulders and wished them good luck. But a new website/app, Smoketels.com, is out to give smokers a break.
The purpose is pretty simple: Allow users to search within a city for hotels that still set aside rooms for smokers. Speaking to the New York Times, the site’s operator said it has rooms available at over 100,000 properties all over the world.
Hotel Room Alerts / Hotel Booking Tips / Hotel Booking Sites / Hotel Technology / Hotel News / → All Tags
What do you do when the hotel you want to stay in is sold-out? You probably exhaust all the options you can--like hitting up every booking site known to man, constantly checking the hotel's own website and perhaps even begging the front desk to try and find you a room. But you can stop all of that busy work, thanks to Hotel Room Alerts.
This new service will send you both a text and an email alert as soon as availability opens up at the hotel you want. No refreshing, no plugging in dates over and over, and best of all, no begging.
The site is linked up to Hotels.com so if the hotel you're looking at is listed on Hotels.com then you'll be able to get the room alert. Once you get the notification, you'll have a direct link into the hotel's listing on Hotels.com to book away.
The notification system works not just for sold-out hotels but also for sold-out room categories. Say you want a room with double beds but those are sold-out. Sign up with Hotel Room Alerts to get notified when a double-bed opens up again.
Keep reading to see what the alerts look like
Boutique Hotels / Berlin Hotels / Germany Hotels / Hotel Search Engines / Hotel Booking Sites / → All Tags
Seven boutique hotels located across Germany's capital have joined together in creating a booking site called BoutiqueHotelsinBerlin.com. No hotel on the site has more than 200 rooms, and only two have been operating for more than three years. Customers can search by location and compare notes on the properties' themes, rooms, and facilities.
Granted, this is not an extensive collection by any means for a city as big as Berlin, but we like the concept of seeing the little guys join forces. We assume more properties will jump on the newly-launched site over the next year, giving the bigger, more SEO dominate hotel chains a little competition as travelers continue the trend of seeking out small, more authentic properties around the globe.
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.