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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.
Know of a hotel room open that's close to the Superdome in New Orleans? Let us know!
As we head into the final weeks of the NFL Playoffs, the mad scramble for hotel rooms in New Orleans, where Super Bowl XLVII will be held, has already begun. We told you that way back in October most of the hotels in the Big Easy were sold-out and that's still true.
Right now, doing a quick check on Expedia we see the usual budget suspects--anything with Inn in the second half of its name--in less-than-desirable areas of New Orleans still open for $300+ a night. So there is availability during Super Bowl weekend. But is it the kind you want?
Starting next week we'll be keeping our eyes out on who still has Super Bowl hotel rooms open, from the usual suspects like hotel booking sites and the official Super Bowl reservations site (at FanExperiences.com) to less conventional places like AirBnB.com, Craigslist, and our ever trusty HotelChatter tipline.
No matter where you begin your search for hotel rooms though, the same rules apply for finding a hotel deal for Super Bowl:
Keep reading to see our five tips for booking a Super Bowl hotel room
Hotel Booking Tips / Airbnb / Hilton Hotels / Hotel News / Online Booking Sites / Hotel Tech / Hotel Technology / → All Tags
Have you ever booked a stay through Airbnb? If yes, then skip to the next paragraph. If not, here's a quickie backgrounder: started four years ago, the vacation rental site allows travelers all over the world to book stays in other people's apartments and homes—just like a hotel room, but often much, much cheaper and a quicker way to connect with locals.
Needless to say, the company is giving hotels a serious run for their money.
How much money, you ask? A recent statistic actually found that by December 31, Airbnb (which is now available in 192 countries) will have surpassed Hilton in number of rooms booked. For evidence, see the below tweet from tech leader Tim O'Reilly:
HotelTonight released the 4.0 version of its iOS and Android app today. The new versions will bring expanded hotel offerings as well as personalized suggestions for each user.
“What one person sees is now a little different than what another person will see,” says Sam Shank, CEO of Hotel Tonight. “We had complaints that hotels weren’t [always] right for them, so we wanted to get better results for people.” For example, at one point it wouldn’t help a customer if all deals shown that day were all on one side of town, and that customer was on the other side. With the new app, they’ll now be able to see more options. Also, with a type of “customer tracking” system, if one highly rates a hotel after a stay, when they return to HT, they’ll see a bonus hotel offer similar to the one they stayed at previously.
Here's A breakdown on what will happen when you open the new HotelTonight app.
We've talked so much about HotelTonight, the mobile booking app that gives you discounted rates on that night's stay, so much that we've just assumed everyone and their smartphone-holding mother knows how to work it.
Yet time and time again, we keep running into friends who booked rooms last-minute for far higher prices than necessary. When we ask them, "Did you use HotelTonight?" They tell us, "No, what's that?" D'oh.
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!
Mobile Booking Apps / Kayak / Hotel News / HotelTonight / Hotel Technology / Hotel Booking Tips / → All Tags
The booking function du jour allows you to search hotels near you using the app's GPS function but whether or not you're getting a deal is still up in the air. Tnooz.com reports:
The Kayak take on same-day bookings is far lower-key than the others hitting the market. Users have an option to check for same-day availability, get results and are then either redirected to one of its partners for the booking or, in some cases, can book direct within the app itself.
This room at The Signature at MGM Grand cost us $95 (without the $25 resort fee) on Expedia.
Well, this is interesting. Consumer Reports have released their latest survey findings and this year the average hotel stay is about to cost $107 a night, up five percent from last year.
Despite the increase, $107 seems like a good deal! We've paid about $100 a night for two of our hotel stays this year--The Saguaro Scottsdale and the The Signature at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. But last weekend at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego we splurged on a room for $265 a night.
Admittedly, we have a thing for new hotels and boutique hotels and hotels in expensive cities like New York, London and Miami but even still, we don't often see a hotel for $107 a night. Perhaps we need to start going more budget. Consumer Reports says that Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham was the highest-rated of the budget hotels while Econo Lodge and Americas Best Value Inn.
On the luxury end, Ritz-Carlton Hotels earned top survey results while Westin, Hyatt and Embassy Suites Hotels also garnered excellent or good ratings.
But perhaps the most bit of useful info from the report are Consumer Reports tips to getting a good hotel deal.
Recently, an acquaintance was
badgering pumping us about hotel recommendations for Hong Kong. After mentioning a few that we recently checked out, said friend asked us, "But which one has the best gym?"
See, we're not really the fitness-oriented type when it comes to our hotel stays. Indeed our first reaction to the announcement of IHG's new fitness-oriented hotel brand, Even Hotels, was wondering if we would be judged for carrying fast-food take-out back to our room. We'd rather book our room based on the following criteria--newness, cheapness and in some special cases, design.
But considering that this was the second time that we heard of a friend booking a hotel room based on the gym offerings, we started to think that there must be a ton more of you gym freaks out there, studying photos of the hotel fitness centers perhaps more closely than the rooms.
So you tell us, do you book your hotel stay based on the hotel gym offerings? Let us know in comments below!
P.S. To answer our friend's initial question about Hong Kong, we would have to give a shout-out to the Ritz-Carlton (pictured above) where you can Facebook and Google from the treadmills.
When Apple first unveiled its iPhone 4S, our first thought was could the new voice-activated app/virtual personal assistant, Siri, find us a hotel room? And would her findings be better than our own? Now that we have an actual iPhone 4S in our hands, we decided to investigate.
We held down the home screen button and waited for Siri to pop up. Once she did, we simply said, "I need a hotel room." A few seconds later, Siri spit out a bunch of hotels near our current location.
This being Santa Monica, Calif. there were a bunch of hotels nearby. 21 to be exact.
The thing is, not all of these listings were desirable. American Motel? No thanks. A few were also not hotels like the listing for Centro LLC and another for HotelConnect USA LLC.
And with the few hotels that we would actually stay at, like The Huntley, all Siri pulled up was a map of where these hotels were related to our current location. When you clicked on the listing, Siri then showed you the hotel's phone number and exact address. No website, no average rate, no hotel reviews, nada. Damn, Siri, we expected more from you!
Trump Hotels / Preferred Hotels / iPrefer / Killer Views / Hotel Bathtubs / Hotel Booking Tips / → All Tags
As you know from our post yesterday on these nightstand lamps, we spent a night at the Trump Soho. But what we didn't tell you is how we came to spend a night in a suite with this killer view from the bathtub. Allow us to do so now.
We did our usual compare and contrast of the hotel's website and other booking sites and found that a king deluxe room was going for the rate of $419 everywhere. Not content with just booking a room without any perks, we thought maybe we could do a Josh Flagg except that Trump Hotels are not part of American Express' Fine Hotels and Resorts. However, they are a part of Preferred Hotels and Resorts, of which we happen to be a member.
Our own Eloise, Josh Flagg returns to divulge one of his closely-guarded hotel booking tips. While Amex is his main booking MO, this is a good tip to try on a lark but especially when you book packages that say, "Upgrade if available." Enjoy!
Do you ever feel as I do, that when you check into a hotel, you get the run around? Let me explain what I mean.
If you are an American Express platinum or Black card holder, or even if you are a Centurion card holder, there are certain advantages you get when booking through Amex's Fine Hotels and Resorts. For one, you get complimentary breakfast. Two, you get an added amenity with the hotel such as a massage or a facial or maybe a dining credit. But most important is number three and this is what matters most to me.
Say you are traveling and you book a one-bedroom suite. Assuming the occupancy in the hotel is not at 100 percent, then the hotel will upgrade you to a larger suite, just for booking through Amex. Sometimes, they will even upgrade you to a two-bedroom suite!
The same goes for a standard room. If you book a nice room, they will upgrade you to a junior suite, or if you book a not so nice room, they will upgrade you to a nice one.
Usually you will pay a little bit of a higher rate when you book through American Express Platinum or Centurion, however the added benefits make it well worth it.