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These days, most of us book our hotel stays online, either via a third party or directly through the hotel's website. If you make a habit out of doing the former, you may be interested to learn more about how you can earn points through Orbitz's rewards program.
The system revolves around accumulating Orbucks, which is a dummy currency that directly converts to the dollar. In other words, 1 Orbuck equals 1 USD. When you book a hotel through Orbitz, you can earn up to 3% of the total price back in the form of Orbucks, which can then be applied to a future hotel booking. Some hotels result in earning more Orbucks than others.
If you book through its iOS or Android apps, you'll get up to 5% of the total. So, for example, if the total cost of your booking is $500, you'd get 15 Orbucks if you book through the site and 25 if you book through the app.
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.
The new feature is supposed to help customers find all the information they need in one-spot and hopefully, get more value for their money or at the very least, a pleasant hotel stay.
Plugging in a search for a hotel room in New York on August 26, we found that we could check out the amenities, descriptions, locations and prices for each hotel without having to navigate away from the main page. For more detailed information, we did have to click on the hotel listing itself.
Aside from the side-by-side comparison, Orbitz has added Google Street View for the hotel and its surrounding area which we love. Orbitz also shows you their Orbitz TotalPrice which details just how much your stay will cost after taxes which is always super helpful and saves you a few surprises at check-out.
Expedia / Orbitz / → All Tags
In the wake of Orbitz' hotel fee cutting we reported yesterday, competitor Expedia has taken note of the extra wallet-thinning expenses and slashed the "taxes and fees" section on its own site. Ah, the sweet, sweet benefits of industry competition!
So from now on when booking a trip on Expedia, the price you're going to see on the first page you land on in your search results is going to be the true total rate. Click through to the next page and there won't be additional charges that take the fun out of a good deal. Expect to see major price drops head over to the Hudson Crossing blog for more deets.
P.S. Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove for $199? Wow.
The total price of a hotel room is now shown in search results.
A Wall Street Journal article revealed this morning that Orbitz plans to cut its hotel booking fee that is, reduce that extra service fee you're charged when you book a hotel rooms through Orbitz 'til July 15th.
Per the article:
Booking a hotel room on Orbitz.com will be cheaper than it will be on competitor sites like Travelocity.com and Expedia Inc.'s Expedia.com about 80% of the time, says Barney Harford, president and chief executive of Orbitz. When Orbitz is cheaper, the average savings will be $7 a night, says spokesman Brian Hoyt. The company declined to say what the average hotel booking fee will be.
The WSJ talked to reps from Expedia and Travelocity, who both shared the same sentiment: something resembling "meh, we're still competitive with them." USA Today's Hotel Check-In blog kinda shared the same sort of reaction, asking whether consumers will really react to the little fee kickback at all. We kinda agree. Meh!
Also, Orbitz announced today that they're going to be cutting back the math skillz required of you: when you search for a hotel room on the site, taxes and fees will now be included in the rates that come up in your search results like, when the rates are listed, you see the actual total price right off the bat (see photo). Which, you know, the less brain power required here, the better.
Hotels.com isn't the only online travel booking site getting in on the Black Friday madness. Orbitz has also started up a sale that is giving travelers 15 percent off hotel stays and $50 off flight and hotel package deals. Except Orbitz isn't waiting until Friday. They are starting the whole she-bang tomorrow, November 26th but it only last for six days. From the Orbitz peeps:
This sale begins on November 26 and goes through December 1, so travelers should take advantage soon. It is valid for travel between November 26, 2008, and April 15, 2009.
For the 15 percent hotel discount, use the code Turkey15. For the flight + hotel package deal, use the code Turkey50.
Booking any deals this holiday season? Let us know where and for how much!