Hotel shopping just isn’t what it used to be.
Ten years ago, millions around the world were stunned to figure out that they could shop for hotels and resorts on the Internet. Websites like Expedia, Orbitz and Hotels.com ran heavy advertising campaigns advocating the idea of a world without costly booking agents. All of the sudden, we were the booking agent.
Since then, though, these websites have taken a backseat to more fluid, comprehensive websites who have made the game even easier. These younger, smarter websites can find small bed and breakfasts in niche neighborhoods that aren’t typically listed, along with more comparison-shopping and access to blocks of rooms normally reserved for members.
Though all of these websites are great, they become even greater when used together. Don’t rely on one single website. Try a bunch of them together, including the veterans of the game. It makes for a more comprehensive arrangement.
Here are some new websites to try out the next time you plan that dream vacation:
Room 77 works just like any other travel website, except that it goes into much further detail about the amenities of every specific room, such as, for example, room number 77 of any building. You can see the room from your window before you ever step foot in the hotel. You can also take advantage of the “virtual concierge” feature that Room 77 provides, which enables you to choose exactly how your room should be situated, like distance from elevator or connecting rooms.
Whereas most other websites target the national and international chains, Hotel Sweep aims for the mom and pop hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts that typically can’t afford to get listed on major websites. Some of these properties are far cheaper than anything you would find elsewhere, but are just as fun and far more unique. If you’re trying to save money or find a unique room in someone’s guesthouse, this place is for you.
People always get discouraged when they get dropped off at a hotel just to find that they are 10 miles away from the nearest bar, museum or music venue. Hipmunk solves that problem. Hipmunk allows travellers to input their favorite interests, such as music, art or the nightlife scene, then sorts through every hotel in the area to find the best fit for your interests. It’s a steal for anyone, but particularly the 20-something looking to have a good time.
Whereas Hipmunk targets the tourist looking for a good time, YourRoomKey specifically targets the businessman looking to get in and out of the workday. YourRoomKey finds the cheapest rooms at major hotel chains located strictly in financial districts and around airports. Through a free membership, business oriented clients can see hotels at much lower rates than anywhere on the Internet with much better amenities.
Looking for a hotel in the United States is one thing. It gets much more difficult once you cross into another border. Momondo targets hotels and hostels that typically get overlooked by US based sites such as Expedia and Orbitz. It essentially combines a list of hotel from several other travel websites and makes it more comprehensive, which enables the traveler to choose from a larger selection of niche-esque websites.
None of these websites are perfect, but combined, they are better than what we’ve ever had. For best results, use a few of them, though it’s not absolutely necessary. You can get a good deal with any of them. So have fun traveling, and don’t forget to leave a review.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Paralog