There is no doubt that the internet has made it easier than ever to find and compare hotel deals. But the real question is how do you know you are truly getting the best deal?
At different times there have been periods where you could rely on one source being the best deal. But now almost more than ever I have found that the tried and true sites are not always providing the best deals. While booking some nights away recently this became apparent to me more than ever.
Previous Bookings at Hotels.com
In the past, I have booked many hotels with Hotels.com. The two reasons why I booked with Hotels.com was their reward program and they generally did offer the best price I could find. It was only on a rare occasion that I would find a better price on another reputable website.
Often in the past, even some small differences are justified as a result of their reward program. The program gives one free night for every ten nights booked to the average value of the nights booked. Essentially meaning that you get a 10% discount on your stay, you just have to use it for a future stay.
But the thing that I find with this is you are locked into how you use that discount or future credit. Plus if you only happen to book eight nights now, depending on when you book again it can be a long time waiting for that.
Doing The Research
In the past when I was travelling I did some research but soon fell into using Hotels.com for everything. But recently I have been taking some time to do a little more research again and found it to be rather valuable.
I was booking 2-nights in Noosa and 2-nights in Caloundra and decided to do my research. It is a good idea when you have not been doing bookings for a little while to do this in my experience. Something that I am very glad I considered on this occasion.
2-nights In Noosa
I found a hotel in Noosa on Hotels.com which was listed for the specific nights as AUD$288.00. I was quite happy with the price but decided to see what the hotel was offering by booking directly with them. The price for the exact same nights in the exact same type of room direct with the hotel came to AUD$248.00. A saving of AUD$40.00, or around 14% cheaper. That saving is essentially two or more meals while staying there, which is considerable.
2-nights in Caloundra
I found a very similar story when booking my nights in Caloundra. On Hotels.com the room was listed at AUD$303 for the two nights I wanted. After the above experience, I was ready to do the same check. The exact same nights in the exact same type of room direct with the hotel came to AUD$272.00. A saving of AUD$31.00, or a little over 10% cheaper. That will also cover a good portion of the meals while staying in Caloundra.
In total for the four nights away I will be saving a total of $71.00 on the accommodation. As I mentioned that is basically going to cover the main meal each day while I am away. Although I will admit that I could have secured almost the same price by booking with a discount coupon on the 2-nights in Caloundra. But I would prefer to book directly with the hotel in a case like this.
Do Your Research
So the question that I want you to ask yourself is rather simple. Is an extra few minutes worth saving 10-14% on your booking? While maybe you might save nothing, you could also potentially save more than that. So if you have been just using the same site because it is conveinient, it might be time to do your research.