Sunday, March 29, 2015

Trivago vs. Hotels.com vs hotel website

It appears today the best deal is online or is it? There is so many options to book your vacation I am surprised to hear or read of any real savings being had on either side of the computer screen.
Trivago  is the newest team member to come to the shoppers rescue advertising that Joe has a great room available for $100 then Joe signs up for another website to advertise the same room for $85 but the room stays empty so then Joe deeply cuts his room to half price on a third site. Now there is only one room but three different prices Trivago says it finds the cheapest price for that room for you by scanning over 260 websites.

Great deal right? Well, I recently had the opportunity to test the whole Trivago experience. My destinations were Eureka, CA and Sacramento, CA not exactly tourist attractions. The time of year was late summer. I wanted a hotel that was one close to the Zipcar or the train station.

I did not find what exactly I was looking for but I found some interesting deals, more on that in a bit.

I thought I would open up Hotels.com and check there too. Yes, the prices for the same hotels were about 10% higher but more on that too.

Then I checked the website of the individual hotel to see where the deal really was. Now this is where the "more on that" comes in. First off, when you book thru an hotel aggregated site  you then get transferred back to that deal site which maybe great unless you see an ad popup or the deal is only limited or the whole site refreshes and you have to re-enter your destination.

Next, on Hotels.com there is the option to prepay your trip which for me is a huge plus but remember this is including the taxes too hence it can be 10% more.

Now I went to the hotel directly and found the prices to be about $3 more than the deal sites - what? where is the 15% discount price? Is there any value to being a Triple A member?

The fact of the matter is regardless of the "better deal on the website" you can usually call up a hotel after seeing an ad for the hotel on a deal site and get a better rate by just asking if that deal is available directly from the hotel instead of going thru the website. Surprisingly, it does work more often than not.

Trivago is great and I will have another post just of my review of my experience on their site which was...interesting.

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