Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Broader Hotel Searches More Important Than Ever

Here's another reason why it may be smarter to just go to an aggregator site such as HotelsCombined.com or Hipmunk.com (sites that "aggregate" info rather than selling travel) rather than one of the major online travel agencies. According to a recent article by Danielle Douglas of Capitol Business (an off-shoot of the Washington Post), the major hotel chains are giving such sites as Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline far less inventory than they used to. In fact, the amount of rooms being supplied by Starwood, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Intercontintal and Gaylord sold 14% of their inventory through the agencies listed above. In the first quarter of 2011, sales were down to 9% according to industry research firm Rubicon.

Photo by F. Delvenhall

I know, it all sounds very "inside baseball". But consumers should care about this switch as it may mean fewer deals, especially through their favorite online travel agencies. Which is why I'm recommending using the aggregator sites (Kayak.com is another option ), as they search the inventory not just of the major players and discounters (Hotels.com, TravelWorm.com, etc.) but also of the hotel chains directly.

The hotels chains are also going after those travelers who prefer to bundle together airfares with hotel nights (in an attempt to score savings). Many are now partnering with airlines, rental car agencies, tour operators and more to give the customers who come directly to their sites the same sort of inclusive experience they're used to getting on a Travelocity or an Orbitz.

To read Douglas' complete piece, click here.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm. We're always looking for better flight fees and to be honest I'm a little tired of looking at the top few sites one at a time to find better prices. This may be a great option - at least to see everything in there in one place - and hopefully find some better deals on tickets. :)