Hotel Price Comparison vs Traditional Travel Search Websites
By: Caroline Telford
The purpose of this article is to compare the new generation of price comparison websites against the traditional vacation search websites or online travel agencies. This is in reference to finding the cheapest deals for hotel stays around the world.
When websites like Expedia and later Laterooms were launched, they were revolutionary for consumers. To find deals on accommodation beforehand, you used to have to go to your travel agent and rely on them to look at the prices of different hotels, but these websites put the power of the travel agency systems in the hands of the end user. This enabled vacationers and business users to choose the best place to stay within their price range. This was later enhanced by user reviews submitted by independent members of the public and providing an average score of many different experiences.
So those are the traditional flight and hotel search websites that are essentially online travel agencies. The hotel price comparison websites are not agencies, because they search for and compare prices between the different sites like Expedia and Laterooms. It's true that the first part of a search is the same, in that when you select the destination city, dates and number of people, they tell you what hotels have availability. But the next stage is when they retrieve prices from numerous merchants, and then provide the links to those merchants who are able to offer the hotel room for the cheapest price. This latter sort of comparison website do not actually sell anything to the consumers, they provide a free service to enable people to find the best deal.
Now the additional features of websites like Expedia have been transferred to the comparison websites like 2save.co.uk, whereby you can filter hotels by star rating, amenities, specific location and read and submit user reviews. These are not taken from the merchant website, but rather are a separate source of information.
So, which kind of website should you use to find cheap hotel deals? Eventually you will end up at the former category of website, because these are the companies that actually take payment and accept bookings for your stay. Using the comparison website is an extra step that is done beforehand (although any loss of time is made up because you do not need to search again on the second website). This is the step that lets you get the best price even after you are happy with your choice of where to stay in the city. So we thoroughly recommend that you compare and search all in one, rather than just searching and hoping that you're getting a cheap offer.
About the Author: 2save.co.uk, a new price comparison website, has both flight and hotel price comparison tools that let you find the cheapest deal for your trip.
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