There is no shortage of companies offering to find us the Best Hotel Rate. We call these companies Hotel Aggregators because they gather up rates from all over the internet and then compare them for you when you do a search on their website. It saves you the legwork of checking several sites by putting all the available prices in one spot. You do usually lose out on any Hotel Loyalty points when booking through a third party vendor.
Webster’s Definition of Aggregator
Someone or something that gathers together materials from a variety of sources. Especially a website or software application that aggregates information (such as news, stories or website updates) from various Internet sources.
Common Hotel Booking Sites
- and a whole host more
Each company advertises that they can get us the best rate but can they? I have been floundering between a few different hotel properties for our trip to Hawaii in October. Of course, I want to be sure I get the best room for the best price. Currently my points pond is a bit shallow, so I am going to pay for 3 of the 6 nights of our stay.
I have narrowed down the list to 2-3 places and have been pricing them on their websites. The price is slightly higher than I would like to pay. I decided to see if Aggregators were cheaper.
I priced the hotel I like best as an Ocean View King with a Balcony for 3 nights (with Cancellation options….just in case) on all of the sites to remove variables. I am also only using the room rate to keep it simple since the taxes and resort fees should be similar.
The Hotel website Standard Room Rate with no Discounts: $1527 (Plus earn hotel points)
The Hotel Website with AAA Discount: $1374 (Plus earn hotel points)
The Hotel Website with Hotel Loyalty Discount: $1497 (Plus earn hotel points)
Hotels.Com: $1507 (Plus 10x Capital One miles & 3 of 10 Hotels.Com nights completed toward a free night)
Orbitz: $1507 (but you earn $45.81 in Orbitz Rewards…whatever they are good for)
Trivago had 2 options. Travel Up and Cancelon.com. It did not initially list the room types so I had to click to their sites to see what was up.
Travel Up: $1363.53
Cancelon: Did not offer this type of room
Most of these companies particiapate with Rakuten (Ebates) so if I watch for a high percentage day and start the booking there I could get a decent rebate.
What did I learn?
- I found the exact same price at 5 out of 7 Booking Sites
- Each Aggregator’s rate was within $20 of the Standard Rate from the Hotel Website
- The lower price on Trivago was at Travel Up – a company whom I have never heard of which doesn’t fill me with confidence when booking a trip of this caliber
- Adding either my AAA, Over 50 or Hotel Membership Discounts when booking directly from the Hotel Website would give me the best prices and still allow me to accumulate Loyalty points and Rebates
- The Hotel could run a Promotion or Sale that lowers the price even further if I am patient (lol….not my strong suit)
This was just one experiment. I am sure there may be times when you can get a really good deal from these sites. However, in this instance, I am inclined to believe that my best option currently is to book from Rakuten (Ebates) and the hotels website. That way I will get loyalty points, discounts and rebates making this option the best value. I think it’s worth testing the waters from time to time to see which way you can get the best deal, but don’t count on it always being from a booking site. Of course, your mileage may vary!