I would imagine that anybody planning a holiday or just a weekend break uses one of the numerous websites that are out there. Since the Internet boom it has become so easy for anybody with a computer to bypass a travel agent and broker and find good deals for flights, hotels, rental cars, etc.
But with all the websites, like www.hotels.com and www.expedia.com, it does often happen that there are substantial differences between them all. So, like with everything else, you should shop around. Until a few years ago I personally found this not to be too much of a problem, as there were maybe a handful of such websites, but today there is a lot of searching involved on dozens of websites.
The Problem I Encountered
This year has really been the first year where I have really noticed that the number of websites that provide hotel deals has drastically increased. The competition in this are of the internet must be fierce, but that has not stopped new websites appearing regularly.
So, when I was planning a couple of weekend breaks I went through the usual spiel of opening a browser window and searching for these websites, and opening them in a new tab of the browser. I usually have a fair idea of where I want to stay based on feedback from www.tripadvisor.com so on each tab I enter the dates the place and hotel name and see what prices I'm offered.
Sounds simple right? Well it turned out to be extremely time consuming as I ended up with about 15 browser tabs for different hotel deals sites. While I eventually did find a good deal it took a considerable amount of time.
Some people might have been reading this possibly knowing exactly what solution I found. And to be honest I really have no idea how this website has alluded me for so long, as it has been around for 7 years.
The website I am talking about is www.trivago.com and it has been a fantastic saver of money for my family. What Trivago actually does is trawl all the other websites that offer hotel deals and lists those in order of price with the added bonus of a guest rating system. You pretty much immediately get a very comprehensive listing of many of the best know sites and what their deal is for a specific hotel.
I cannot begin to tell you how much time and money this has saved me in planning weekends away. Before I was always left wondering whether I could have found a better deal somewhere else, but now I have a lot more confidence. At the end of the day, saving even a few dollars or euros when you hve a family makes all the difference.
One Important Tip
One last thing I want to quickly mention is that you should always ring the hotel after booking to confirm booking was received. I usually wait a coupe of days to make sure that the transaction went through.
The reason I give this advice is that at a recent wedding friends had booked into the same hotel as we did through one of the hotel deals sites, but it turned out to be a bogus site.
While they got their money back from the credit card company, they were left with an stress of finding another hotel at a time when they should have been enjoying the celebrations. So, always double check that the hotel has the booking after you make the booking.