RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If you’re booking a hotel, you probably do it online, using a discount travel site. But a new study shows that there’s a trick to saving a lot more.
Checkbook.org, a non-profit consumer group, crunched the data on thousands of hotel bookings in dozens of cities, through 18 different discount sites.
They found that most booking sites offer the exact same price, despite all of the promises. Checkbook says many of those sites use the same tricks, too.
They often list what they call “regular room rates”, then cross those out, with their so-called “discount rate” underneath.
Those hotels, however, may never have actually charged anyone that rate. Sites also often put things like “Only two rooms left!” or “12 other travelers are looking at this deal!” to pressure you to book. But Checkbook’s study found that rates drop the longer you wait.
It’s also good to know that two companies own nearly all of the well-known travel sites.
Expedia owns Orbitz, Travelocity, Hotels.com and Hotwire; Booking Holdings owns Kayak, Priceline and Booking.com.
Checkbook’s study found the only way to save serious money on a hotel is to book a mystery room through either Hotwire Hot Rate, or Priceline Express Deal.
Those bookings were 38 percent cheaper, on average. While it may feel risky, Checkbook found you can still apply filters like “star level” and location to those bookings.
You can also save by calling the hotel directly, not the 1-800 reservations number. The clerk at the actual front desk is in a better position to offer you a discount, or other perks, Checkbook says.