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Eight ways to bag a hotel bargain online

The recent launch of TripAdvisor-owned Tingo has added yet another option for vacationers keen to snag a deal on hotels.

travel Updated: Mar 28, 2012 14:14 IST
AFP

The recent launch of TripAdvisor-owned Tingo has added yet another option for vacationers keen to snag a deal on hotels.


But with so many types of hotel booking sites out there, which ones offer what? Here, a handy guide to the sites.

Flash sale sites
Sites such as Jetsetter, Voyage Privé, Tablet and SniqueAway specialize in selling discounted hotel rooms to a 'premium' type of customer when they have spare capacity. Discounts can be high (70 percent isn't unusual), but the base price may be higher.

Mystery/opaque sites
Opaque deals allow hoteliers to sell their spare rooms without losing face -- customers booking the cheap room don't know where they are staying until they've agreed to go. This allows for significant discounts for those who use sites such as Hotwire or Lastminute.com's 'top secret hotels'.

Name your own price
This variation on the opaque system is operated by Priceline as another way for hoteliers to get their rooms sold -- travelers name what they would pay for a given star rating and Priceline attempts to match them up with a hotelier who will accept the booking.

Group buying
GroupOn's leap into the travel industry hasn't been as disruptive as some believed that it would, but the bulk buying system can yield bargains for sure, if you know where you're going and get lucky. LivingSocial also offers similar geo-targeted deals.

Competitive booking
New site Backbid allows travelers to post their (cancellable) hotel reservation online for competing hotels in a certain area to check out and try to best -- if a more attractive hotel or price shows up, travelers can accept it, or stick with their original reservation.

Price-watching
Tingo allows travelers to make their reservation on a system which subsequently watches for price changes, automatically canceling the booking and rebooking should a hotel drop its rates after the original booking.

Last-minute deals
Apps such as HotelTonight claim to offer great deals on unsold rooms for that night, with discounts of up to 70 percent. Priceline offers similar functionality through its iPhone app.

Social booking
The most recent booking type to emerge, this uses both supply and demand data as well as social signals to find users the best price -- US site Guestmob claims to offer rooms at prices up to 50 percent lower.

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