Finding the best deals on hotel rooms takes some searching,
according to a consumer advocacy group. Consumer WebWatch, a
project of the nonprofit Consumers Union, recently compared five
leading online travel sites with several hotel-brand Web sites.
Rates from the GDS Sabre were used as a benchmark. The study found
the Web sites’ search engines were confusing and that multiple
searches were needed to find the lowest rates. “These integrated
Web sites are not offering consumers simple, easy-to-use
functionality that would allow them to search for hotel rates in
lowest-to-highest rankings,” the consumer group stated. The sites
included Expedia, Hotels.com, Lodging.com, Orbitz and Travelocity.
According to the test results, Web sites provided lower rates than
Sabre 87 percent of the time, sometimes by hundreds of dollars.
Only Lodging.com failed to provide lower rates than Sabre.
Travelocity, owned by Sabre Holdings, offered the lowest average
rate, followed by Hotels.com. Hotel brand sites listed the highest
average rate when compared to the other Web sites and Sabre.