Shopping for Rooms Takes Work

Consumer WebWatch determines that finding the best deals on hotel rooms takes some searching.

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,,, 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 failed to provide lower rates than Sabre. Travelocity, owned by Sabre Holdings, offered the lowest average rate, followed by Hotel brand sites listed the highest average rate when compared to the other Web sites and Sabre.