Tuesday, July 29, 2014         


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By McClatchy News Services



>> What it does: This website sources deep discounts at independent and boutique hotels by using its own bidding system and access to hotel rooms that might go unsold. Hotel rooms in San Francisco and New York are currently available, with Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago up next. It has plans to expand to 15 cities by the end of the year.

>> What’s hot: Usually you don’t get to see the name of the hotel when you’re bidding on rooms. I liked that I could see which hotel I was getting and glance at the TripAdvisor ratings as well as filter by neighborhood. Make sure you stick to hotels with “Instant” tags for immediate feedback on bids; otherwise they might not get back to you for up to 24 hours.

>> What’s not: The site feels way too restrictive. For example, the FAQ states, “You are allowed to make one bid per hotel, for up to three hotels in a city, in a 24-hour period. You are not allowed to make multiple bids on the same hotel within a 24-hour period, however, so be sure to bid wisely.” Also, I don’t know why they ask you to bid. I tried to “bid” a lower rate on some San Francisco and New York City hotels marked “Instant,” and not only did it reject a bid that was only $6 less than its suggested rate, its counteroffer was higher than its suggested rate. Sure, the rates were less than those on the hotel’s website, but Google Hotel Finder’s rate was less than Stayful’s “Book It Now” rate. That said, I also bid $3 less than what it suggested for a four-star San Francisco hotel, and it was accepted.

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