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Chopping through hotel prices with Travelaxe

SmarterTravel

Trying to find the best rate on a hotel can be an arduous process. The online tool Travelaxe offers a one-stop way to search many sites simultaneously. But can it really save you time and accurately provide you with a snapshot of where to find the best rate?

Travelaxe is a downloadable tool that allows you to quickly compare hotel prices among online hotel discounters. It searches for hotel rates on sites such as Hotels.com, Lodging.com, OneTravel.com, Orbitz, PlacesToStay.com, and TheReservationCompany.com, as well as on region-specific hotel sites. It displays the information neatly in a spreadsheet format, with the lowest price for each hotel highlighted, and calculates the savings for you.

Travelaxe draws on a base of over 50,000 hotels, and because it lists all the available rates from multiple discount hotel sites in an easy to read format, you can quickly tell where you’re going to get the best deal. It also includes most taxes and fees with the listed rates, so you won’t be led astray by a low base rate that gets inflated by extras at checkout. Plus, it gives invaluable information such as class ratings and each hotel’s distance from the city center. You can sort by those factors, as well as by price.

There are some things you’ll want to be aware of before using Travelaxe as your one-stop hotel shop. Travelocity and Expedia are not yet included in the Travelaxe search, so you won’t get a truly comprehensive search automatically.

Also, Travelaxe uses its own distance parameters to keep results relevant. This weeds out hotels that are far from a city center. If you do want to adjust your results to show hotels in a particular area, click on the Map tab at the top of the results page and you’ll be able to recenter your search.

Another thing to note is that occasionally, you’ll see a slight difference between the price on Travelaxe’s chart and the total when you click through to book. This variation comes from differences in tax rate calculations and fee estimates between Travelaxe and the discount sites. When we compared, the difference was rarely more than a dollar, so the difference is negligible.

So what does all this mean in terms of finding the best hotel rates? Travelaxe is most useful because it will simplify your search, saving you hours in search time. If you want to perform a comprehensive search using Travelaxe, here’s what we suggest:

  • Start by opening and searching for your city and dates on Travelaxe.
  • If you want to cover all your bases, check your dates at Expedia and Travelocity to see if it offers a similar hotel at a better price before you book. If you don’t mind not knowing the hotel name before you book, you might also try Hotwire or priceline.
  • More and more hotels are offering lowest-rate guarantees when you book direct. Check the hotel’s site to make sure that you can’t find a lower rate.
  • If the price is equal or lower on Travelaxe, you can book by selecting the hotel you want and then clicking on the “Book” tab along the top of the page. You’ll then be channeled to the discount hotel site with the lowest rate.

Travelaxe hopes to launch an incentive program to reward users in the near future. So there may soon be another reason to use the service.

There’s no substitute for checking around to compare rates and staying realistic about how much you’ll pay for a hotel. Travelaxe can be a useful tool for helping you find the best price across multiple online hotel discounters.

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