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The FareChase program will give the best price for planes, hotels and package deals under a single search effort.
The program will also combine the Internet search engine's mapping capabilities so that users can see maps and images of their destination.
Article on UPI [upi.com]
You will always find the best deals directly with hotels
Travelin that's not accurate. Consolidators, esp the big ones, often have lower rates than the hotels offer directly. I even had a situation where a hotel told me they could not even *match* the price I could get for their own property online from a consolidator to whom they'd have to pay a large commission. This is stupid for the hotel but the sytems are not well integrated yet, esp. at the mid and smaller properties.
There is no simple way to get the "best rates" for flights or hotels - you need to surf multiple sites. I doubt the Yahoo tool will be comprehensive but it's a step in the right direction for consumers.
This situation is common in travel because pricing is very market driven and surprisingly inconsistent both for flights and hotels.
As a travel publishing guy I know how some of the deals are cut and it's a very sloppy and counter-intuitive process where some consolidators will force properties to sell them blocks of rooms far below rack rate in exchange for a guarantee of selling those rooms.
If, at the last minute, the consolidator has a lot of rooms left they may sell them at rates far below what the hotel will charge if you call them. You especially see this in places like Vegas.
All that said I think the hotels are getting smarter and some provide a low price guarantee at their own websites, so you are certainly right that you should check the hotel site as well as other places.
I believe this depends on the market. In my market, the hotels have contractual relationships with large hotel booking sites and *many* of them will not match those contracted prices when dealing with individuals.
I've read that the common travel sites that regular folks like me would visit (t----city, etc.) will take note of your visit in a cookie, and if you check back the next day the prices will have been raised because now you're regarded as an easy mark. Does anyone know for a fact whether this is so?
I would very much doubt it. They have nothing to gain, and hotels can change their rates as often as they see fit. But of course such a rumour may perhaps be something that the sites may not readily kill off as it could very well make many visitors book first time.
Fact is that the hotel industry is fast adopting serious yield management strategies and most major sites get their rates from GDS.
Because of that you can very easily see an hotel's rates and visit the next day to see different rates - either more expensive or cheaper.
Many global chains also only work with certain websites or GDS partnered sites etc. and many claim lowest rate guarantees etc.
The problem is mainly caused by wholesalers who in a way affiliate their contracted rates which are supposed to be part of a package (ie not visible to consumers) to third party websites. This is a serious problem for hotels and something which is quite difficult to defeat.
I wonder if FareChase offers the right pricing. I am from India and our inter-city air-fares are listed at 10-times the normal ticket price available right within India.
Visit most of the major travel websites and many that are not based in Asia offer ridiculous fares for travel within Asia.
They will catch up.