Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Booking Hotels Online

I've just helped my wife find a technique for getting good hotel prices - see if you like it.

She trains people to use software at Veterans Administration hospitals and has a fairly tight budget. Interestingly, the budget is fixed at $100/night, whether she's in Los Angeles or the corn-blessed expanses of Amish country. What she aims to do is find a good hotel as close to the V.A hospital as she can. Now Yahoo! Travel has the best prices we've found, but their search engine is a little lacking; for instance she can't ask for all the hotels which have available rooms on a certain day.

So here's the method we use:

  1. Go to and enter the address of the hospital (or wherever you have to be)
  2. Click the "nearby businesses" link in the top right of the screen, and choose "hotels"
  3. Now you're looking at a list of hotels close to the address you asked for.

In another window (you did know you have more than one browser window open, didn't you ? Press Ctrl-N to do it quickly) go to

  1. Go to the Hotels section
  2. Enter the address, and the dates you'll be staying. Do the search.
  3. Travelocity is now showing a list of available hotels near that address.

Between these two windows you should be able to pick a nearby, cheap and available hotel. Travelocity has traveller reviews of hotels. I'd advise calling the hotel on the phone (you may need to find them on their own website, i.e,, to get a phone number, since the sites we used don't like you to use the phone instead. See if the hotel will give you the same rate on the phone - we do this because she's often booking for multiple people in multiple rooms, each with different needs, and it's really time consuming to do this through Yahoo...much easier on the phone. Be prepared for a rejection though - those rates are "Internet Only" for a reason and many hotels won't honor them over the phone.

OK, that's my advice for the day.

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