Friday, June 29, 2007

Hotel Reservation Resource

The online reservation game is a pretty competitive one but that is to the advantage of those of us who travel. Hotels usually offer blocks of discounts to companies who promote their businesses across the web. Like plenty of others before me I have found the online booking is a brilliant way to get a discount, and often in hotels that might otherwise claim there is no room at the inn. The group at HotelReservations.com seem to have caught up a useful round of resources for the traveler, especially if you are US based.

But the real test on these sort of sites is what sort of results you get from the search engine on hotels. So I try a search on the home town, Sydney, and all the mid to top tier pubs are featured, with cheap hotel rates that I know are pretty good. Push it a bit harder. Try Sanaa. Where? The capital of Yemen, part of the old city shown in this photo. Worth a visit if you have a spare couple of weeks. It is a veritable museum of old Russian stuff – and some new Russian jets (Mig-29s) beating up the airport kept me distracted for .... OK, it seemed like hours. There are two “top end” pubs in Sanaa. The Sheraton will be disappointed it did not come up on the list but I was VERY impressed that Sanaa returned a result at all. Including the other, local hotel, so they will be very happy with that result. So try something a bit more obscure - let's try Ballarat.

All the regular motor inns even we Aussies try and avoid are there – but you have no choice in Ballarat unless you have a relative living there. But not everyone wants to admit to a flannel-shirt wearing, mullet haired, ugg-boot shod relative in Ballarat. If you do, and therefore need to book some accommodation, this site will do it for you. Especially if you don’t want to “top and tail” with said relative. Push the site a bit further and search on Yakandandah. That is a bit unfair. Most Aussies would have no idea where this one horse, three fly town is either. And I am not even sure if there is accommodation there. Or if anyone would want to stay there. Unless they are on their way to Ballarat perhaps, and need to get themselves mentally conditioned to stay with that relative. So no return from the search engine on Yankandandah. But that is OK, it passed the Sanaa and Ballarat stress test with flying colours.

So too the airline bookings that will get me from Sydney to Sanaa and back with a choice of just about any airline in the region. And some. In fact the one stop shop nature of this site is a bit deceptive – the site name suggests hotel reservations only but it turns up car, flight and holiday deals as well. Might not be backpacker material but if you are traveling closer to the front of the plane these days than you did when you were a student, and you are the ones keeping us awake 9 hours across the Pacific with your toddlers with inner ears not yet adjusted to the pressure differential, then this site is worth a bookmark.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am not a flannel-shirt wearing, mullet haired, ugg boot wearing relative in Ballarat - I am a gorgeous, intelligent, impoverished uni student with a good sense of fashion which I cannot afford to execute. I am a lovely, NON-BOGAN relative in Ballarat. But everyone else is as you describe
- Min

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