It’s always tricky to know when to fully commit to booking your travel. If you wait too long, the price may increase. But there’s also a chance that the travel provider will notice demand being weaker than expected, and the price could also decrease. I find that this is particularly applicable to hotels.
I’ve discovered a tool that might be of interest to readers. It’s available at a website called yapta.com. It’s free to sign up, and it allows you to search for airfares and hotel nights.
Importantly, it allows you to search by Hotel Name and/or Hotel Chain. When you find one or more hotels you might be interested in, you will see a result like this:
Sign up for an account and click on the orange box “Track Price Drops”. By doing this, you will automatically be emailed whenever Yapta finds that the price of your target hotel(s) has dropped. You will also receive a weekly email updating you on all of the hotels you are tracking. You can also log-in at any time, go to “My Trips” and see a nice bar chart showing the progression of the hotel rate over time.
So, what I often do is make a flexible, refundable hotel reservation to protect myself against the rate increasing. Then, whenever Yapta informs me of a rate reduction, I cancel that flexible reservation and make another. I imagine that Yapta partially funds itself through affiliate commissions, but of course I just go directly to the hotel chain website to make my bookings…
Yapta does have a few downsides. Aimed at the US corporate travel market, all prices are given in US dollars. This may result in fluctuations that have nothing to do with the actual local currency rate changing, but rather the USD exchange rate. In addition, their offering of international hotels is incomplete and/or poorly labelled. (for example, limiting the London search of my example to Hilton hotels gives no results, despite there being several in London…) And finally, their prices are provided by an online travel agent, rather than the chain website itself.
But that said, on a recent trip to the United States, I received a couple of emails informing me of a price reduction at a hotel I was planning to stay at. Because I had booked on a refundable basis (Hyatt Elite Rate mostly…) I was able to cancel and rebook at the lower rate. So, that’s real money saved, without having to make any effort to manually check for lower prices.
So, if you have an upcoming trip, particularly to North America, it might be worth checking out yapta.com.