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In case you missed it on the blog, I wrote about a new hotel booking engine that’s offering free memberships, Club1Hotels. They truly offer lower rates than other channels out there, including Expedia and the hotel’s website.
They plan to start charging for memberships at the beginning of November, but you still have the chance to sign up for a free 1-year beta membership until then. It’s free, so there’s really no reason not to take a couple of minutes and complete the membership process.
They’ve set up a page where folks can register for a free 1-year Beta membership. They currently sell membership for $675, but you can sign up with no credit card on file for the first year for free.
I took a few snapshots of the registration process:
Fill in name, e-mail address and confirm you’re not a robot. Click submit and the system will take you to a page where you can key in the rest of your information.
IMPORTANT: Choose “-E- Beta Explorer”
Once you have confirmation that your account has been created, click on Members Login at the top of the page.
Fill in your e-mail and password in the “Agent Login” panel and click Login. That will take you to the main search page:
It’s pretty similar to other OTA interfaces I’ve used. There were a few things I liked right off the bat:
- Ability to put in a general hotel name (Hyatt, for example) in the Hotel Name field, narrowing the search to all Hyatt hotels in an area.
- A button to show me Available Hotels Only. Big annoyance for me from other OTAs.
- Ability to select what quality property I’m looking for. I rarely stay at a 1-star hotel, so I prefer not to see those sorts of listings in major cities.
I’m frequently skeptical of the “next best booking engine” when it comes to websites that offer better/cheaper rates. As a general rule, the OTA (online travel agency) market has streamlined over the years, so there isn’t a ton of difference in rates.
When I’m approached with offers like this to feature for readers, I want to know what the underlying business model is. I’m an investor in my “day job”, so I evaluate whether things are likely to succeed or fail on a daily basis. The business model is right up the alley with one of my all-time favorite retail stores. To me, this is the “Costco of OTAs”. They plan to pass on wholesale booking rates to customers and charge a membership fee, similar to Costco.
I have no way to verify if these are actually wholesale rates, but my initial searches saw plenty of savings. I spent a couple of hours plugging away on the site and almost always found that Club1Hotel’s rates were the lowest. I took a look at rooms in NYC, Miami and Denver for a random weekend for purposes of this comparison.
In Denver,for a one-night stay on the weekend in October, the Hyatt website listed the Hyatt Regency Denver Convention Center at $339:
That’s the same price Expedia had it for:
But, Club1Hotels had it for $305.26:
In Miami, I checked on the Confidante, a hotel Hyatt recently added to the Unbound collection:
They featured it for $306. Club1Hotels had it for $181. That’s just stunning:
In NYC (and definitely out of my price range), Hyatt showed the Park Hyatt NYC for $1100 a night:
Club1Hotels was $740:
They weren’t all cheaper. I did find rates at the Hyatt Place Laguardia were higher on Club1Hotels than on Hyatt’s website for my member rate. But, those sorts of finds were few and far between.
Everything Is Perfect, Right? Sunshine and Roses!
Well, no. For those looking to get elite credit and benefits, these rates appear to perform like those from other OTAs. While there will be some degree of YMMV (your mileage may vary, for those who don’t like acronyms), you won’t get elite credit booking through this channel for the major chains.
You should get elite benefits at Hyatt and Marriott, meaning access to club lounges, etc. And, in many cases the cost savings here far outweigh the elite benefits/credit you receive.
I’m still clarifying information on the other benefits the membership contains:
- Access to over 900 airport lounges worldwide
- Unpublished rates with United Airlines and American Airlines
- Up to 40% off international first & business class airfare.
- Concierge service
As soon as I have tested these features I’ll provide a write-up on the value of the membership overall.
The post Win $250 In Free Hotel Cash & Save Money On Hotel Bookings was published first on Pizza in Motion