There is already a gamut of travel deals websites, but Bob Diener and David Litman, the principals of Hotels.com, have launched a new site for vacation accommodations, Getaroom.com. I’m intrigued because they offer unpublished rates, meaning you cannot find those prices on other travel deals websites or hotel websites. Some sites such as Priceline offer huge savings, but you have to pay before you find out where you’re staying. Getaroom.com let’s you know where you’ll be staying before you pay, and I think that’s very important.
Pick up the phone
Kate Hall of Getaroom.com tells me that while customers can save up to 50% on accommodations while booking through the site, whose who book via the Dallas-based call center (1-800-HOTELS-8) get even lower rates that are unpublished and exclusive (up to 50% off getaroom.com and other travel websites). I asked Kate why they would do this in a time when so many people want to book online. She said, “Getaroom.com offers the unpublished rates via its call center since the hotels do not want those rates published online and the call center offers the opportunity to build customer loyalty.” Makes sense.
I wanted to know how the site would be useful for 20somethings, so when I asked, Diener, co-founder and President of getaroom.com, responded with this: “Getaroom.com is ideal for travelers in their 20’s. They do not always have a lot of discretionary dollars so it is important for them to get the best rates. Getaroom.com offers travelers the best value for their travel dollars and provides accommodations for as much as 50 percent off the lowest published rates. Getaroom.com also offers alternative lodging options such as condos, condo hotels, apartments, vacation rentals, lofts, and more that can often be better values. ”
Getaroom.com is currently looks pretty plain without many bells and whistles, but I suppose that’s better than being flashy, and it gets the job done. I played around on the site for a while and actually did find some great travel deals, such as a $55 room in Vegas and a $60 room in New Orleans. They also have international properties listed, and I really like that they offer more than just hotels. On the page for each property, they have descriptions, maps, amenities, and photos, and they also let you compare properties. It gives the check-in and check-out times for some of the properties, which is a piece of information I always like to know. You can also get savings on airfare and popular attractions (powered by Travelocity).
Getaroom.com is active on Twitter (@getaroomcom) and have a blog on the site, which shows that they are very Web 2.0 savvy and like interacting with their customers (pretty vital if you want to attract 20-somethings!). They even have exclusive promotions and contests on Twitter. For example, they currently have a contest through Sept. 25 in which if you follow @getaroomcom and Tweet “Enter to win 2 nights in Orlando with getaroom.com! Retweet this and follow @getaroomcom to enter!”, you are entered to win a two-night stay in Orlando.
One downside is that the website only focuses on major and popular cities (even the press release about the site acknowledges this). I searched for a hotel room in an obscure town and received the following message: “Getaroom doesn’t currently service this market. We are taking you to our partner Travelocity for great rates and availability.” At least they are redirecting you to a place where you can find rooms rather than simply telling you there aren’t any available.
What is your favorite travel deals website? Have you used Getaroom.com? What do you think?