Yesterday Expedia announced that they were having a 72 hour sale on hotel bookings in Sydney, ending Thursday 28th at midnight. As somebody who's stayed in his fair share of hotels over the years, I'm always on the look out for room booking bargains. However, I've found myself becoming increasingly sceptical about these generic "Up to X% off on hotel bookings" type sales from Expedia in recent years. This is due to the lack of true competitive value often found once you start looking into their offers in more detail, and lifting the hood on this particular sale was unfortunately no different.
Below I've gone and analysed the first couple of deals that appeared in Expedia's sale list to see whether I was looking at a collection of banging bargains or dud deals.
Clicking onto this deal, I was given a set of selected dates which were the 20th - 23rd of January 2014. During this period a standard double room on Expedia would cost you $384. Meanwhile, Olotels.com has this room going for $336, but even though its in short supply their next price point up on a "Double or Twin" room is still going for cheaper than Expedia at a rate of $342 (saving you $42). Otel.com have the next best offer going at $351.44 for these dates and room type.
On this deal the given dates were the 16th - 18th of December 2013 for a mid week two night stay, which in a standard queen room will cost you $287. Not particularly competitive again though this booking is going for the exact same rate through Booking.com, Hotels.com as well as if you were to book directly through Accor Hotels (the group that owns The Menzies).
The booking dates I was shown for this deal were the same as the Travelodge Hotel Sydney offer above, so 20-23 January 2014. The best value was when choosing to stay in a deluxe twin room, which actually has two double beds and allows for a maximum of three adults, for $462. Once again, I wasn't that surprised to find that it wasn't a particularly good deal as both Hotels.com and HotelTravel.com were charging the exact same rate for this room. However, prices through Agoda.com, Olotels.com and Booking.com will cost you upwards of $525 for the same period.
At this point it became clear that I was probably looking at a group of dud deals and that Expedia's announcement was likely to be yet another example of a "mutton dressed as lamb" sale providing little in the way of true value. That doesn't mean that Expedia doesn't have good offers from time to time, but my advice would be to avoid over spending unecessarily in the future by making a quick assessment of these offers.
To do this, run a few comparative searches using an alternative travel metasearch engine for hotels such as Trivago. Simply pick out the first 3 or 4 deals of the advertised sale you've come across, then input these hotels/dates into Trivago and see what rates are returned from other hotel booking websites for the same offers. You'll immediately be able to get a clear sense of whether the advertised prices from the sale are any good or not. Good luck in your search for banging bargains and don't forget to share your findings here with us!