What Travel Websites Do People Actually Use?

expedia expedia.com online travel website
Alamy

You probably have your own online travel planning regimen, but are you using the same websites as everyone else?

Tnooz reports on the most popular travel websites last month, listing what online travel agency, lodging and destination, airline and general travel search terms were most popular. Here are some of the winners:
Top 3 online travel agency websites:

  1. Expedia
  2. Priceline.com
  3. CheapOair

Top 3 accommodations websites:

  1. TripAdvisor
  2. Booking.com
  3. Hotels.com

Top 3 airline websites:

  1. Southwest Airlines
  2. Delta Airlines
  3. United Airlines

Top 3 travel search terms:

  1. mapquest
  2. google maps
  3. southwest airlines

You can see the top 10 in each category at Tnooz.

Do these results surprise you?

Find hotel deals with new booking site Guestmob

hotel deals guestmob collectionsThe Internet has brought us many ways to research and book hotels at prices much lower than the hotels’ published rate. Aggregate sites like Kayak and Orbitz give you the best available rate (BAR) without pre-payment on a specific hotel, while “opaque” sites like Priceline and Hotwire allow you to bid for a room below BAR but the actual property remains hidden until after you book and the purchase is non-refundable. Now a new booking site offers you hotel deals well below BAR while ensuring consumers flexibility and a standard of quality.

Guestmob differs from other hotel booking sites by combining high-tech algorithmic pricing and expertly curated properties hand-picked for their high user ratings. The site works by grouping hotels into collections of four to eight properties in a given category and neighborhood. You enter your travel dates and can immediately see a room rate of up to 50% below BAR for each hotel collection. The Thursday before you check in, the exact hotel is revealed but you are guaranteed one of the specific hotels in the collection. Best of all, unlike other opaque booking sites, you can cancel your reservation up to three days before check-in.hotel deals guestmob booking pagePreviously, some savvy travelers have tried to “game the system” with sites like Bidding for Travel, a forum that tries to guess winning bids and participating hotels on opaque sites by sharing successful bookings. Guestmob removes the need for this research by specifying hotels in each collection and immediately offering a deeply discounted price. While room upgrades, frequent guest points and other requests are still at the discretion of the hotel upon check-in, it’s still a great option for travelers with flexibility.

A Guestmob search for a hotel in Chicago on a weekend in mid-May yielded a price of $164 for a 3.5 star hotel on Magnificent Mile (such as a Courtyard or Embassy Suites), or $203 to bump up to a 4 star in the same area such as a W or Westin Hotel. The same properties ranged from $221 to $279 on other sites. Most Guestmob hotels are part of well-known chains such as Marriott or Starwood, or smaller chains like Kimpton and JDV.

Guestmob soft-launched last year in San Francisco and has now expanded to include New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Portland and Phoenix. The site is well connected to social media so you can get help, learn news or give feedback on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You can also chat with them right on the site if you have questions.

25 newly-discovered travel destinations from Wanderfly.com

newly-discovered travel destinationsIf you’ve checked out Wanderfly, the new travel planning and booking service that suggests destinations and activities based on your interests, you know they’ve come up with some unique and untouristy destinations. Now they’ve gone beyond the beaten tourist track with 25 newly-discovered travel destinations. Why just see the Great Wall of China when you could see a whole city full of kittens in China (far greater if you ask us!)?! Fan of Dolly Parton? Thousands go to Dollywood, why not relax on a man-made archipelago in the shape of Dolly and Kenny Rogers at Islands in the Stream in Dubai? Can’t get enough of that rascal Charlie Sheen? Intrepid adventurers can get inside his brain and see what all that tiger’s blood does.

The Wanderfly researchers teamed up with Whim Quarterly to unearth these new places and the best activities to do. The new destinations were chosen for their interactive experiences to give travelers the most authentic experience. “We challenge any traveler to find even a single destination that can compare to these unearthed gems,” says Wanderfly co-founder Christy Liu. “Paris? London? Cleveland? With respect to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they all pale in comparison to such places as ObeCity, Funkytown, and Your Mom’s House.”

For more on these exciting new discoveries, visit Wanderfly.com and click the crazy kitten on the home page and then Get Going. But hurry, some of these destinations may only be available on April 1st.

Wanderfly.com beta invites for Gadling readers


We hate to break it to you, but there’s only a week left in summer. Why not get a jump on planning your fall and winter travel? Wanderfly, the new travel-planning and booking site we reviewed earlier this month has just unveiled a spiffy new beta site and is offering free invites to check it out to the first 500 Gadling readers to sign up.

What’s new and improved on the beta site?

– The search functions have improved: you can search by airport, and within specific countries. You can also modify your preferences as you browse results should you decide you want to add the great outdoors to your beach and culture vacation or want to move your trip forward a month.
-Results are better too, with more accurate recommendations and enhanced destination info, including new photos and Google Maps integration.
– Better communication and sharing with Facebook Connect to see where your friends are and ability to save and email itineraries to friends or to yourself.

Want to start searching for your next trip destination? Sign up for access here with code gadling and let us know what you find in the comments!

Getting the “local rate” – Hotel tip

In many places, hotels offer special lower rates to locals in order to increase occupancy. This is particularly true on last-minute stays or when bookings have been low, and is especially applicable to overseas travel.

If you’re going to a place where you have family or friends, ask them to inquire directly about any special rates or promotions that may be available.

Having them book on your behalf can save you some serious cash.