Orbitz unveils new hotel comparison tools

As the meta search market becomes more saturated, online travel agents and booking sites need to up their game plan in an effort to attract more discerning consumers looking for the nitty-gritty before booking.

Online travel agency Orbitz Worldwide Inc. announced plans to roll out a new “hotel search experience” on its site, complete with destination information, maps, tools and resources for travelers looking to book a hotel room with the OTA.

The side-by-side comparison feature allows users to compare the pros and cons of various hotels in a single view. But there are some other cool new features on this search engine including interactive maps that show both the hotel location and real-time room rate pricing, and a Google Street View image of the hotel and its surrounding neighborhood.You can also filter and sort results based on price, star-rating, consumer reviews and amenities. In most cases, hotel photos, videos and virtual tours from will be posted, but according to Orbitz, these photos and videos will only be from verified customers.

I tested out the site with a quick search for a New York City hotel. My parameters:

3- and 4-star properties in SoHo, Tribeca, or Greenwich Village that offer free WiFi. Orbitz returned four results: Soho Grand Hotel, Tribeca Grand Hotel, Hilton Garden Inn Tribeca and the Washington Square Hotel. Not bad options, and when I clicked on the Google map to the left of the page, I was treated to a map of NYC with the four hotels’ placements, as well as the price info.

My only disappointment: I couldn’t find the ‘real’ street view that allows you to see what’s happening near and around the hotel. I think this feature, in particular, will be extremely helpful for travelers who are booking hotels in a new destination, so Orbitz might want to give it more prominent placement.

Have you used the new hotel booking site on Orbitz? Let us know what you think!