The world is a busy place full of “hacks” and deals all promising to save you time and money. At any given moment, it seems like you’re missing out on saving about $200 in lost coupons, not-yet-canceled subscriptions, and forgotten punch cards. This consumer-centric world rewards the hustler, the deal-finder, and the negotiator, while the rest of us settle quietly, accepting that we’re paying a little more than we should, but unwilling to put in the time or the effort to make it right.
Travel is this to the extreme. There seem like thousands of different booking sites all promising to have the best deal. There are best practices for finding the right price, certain days to book and to travel, membership programs to join, etc… It’s all a lot to keep track of! In the sea of options and advertising, how do you ever really know that you’re making the right choice?
That’s why we’re here: to fill you in on the hotel industry’s best-kept secret. One easy-to-remember travel must: Roomkey. There’s a reason why we’re an industry favorite, and we’re pretty sure you won’t want to keep this secret to yourself.
1. Roomkey Shows You Lower Rates
There’s a thing in the hotel industry called “rate parity.” We wrote a whole article about it if you want a full explanation, but basically, it means that hotels and online travel agencies (OTAs) like Expedia and Booking.com are obligated to sell the same publically available rates. This keeps them from constantly undercutting each other’s prices. This also means that no matter where you look, you’ll see the same rate. However, there is a loophole, and that’s loyalty rates.
Members of hotel loyalty programs are the only ones who have access to a rate lower than the publicly available rate—lower than the rate that others are allowed to offer. TL;DR, loyalty rates are the secret to getting the lowest hotel rates out there. OTAs advertise all kinds of deals and promotions to get your attention, but Roomkey is the only travel site that lets you search and compare discounted loyalty rates from multiple hotel partners.
2. Roomkey Is a One-Stop-Shop
Loyalty prices will always be available on hotel websites, but few of us have the patience to go to a hotel website, plug in “Miami, 6/12-6/16, 2 adults,” and repeat that process seven or eight or 97 times. Roomkey circumvents all that extra work and shows you all your hotel options in the same place. At a glance, you’ll see what’s available and at what cost.
If you still want to check OTA sites to compare, we’ll help you do that too. We’ll look out for lower rates while you’re browsing for hotels on our competitors’ sites. Scout, our free browser extension, works in the background and compares rates it sees on sites like Travelocity or Priceline with the rates you could get if you booked directly with the hotel using those lower loyalty rates. When it finds a better rate than the one you’re looking at, Scout lets you know and will direct you straight to the hotel to complete your booking.
3. Roomkey’s Search Is Gimmick-Free
Roomkey is different than many OTA sites because we don’t rig our search results based on commissions or other unknown factors. OTAs are known to have shady search practices. Instead of showing you the lowest-priced hotel or the one that’s best for your trip, they show you options that make them the most money first. Unless you’re scrolling through five or six pages of search results, you might miss out on the place that would be perfect for your vacation.
Roomkey lets you avoid all that manipulation and shows you what’s best for you first. You can search on a map, by brand, by price, or by amenities. You can see only hotels with pools, or gyms, or free breakfast, and narrow it down in whatever way makes sense for you. This makes it easy to find options that tick all your travel boxes, are in the right locations, and are in a price range you’re comfortable with.
Better yet, when you find the hotel you want, you can set up a price alert, and we’ll email you when the price drops for your chosen stay dates. This way you can choose to book when the rates are at their lowest and save even more money on your hotel stay.
4. Booking with Roomkey Is Booking Direct
One of the best-kept secrets of traveling isn’t actually a secret at all—it’s probably something your parents and grandparents are doing without a second thought. Growing up in the digital age, the younger generations have grown to rely on technology. If given the option, we’ll often choose to order food through an app instead of picking up the phone to call a restaurant. Technology’s shortcuts can make life easier, but not always better.
Booking your hotel reservations directly with the hotel rather than through a popular third-party travel site not only saves you money by getting you loyalty member prices, it also guarantees you a level of service and hospitality that third parties can’t guarantee. When you book through a third party, you have less control over your reservation. The site might pass your information on to the hotel, or it might get lost in cyberspace.
All this gray area means that you might not end up in the hotel room you paid for. Your request for a first-floor room might not have been passed on, or worse, you might not even have a room reserved at all (it’s happened!). But when you book directly with the hotel, none of this is a problem. They know exactly what to expect and so do you.
Roomkey is a hotel search site, not a third party booking site. Once you find the hotel you want, we send you to the hotel’s website itself to complete your booking. This way, there won’t be any lost reservations, and you probably got a sweet deal with it too.
So now that you’re in on the secret, visit roomkey.com to start booking hotels they way you should have been all along. You’ll find easy-to-navigate search results and all the information you need, presented in a way that makes sense. No gimmicks. No tricks. Just travel. At Roomkey, we get straight to the truth, so you can get straight to your travel.