Flash sales, mystery sales offer new way to save on hotels


MONEY-SAVING MOMENT: There’s a significant change in how you save money on travel and I want to make sure you’re in on the savings.

We’re in a situation where Priceline and Hotwire have hit critical mass in the marketplace and they’re pinching more traditional competitors, especially in the hotel category. As a result, more websites are experimenting with their version of what are now being called “flash sales” or “mystery sales.”

An example of a mystery sale is a site I’ve talked about previously called QuikBook.com. QuikBook started principally to offer small businesses and individuals access to corporate-type rates on hotel bookings. They’re a big player in a handful of markets, including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Boston, Miami and Orlando.

With QuikBook, they tell you the level of hotel (similar to a star rating) and the price. After you book, just like Hotwire, then they tell you where you’re staying…and you’re stuck with that booking because it’s non-refundable.

Another site I like is SniqueAway.com, a free invite-only site that gives you access to private sales on a rotating cycle. When you’re on their site, you simply go to a calendar for the property you’re interested in. As you mouse over dates on the calendar, the site tells you a price range for the night you’re hovering over.

Not to be outdone, there are still others are getting into the action with packages or special deals. Even a site like Overstock.com is getting into travel as it looks for ways to expand.

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