DealAngel: How do you tell if the rate given by a hotel is actually decent—i.e., cheaper than the price normally available at the property? DealAngel promises to give travelers a clue. Enter a city and set of dates into the search box, and DealAngel returns a list of hotels and rates, and each rate is rated on a spectrum of “Great Deal” to “Rip-Off,” with “OK Deal” and “Not a Deal” in the middle. The ratings are determined by historic room pricing data and how prices compare with similar properties, with info culled from 30 different booking sites. DealAngel doesn’t claim access to rates that aren’t available elsewhere. It can, however, save travelers time and help eliminate the stress involved when trying to figure out whether a “deal” is, in fact, a deal. So far, the one downside to the site is that it is young, and that the number of hotels and cities it covers is limited compared to the travel heavyweights like Expedia and Priceline.
GuestMob: The “opaque” booking options from Priceline and Hotwire can result in major discounts at hotels. The problem, from some traveler’s perspective, is that they hate the idea of having no clue what hotel they’re staying at until after they’ve paid for their room in an entirely nonrefundable, nonchangeable fashion. GuestMob, which launched in 20 U.S. cities in March, offers a somewhat less opaque alternative. Before a traveler agrees to a price—prices that are 20% to 50% off the best available rates, mind you—he sees a handful of hotels (names, addresses, everything), one of which he’s guaranteed to be booked at. With the traditional opaque model, all a traveler knows before paying up is a star rating and perhaps a rough sense of hotel location. What’s more, rooms booked via GuestMob are refundable and changeable, with no fees whatsoever.