|by Sean O'Neill||Real Deals, Helpful Websites, Hotels||9|
DealAngel is a new website for travelers who want an independent source to vouch for the value of a hotel deal. It promises to tip you off when there's a chance to stay in a four-star hotel at deep savings or see hotels that are surprisingly available for under $100 a night.
DealAngel ranks available hotel deals in major cities as a "Great Deal," a "Good Deal," an "OK Deal," "Not a Deal," or a "Rip-Off" when compared with the hotel's rate history, the going trend for comparable hotels in the neighborhood, and other factors. The site also provides the standard information, such as a star rating and a review-based rating.
If you see something you like, you can click through to buy from one of about 30 booking engines. Recent find: In Dallas, the Warwick Melrose was available in mid-June for $135 a night, after taxes and fees, via booking site Hotel.info.
DealAngel spotlighted the rate, ranking it as one of the best in Dallas for that travel date, calculating that travelers could save $56 off by booking the deal in light of historical rates and the going prices of other comparable hotels in the market. A quick glance showed that the four-star hotel had high user-ratings from travelers (4.5 out of 5 stars from more than 400 reviews) and many promising amenities.
While helpful, DealAngel does have a major drawback: The site is new and doesn't cover enough cities yet, sticking mostly to the largest US destinations. But the company says it will expand to other cities abroad as well as smaller towns in the US.
Another problem: The site partners with some lesser known hotel booking companies, such as Hotel.info. Not all travelers will feel comfortable booking a hotel stay through a site they may not have heard of. But no one says you have to follow through on the booking link. You could use DealAngel's information to see if you can find the same price deal at your favorite travel booking site instead.
Lastly, a word about DealAngel's concept of sorting deals by "value" according to data. It isn't the freshest idea. Bing Travel has had a Rate Indicator for about five years, and year-old Google Hotel Finder lets you sort hotels on a map to find ones that are priced 50 percent below the norm. That said, DealAngel does a much better job than Bing or Google at making it easy to understand its ranking of the best hotel values at a destination. You can easily find your way around the site, grasp what you're seeing, and quickly book a hotel.
All in all, it's nice to see another website try to do the "heavy sifting," so to speak, for travelers.
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