Hotels: Get a lower price when rates drop (by using Yapta)

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Courtesy Choice Hotels
Quality Hotel Real of San Jose, Costa Rica

We were one of the first sites to tell you about Yapta.com, a site that began by letting you track a flight after you buy it. If the fare dips, you could get a refund.

Now let us be one of the first to tell you about Yapta's latest innovation: The site now also tracks rates on 110,000 hotels worldwide using data from Orbitz. It even tracks a hotel you've already booked a room with. Why? Because occasionally rates drop after you book a room—especially during this recession. If you've booked a room directly through a hotel's website, you often have a 24-hour to 48-hour window prior to arrival to cancel and rebook at a lower rate without any charge. That way, you can book in confidence today, knowing that if the rate drops tomorrow or the next day you can rebook to get a lower price. However, if you book using a third-party travel agency like Travelocity, you'll be subject to that agency's rules about cancellations, which typically only give you a grace period of two days after you've booked your room to change your mind.

Of course, Yapta's new hotel-tracking service can also help you decide when to book a hotel room in the first place. Pick the hotel you're interested in booking and then sign up to be automatically alerted when the rate drops. Membership is free. Once you join, plug in your hotels as well as a price threshold (such as, "Only send me alerts if the price drops by at least $20"). The site will do several price searches per day, and as soon as the flight drops to that specified price, you'll receive an e-mail alert.

Trying to pick between two or more hotels? Yapta lets you track as many hotels as you'd like, comparing rate trends side-by-side.

This is the first hotel rate-tracking service that allows you to track changes on a specific hotel. Savvy consumers can use it to make the most of "lowest-rate guaranteed" promises from hotel chains to customers who book rooms directly through hotel websites.

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