travel “deals”

Posted by susan on March 2nd, 2009. Filed under: travel tips.

I am getting anxious to take a trip, and the fact that Boston was hit with yet another snow storm yesterday and today, has me even more motivated. I have an unfortunate update on Stockholm but also some hopeful news about another weekend getaway with my girlfriends.

My friend Bryce was able to reach a human at Malaysia Airlines and it turns out that with taxes and fees, the price to fly to Stockholm from Newark round trip is actually about $600 instead of $209 – I knew that the actual price would be more after factoring in taxes and fees, but really? The taxes and fees are double the price of the ticket!

The truth is, I think $600 round trip is actually a pretty good deal. But, I think they made a big mistake not alluding to how much the price would jump. You see, $209 ropes in a person (me) that has no intentions of getting on a plane due to financial reasons, but then thinks – hey maybe at that price, I will. While I think that $600 is fair, I had no intentions of flying during the designated promotion time, and therefore I will not take the opportunity because I have no business spending that kind of money right now.

If Malaysia Airlines had made the real price a bit more more clear (the price of the actual ticket tripled!), they could have roped in the correct audience. Namely, the kind of person that might think about paying almost a grand to fly, and a drop to $600 would push them over the edge to actually go through with it. But alas, they didn’t. And now I’m upset that I’m not going to Stockholm.

This experience has reminded me of how difficult it is to get to the bottom of travel deals. I wish it could be like going to the grocery store, you pick up the coupon book, walk through the aisles grabbing the items that are on sale, and then you leave, having saved.

Coincidentally, I was recently introduced to a new site that is aiming to become the ultimate database for hotel deals and discounts, sorting through the clutter of hidden fees and false timelines of travel, for you. This web site is DealBase.com. In addition to just listing travel deals, they also aim pull them apart, comparing the special offer to regular prices, which keeps you informed of what you are actually saving.

At this point I have only had a chance to poke around a bit.

Since the next suspect city for a girlfriend getaway is Montreal, I decided to see what DealBase.com could find there. But first, I thought I would match it up with another promotion I came across at the Boston Globe Travel Show. This winter/spring, participating hotels in Montreal are offering the first night stay for $127/$110 and the second night for 1/2 price. These deals can be found at MontrealSweetDeal.com.

On DealBase.com, I did a search for hotels in Montreal and it did pull up the following promotion: Better Tomorrows™ – Stay One Night and the Next is 50% Off deal and according to DealBase.com’s very cool Deal Analyzer, this deal saves you $9.42/night (11%). However, I am not certain that this is related to the deal I found on MontrealSweetDeal.com and I could not find many of the other hotels participating.

From what I can gather, DealBase.com pulls deals that you wouldn’t have otherwise known about and then dissects them for you – which is great. But, when it came to searching for a specific “deal” that I uncovered on my own, it was difficult find and sort out.

That being said, DealBase.com is very new and it already boasts some pretty great press, including the New York Times and World Hum, (the PR girl in me can’t help but be impressed). But, what has impressed me the most is their eagerness to take in as much constructive feedback as possible to make it the best site it can be, as noted in the comment section of  Reviews by Minnemom’s review of the site.

DealBase.com is also on Twitter, I know who isn’t these days, but I think anyone that makes themselves available in this way, is also making the gesture that their ears are open – it  makes them more personal and tangible.

Have you tried DealBase.com? And, do you have a tip for spotting deal fraud from a mile away?

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