YONKERS, N.Y. -- Consumer Reports, which in its July issue offers
strategies on finding the best hotel deal, found that it got a
lower price about 75% of the time from the 100 hotels it contacted
directly than it did when comparing their rates on five travel Web
The hitch, however, is that it compared prices it negotiated on
the phone with hotel reservations clerks to the rates it found for
those properties on Expedia, Orbitz, Quikbook.com, Hotels.com and
A Consumer Reports researcher contacted the hotels and surfed
the Web sites about three weeks in advance when looking for room
rates on three-night getaways in New York, Chicago, San Francisco,
New Orleans and Washington.
"We found that about three out of four times, hotels gave a
better deal than the travel Web sites," according to Consumer
Reports' "Guide to a great rate" in its July issue. "When hotels
were cheaper, the difference was impressive -- averaging $83 per
night. When travel sites were cheaper, the average difference was
As part of the article, Consumer Reports also surveyed 35,000
readers and found that while nearly 7 of 10 readers were "very or
completely satisfied" with recent hotel stays, one-third had at
least one complaint.
Among the top complaints were hotels' poor lighting,
unattractive decor and excessive phone charges.
The survey participants picked Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons as
the top "luxury" hotels; Walt Disney Resorts just edged out Embassy
Suites among "upscale" properties; and SpringHill Suites by
Marriott and Homewood Suites by Hilton took top honors in the
"moderately priced" category.
To contact reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to [email protected].