HotelEngine asked me to ask you…and they’re offering $200!

This is different and awesome.

I love it when brands pay attention to what their customers say, like, and want. This is such a good example of a brand that is doing all of the above: a brand that really wants to meet its customers needs and exceed their expectations.

Plus, these are great odds for winning a $200 giveaway. 

Kudos to HotelEngine.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about the new hotel booking site HotelEngine. In the post, I talked about why I was looking forward to using HotelEngine for future bookings at boutique hotels, hotels where I didn’t have status, or hotels where it seemed like there wasn’t a deal to be had.

There were a few comments on the post from people debating if HotelEngine really offered the best deal, plus one commenter who went into great detail about how to stack savings at chain hotels by using a combination of factors.

I appreciated the back-and-forth, because I think that’s how we learn in the points and miles community.

Apparently, HotelEngine appreciated it as well…so much that they want to hear more!

How can HotelEngine become your go-to booking site? They really want to know.

HotelEngine wants to hear your thoughts and ideas on how to make their hotel booking program the best one out there.

After my post, they reached out to me to see if I would ask my readers how they could achieve this goal. They are serious about hearing what you think would make their site the best hotel booking site ever, so if you’ve got any innovative or unique ideas, now is your chance to share. If you haven’t already seen their site, take a look, browse around, and then tell them what you think.

Note that you can currently apply a $25 referral code to your first booking. (If you do not use a referral link, the credit is only $5). You can also refer friends once you sign up, so you can earn referral credits as well.

If you leave a comment below, you will be entered into a drawing to win a $200 voucher from HotelEngine.

Please make sure that your comment is thoughtful and genuine – let’s give them some good feedback!

The deadline to enter this contest is at 11:59 pm on Wednesday, October 15, 2014. One winner will be chosen at random.

Good luck!


  1. Dave Golden says

    Ultimately the thing that I look for when using a hotel booking site is “How much can I save?” There are so many out there but even if I use one to look at features, I’ll go to the one that has the lowest rate. Also cashback, stackable offers, etc. Contests like this one and support of great blog writers that save us money is also a great thing. It shows me that HotelEngine lets their customers (or future customers) choose how the service will work. Being “invested” in this service makes me feel a part of it. My answers might be obvious, but they are honest. I don’t care if one site has more images or ways to search. I’m looking for the most I can get at the lowest price. Even if it requires a little bit more work.

    With the referral you provide, that certainly puts HotelEngine over the top and I plan to sign up later to look for a weekend get-away. Thank you and best of luck to you!

  2. This post came at the perfect time! Looking for a room for one night in Nashville and wanting a good deal (naturally…). I just tried the HotelEngine and have to say I love the idea of a “Walk Score”! Since I’m going there for a concert, it’s helpful to know this information. The site seems quite use-friendly and I will be bookmarking this for future reference! It has everything I look for on hotel booking sites (and more)…

  3. are they cheaper than other sites? (expedia, and do they have a rewards program that is actually rewarding (unlike expedia)? Then I’d switch in a heartbeat.
    I would also enjoy getting $200 from them and would gladly switch to them for that.

  4. Offering rates that can be cancelled at least until 24 hours before check-in as well as rates that are eligible to earn some hotel rewards (or at least elite night credits).

  5. Street view on the hotels details page is is not very useful as it only from one point of view. Having street view on map of results would be great.

  6. Matthew Brinkley says

    Here are my thoughts. The first two are the most important to me, but the others move the dial as well:

    1. Wide variety of hotels. For example, when I do a search of hotels of Helen, GA (a faux Bavarian village in north Georgia) for a selected date in October, only about 3 hotels showed up, when I know there are about 12 in the area. Major brands like the Hampton Inn, Country Inn, Super 8, etc., are missing. There were no hotels listed for a search in Salzburg, Austria. For me to make it my “go to site” for hotel bookings, I really need wider variety.
    2. Lowest price. The site should advertise at least the “best available rate” on the hotel’s on site. If I’m going to pay a premium over the lowest available price, I might as well book on the hotel’s on site to get the points. For example, I did a search for hotels for Columbus, GA on a random date, and the hotels on Hotel Engine were generally more expensive than (e.g., the Hampton Inn & Suites Phenix City-Columbus was $10 more a night).
    3. Extra benefits. Not a must at all, but it would be a major plus if the booking site offered a rate with “extra benefits” like free breakfast, free parking or something over and above what you get typically on the hotel website. Sort of like the Virtuoso program.
    4. Reward Program. A reward program is not a must for me, but certainly a nice to have. Sort of like Welcome Rewards (from I’m liking HotelEngine’s 5%/10% back program.
    5. Pay in Full Requirement. I prefer not to have to prepay for a hotel in full, but it appears you must with Hotel Engine unless enrolled in Hotel Engine for Business (based on the FAQ).
    6. Cancellation. It looks like (again, based on the FAQs) you have to call or email Hotel Engine if you need to cancel a reservation, which is a bit inconvenient. It would be nice if you could simply cancel online.

  7. Price is what counts to me, and wide selection of hotels.

  8. Price is always my bottom line….but that is also linked to customer service. I’m willing to pay a little more for customer service that’s more available.

  9. Are the rates the lowest? That’s the main thing I look for. That being said, I am not always willing to spend a long time searching for the lowest rate. If I find a site seems to pretty consistently have good rates, I will stick with them when I don’t have a lot of time. Like another comment mentioned, the walkable score is pretty neat. I searched on hotels in the city I live in and the walkable score seems pretty accurate. I also liked the bit of trivia on the home screen. I will definitely try Hotel Engine next time I need to book.

  10. Focus on price and location.

  11. Show a comparison price to other websites to confirm best price. That way we don’t have to shop around.

  12. Customized hotel searches where the hotel engine can recommend the best hotels to a client that does not want to start looking around in the internet for hotel information.

  13. I searched for Salzburg, Austria and Munich, Germany and came up empty. They do not service those two cities.

  14. How can HotelEngine become my go to booking site?
    -great rates at properties I want to stay at
    -not too much advertising
    -good smartphone app

  15. fahad anju, says

    What matters to me is price + shouldnt be any hidden charges for the site .

  16. Offer hotel rewards. I love booking with travelpony as they often add % off discounts on top of regular discounts, but I hate how I don’t earn any points for hotels.

  17. These are the things I want to see in a hotel booking engine:
    competitive rates, elite status recognition guarantee, points earning at the hotel, and some sort of booking engine loyalty program

    Yeah, that would be the best of all the worlds 🙂

  18. I’m looking for a good price, but also lots of hotels from which to choose. Location sometimes matters more than price, especially if it’s for a vacation stay.

  19. I am not one to ever book a hotel that requires prepayment AND noncancelation permitted, so I need to be able to cancel in order to use a site. Also, I want the site to be user friendly, booking, changing and cancelling online – not by email or phone. Also, the price needs to be “best guaranteed”. I really appreciate little incentives that push me to use a certain site. For instance, a free breakfast or parking or internet. The latter would “cost” the property little while the former would be a generous incentive. I think many people will agree with me that charging for internet is a real offense for a hotel to make. Correcting that with a certain website would possibly drive alot of people to using it over the competition. Perhaps this website could become the exclusive purveyor of that perk?

  20. While I usually go for price, I always check the terms and conditions carefully. I used Hotel Engine to check the rate for a weekend night at a local Hilton Garden Inn in Michigan. It shows the same rate as but requires a 3 day advance cancellation while if booked thru, you can cancel until 6pm the day of arrival. So in this case, I found no benefit of booking thru Hotel Engine.

    I don’t care for the advanced payment on Hotel Engine when Hilton does not require it.

    I also travel internationally a lot so I need a booking engine to include destinations in Europe and Asia.

    I really love the Walk Score!

  21. I always have 2 goals in mind when I am booking a hotel–the best deal for tonight and building some savings for the future. When I am booking a hotel, I want to see all the hotels in an area and I want to see the lowest prices. I love to see the non-standard hotels (B&Bs, condos, homes). Customer reviews are very important to me, even more so when I am looking at non-standard accommodations. Ideally, I want to get my hotel points. If I have to forgo these, I would like some other points, discounts or cash-back program.

  22. When I’m choosing a hotel I want the most bang for my buck. I’ll pay a little more for a room if I know it’s close to public transit, in a walkable neighbourhood, provides breakfast, has a free airport shuttle, etc. Making it easy to find all the info would be great. Maybe a ranking by agony (like Hipmunk) could be interesting.

    I also hate having to prepay for the full hotel stay unless there’s a flexible cancellation policy.

  23. I did book once on Hotel Engine already, using a referral link and have referred a friend also, who is planning to book. I liked the easily navigable website and the reasonable prices. IOne thing that is very important to me, that Hotel Engine does not offer yet is a way to easily cancel the reservation online! I booked a refundable room, but was nervous (to the point of almost not proceeding with the reservation) when I saw that I needed to call HotelEngine customer service in order to cancel. So my feedback is – please offer online cancellations!

  24. What counts in my book is value not necessarily price. Getting the best price with like for like rooms is obviously important but getting a good deal on a higher end hotel with added value (location, amenities, etc) counts more if the situation calls for it. Variety/choice is also important.

  25. eponymous coward says

    Not having to prepay for hotels is a big reason why I will stay away from booking engines, so removing that impediment is a good way to get my interest.

  26. Besides lowest price, I’d like to see some special perks thrown in or if a hotel booking site could guarantee me the points I would normally earn at a chain hotel, I would be interested.

  27. 1 prepay is not suitable for my travel
    2 I would like to search for non smoking hotels
    3 I would like to search for special rates such as aarp, aaa, corp code to compare with default rate

  28. Robin Lance says

    Some main things are never going to change… we all want to feel that we got a good deal, so price is the biggest factor.

    After that, my choice in booking sites becomes ease of information and workability. Does it have a great search tool that will allow me to filter in various fashions? Does it work with my smartphone app? Does it allow me to “stack” my deals by getting points using the credit card that I prefer? If so, then I’ll use that site.

    I really like the idea of the hotels having a “walk factor” but one search filter that I’ve never seen (that I think would be useful) is the ability to search anything BUT; i.e. show me hotels with pools that are great for kids BUT NOT Holiday Inns. I find myself having to fight this scenario on quite a few sites… I can’t get rid of what I’m sure I DON’T WANT without getting rid of all the results that I DO WANT.

    Fix that and I’ll use your site… absolutely!

  29. I want to be able to check out the prices on a particular brand, not just have every available hotel room show up. With some hotel chains in certain cities, I don’t care of the price is the lowest, I won’t stay there; thus, I prefer to check out just the hotels I would consider.

  30. Here is the closing sale paradigm in retail that I have a problem with in all industries, hotel booking sites included. I don’t need to know that I saved 100s of dollars when we all know what a hotel is worth. For example, when I go to look at hotel prices, I know a 4 star will rarely, if ever, dip below 80 or rise above 300. So there is no need to say that it was 275 for a midweek price when it is simply a sales tactic. It’s like what you see at Bothers me like crazy. I’m not a naive consumer like most of you. With certain sites, I think it’s best to simply say, this is the best rate and instead of raising your prices, keep it simple. Something where the pricing model doesn’t vary so widely. But then again, that is rethinking the model. Either way, keeping it clear and simple is best. I can read between the lines. It deters me when I see myself being given a deal and being told this is best around, when clearly the market is parity-driven.

  31. I like to stick with certain chains – for the points, of course! – so I like the ability to sort by brand. I don’t like to prepay and I need flexibility when canceling.

  32. Abhishek D says

    Have a loyalty program that is flexible when it comes to redemptions.

  33. The name says it all. HotelEngine! A search engine for hotels, all hotels. Not just the one they offer. Price beat! Real discounts over other sites. One that will also notify you if a hotel opens up when it wasn’t available before. And what others had mentioned.

  34. It comes down to savings and rewards. I’m most likely to book a hotel that I can get rewards with and maintain status using the hotel’s website HOWEVER if HotelEngine offers a cheaper price than I can get even with rewards (or if HotelEngine also offered rewards), I would definitely reconsider where I book my hotel. This of course does not mean I want to stay in cheap hotels or cheap rooms, I still want the most for my money though.

  35. What can I add, it has all been said in the comments above. Obviously, price is on almost everyone’s list.

  36. I use a 3rd party site when there are no big hotel chains in the area where I am traveling. What I am looking for when booking are realistic photos (not ones uber-photoshopped from the hotel), a good price, and some extra incentive to stay at that hotel (spa credits or hotel credits).

  37. I would use the site if it really offers the best deal. If the price is significantly better, it would not matter to me whether the stay counts for elite status / credit or not.

  38. The things I look for in hotel booking site are price, ease of booking chances online, refundability before 24hrs. and ability to recognize elite status or earn status. I will pay more from hotel directly if I get elite status earnings or recognition.

  39. paula hamblen says

    The walk score is an excellent feature

  40. What matters to me?
    1) Selection – sometimes I’m looking for a major brand; sometimes in the mood for a boutique or B & B.
    2) Cancelation policy – plans change. How flexible is this reservation?
    3) Prepay – see cancellation.

  41. Carol Hammonds says

    I really like the look of the site. It has everything I need. I especially like the large pictures, the walk score it great, the reviews, the map. And I especially like the 10% cash back part although I wanted to read more about the benefits of signing up and I couldn’t really find those. Great site. I’m heading out on a road trip in a few weeks and $200 hotel gc would be a great help!

  42. I always focus on price, ability to earn points & location

  43. I am always looking for a bargain because this girl was not born into money:) so I will use 3rd party sites or my points which currently is running low. I could use this 200 bucks towards a hotel when I go see a live taping of Big Bang Theory nov 11!!

  44. Complete hotel facility descriptions are important to me. As a solo traveler with mobility issues, it’s vital I can easily sort search results for properties with elevators, shuttle service if at airport, close proximity to public transportation, etc. There have been instances I have narrowed my choices on one booking site and had to check numerous additional sites (hotel’s website, Trip Advisor, AND other OTAs) for such information. It’s been a regular PITA problem I run into, especially for overseas travel in countries with lower accessibility standards.

  45. I travel for business and when it comes to hotels we are always looking at location and price. Sometimes we travel 20 miles outside of our client area just to get a better price (were talking saving $100+ a night). I normally spend a few minutes searching for the best deal, but time is money so after about 5 minutes i go with the best deal I found.

  46. I would like to see them expanding their business to international hotels also

  47. My first impression of their website: looks like travelpony with a lot more chic!

  48. Not too much to add, but noticed no one compared Hotel Engine to What I strongly dislike about that could be improved and promoted as better on hotel engine is the fact that you can either use a coupon code OR gain credits in their loyalty program. This means that you can never do better than 10% off. I think this is a poor policy and an unappealing value proposition. Stackable promotions makes me feel like I’m getting a deal.

  49. Ahhh, I forgot to add to my comment that I searched an upcoming 3-night stay in Monterey, CA and Hotel Engine’s rates are double the hotel site’s rates, $139/nt vs $71/nt.

  50. A good phone app always helps.. as well at prompt customer service.

  51. Price and location, in that order

  52. Never heard of HotelEngine, it seems like there is a growing supply of different companies and apps that are trying to get people to book through them. I’ll look at them during my next trip to see how they stack up. regardless, $200 off is a pretty good deal no matter who you go through!

  53. I am mostly concerned with hotels recognizing bookings through third-party sites as being inferior to reservations booked through their own website – that is what makes me most nervous.

  54. I really like to see aggregated reviews from around the web. I often go to a number of different sites to see all of the different things that people have to say about a hotel. It would be great if they collected reviews all in one place, maybe ran some algorithm that categorized them by certain keywords (“breakfast”, “parking”, “pool”, etc.) so you can see what a bunch of people said about certain features of the hotel.

  55. A lower price firstly, but if they can offer some benefit that would make me book through them versus a hotel where I might have status, like offers to book into a higher class room at a regular price after 5 bookings through their site might make it worth looking into.

  56. Jacob Neville says

    For me design is really important. I want to get a feel for the hotel from where I book it. does a good job but it’s not as well organized. Finding a way to present pictures and peer reviews in a pleasant way is a great way to edge your competitors

  57. Great site but an awesome feature would be when in map view with all the blue dots on the map, if you leave a bit of space to include a small column for a ‘mini-list view’ and when you hover over each hotel in the column list, that you can re-order by price or ratings, etc. the hotel your mouse arrow is hovering over or selecting from the list will cause that specific blue dot on the map to turn a different brighter color so you not only are simultaneously searching on a map for distance/location but also in order of hotels that which is most important to you be it price or the ratings of the hotel.

  58. Price is the primary consideration. Cancellation policy is important, also.

  59. Price is most important like others have said. Cancellation policy and rewards are also key.

  60. A straightforward and practical loyalty program (both in terms of earning and burning) would make me consider using an OTA vs booking directly on a hotel’s website.

  61. My first exposure to HotelEngine. Did a simple search on a LAs Vegas trip I’ve already booked, and sure enough, they have a mighty fine deal available. I’ve already got bookmarked. thanks

  62. Make sure that Kipton are in your search engine

  63. For me the things that are imp’t are (not in any particular order): price (incl discount rates such as AAA. Also – absolutely must be better deal than what hotel offers directly if I’m going to use the booking tool vs going straight to hotel site), # of stars the hotel has (want to be able to view 3-4 stars only), comprehensive list of hotels in area – not just select few, ability to select/confirm king or double beds, trip advisor review ratings would be great, offers hotel rewards (or if not, booking tool rewards which I can use towards future reservations), pre-pay is ok if cancelation is an option.

  64. MARTIN HENNER says

    wow, what good comments

  65. I mainly stay in hotels when traveling internationally. I’d like to see options outside of the US.

  66. I went to the website and seems pretty user friendly. The reason I tend to avoid 3rd party booking sites however, is because you usually dont get the points, credits for status, or use of your status. I signed up using your link so I have that 25 credit and will definitely give it a try.

  67. Price is my #1 priority.

  68. boshappyflyer says

    There are 3 main criteria for me in order to try out a new booking engine:

    1. Reliability and reputation. I currently book exclusively through Expedia (hotels and travel activities) I have had great experience with them (not just booking but customer service too) so I trust them. I would want to read some reviews from others that this is a reputable company that offers value and service.

    2. Price. No reason to book elsewhere unless there is exceptional value.

    3. Cancellation — I need this flexibility.

  69. Well, I tried to book a room last month but encountered problems as the site showed that my credit card was rejected. I changed cards but the problem persisted… I called the customer service repeatedly but no one picked up. After an hour or so, I gave up but later, I received an email confirmation that my reservation was successful after all. My stay was fine. Teething problem? It would definitely help that someone actually would pick up the phone when I called as I was worried that my credit card might be compromised….

  70. I already use alot of other sites but I would definitely try this one out as the interface seems more friendly.

  71. if they showed the cheapest rate available across a calendar of days for a specific hotel, i would use this site ALL the time…

  72. Price is of course important. But the site can differentiate with special package offers that travelers really care about. Also the best and personalized customer service. That would be a win over most booking sites.

  73. I like travel websites that allow me to look at hotels best on Award Program preference. So in my case, I like to be able to see all of the SPG hotels in one list and compare prices/locations/amenities that way.

  74. allow me to break out specific chains/brands from within my search results, and get the hotels to offer fully pre-paid and cancellable rate options on your site. Cancellable can be hard to find on third party sites sometimes, which I need at times for biz trips.

  75. Price is always the main factor for me. Maybe if they do more promos and discounts.

  76. I would want to see the resort fees upfront along with the cost of the room.

  77. I really like it when I can enter multiple coupon codes and when I can actually book the room. It is a bit annoying when you just get to the hotel and just have to get your credit card out again.

  78. This website seems pretty user-friendly, which is always a good thing!

  79. sean chang says

    look forward to trying out this hotel engine site!

  80. Of course, competitive pricing tops the list. At a minimum, the property’s best available rate should always be shown, along with any discounts offered to the vendor.
    Choice is a close second; the walk score helps with that when you are presented with a number of properties to choose from.
    Flexibility in booking is a solid number three, as I want to be given the opportunity, even if at a different rate, to avoid prepayment for a hotel, even if it can be cancelled with little or no penalty…plans change, the engine has to offer that flexibility and I don’t want to fight over a refund or a cancellation.

  81. Id be more inclined if they offered as an option something along the lines of what Pointshound does….double up rates which does include all your elite benefits plus stay credit.

  82. With the loss of DoubleUp rates at PointsHound, the only thing left is really the price. So in order to provide actual feedback, I used your referral link and checked prices for an upcoming stay. Same sorts of hotels you might see on RocketMiles–e.g. no Sheraton, Hyatt, Hilton etc at any of the lower price-points, mostly all unaffiliated or lower-end hotels (Best Western was probably the only obvious chain). And the price I checked for one hotel was identical to that at RocketMiles, $160/night. With RocketMiles you’d get 1,000 miles for your trouble, worth maybe $15 or $20 depending how you value those miles. With HotelEngine you’d get $8 back in cash. For me, I’d take the $15 or $20 but hey, YMMV. Also with RocketMiles I’d be forced to pay crazy rates while with HotelEngine I can use the Corporate Rate I’m entitled to AND get credit for the nights/stays booked with the hotel’s loyalty program if it happens I can book a chain hotel via them for the same price. I’ll certainly take a look in the future, especially given the $25 credit.

  83. The website layout is so generic of all those new hotel or groupon’ish website that it’s not appealing. They need to have a theme for the site that says “hotel engine”. Just by looking at the layout , ppl know its them. Just like branding. Second, filtering should be allowed before initial location search. I hate websites where i search then apply filters after. Why do that? Have filtering at initial search and after.

  84. Honestly, it’s the price. If I can get a lower price or feel like I will at least get different results than the popular search engines, I will take my time to look at HotelEngine.

  85. i have only considered using a third party if i don’t have or don’t intend to have status with that hotel. but overall i think price is definitely the key here

  86. A combination of price and location are usually the deciding factors for me. I like that HotelEngine has reviews that are easily accessible, and that the results can be sorted by distance and other criteria.

    Thanks for the heads-up on HotelEngine — I will definitely try if for an upcoming hotel stay!

  87. Continue to expand in terms of locations served and properties at each location.

  88. Having the cancellation policy be very transparent while searching is important to me. I want to have the opportunity to cancel or change my reservation very close in, so more often than not I’ll do a preliminary search on a search engine and end up booking a AAA rate on the hotel brand website.

  89. Price. If you can offer the lowest price, I’m generally in. Sometimes Priceline Name Your Own price can’t be beat and sometimes I have points, or a promo is going. But price drives me.

  90. create option to manually adjust search radius from desired location/address

  91. It will become my go to booking site if:
    1) they offer deals like rebates and the lowest price for the hotels
    2) points that I can use for future stays.

    Basically anything that can make the prices cheaper and worth the more points/miles on.

  92. Price, earning points and reviews are key in determining hotel with all being equal to me

  93. Having a diverse variety of properties is very important, but they must have the lowest advertised rate on the internet to get my business (or at least matching it)

  94. The main thing that I am looking for when booking a hotel is the bext price in a nice hotel, which is near the major tourist sites in the city we are visiting. Helpful info about local transport is always important as well

  95. Price and location and choices are key to me

  96. Have read most of the replies. As a retired hotelier, it is disappointing to see the bogus reviews on all of the major booking sites. We just spent two week in the UK and stayed at a couple of 5 star rated properties that did not deserve 2 stars. The other issue is that prior to our retirement, the vast majority of enquiries were only concerned with price! Travellers seem to want a 5 star room for a 2 star rate. When we traveled in the eastern seaboard in 2014 the room rates are off by 30 to 50% from 2012. These rates are not sustainable.

  97. Ultimately I am looking for the best price with a flexible cancellation possibility and an easy-to-use interface.

  98. Location and price matters so my to me so for me to switch from what I typically use (orbitz) Id need something with a lot of locations in any city I end up and also orbitz always had discount codes which brings me back there time and again. Might be worth considering.

  99. I like quirky, boutique-type hotels like those by the Kimpton chain. Since I’m a fan of mass transit, it helps a great deal if the hotel is close to a major transit hub.

  100. Michelle D C says

    i would like to see a wide array of hotels, some mid level for work, and some budget options for family vacations.

  101. Price is priority, but with constraint that reservation must be cancelable on same day of arrival.

  102. Availability and price are most important.
    Knowing where a Hotl is located within a city is also very important.

  103. Really important to 1) be able to cancel without penalty, 2) know I am getting a good deal and 3) get points for the hotel’s loyalty program!

  104. Best price, Easy to use. Fast – few screens to click through and pages load fast. A human to talk to if things go awry.

  105. Make sure the website is user-friendly. Also, make sure that users can cancel reservations without penalties any time.

  106. Allow users to make payment in different major currencies. Also, make sure that users can cancel reservations without incurring penalties any time.

  107. Price and value is the most important criteria. In general, I prefer earning points directly with a hotel loyalty program, so allowing that as an option would be perfect.

  108. Having my stay count towards the hotel’s loyalty program is the most important thing, plus the benefits that go along with it. I wouldn’t be interested in a third party booking engine unless that was the case. Transparency amend ease of use us important, too. Fine Hotels & Resorts is a great model, everything is there to see. With Virtousso, you’ve got to go through another person, one of their agents, before figuring out what the price and benefits are – I don’t have time for that

  109. show last minute deals first,

  110. I look for all-inclusive properties to make things easy.

  111. I look for the cancellation date, some of the sites like this require two or three days or you pay the first night. More restrictive than the actual hotel sites, which is a total turnoff for me.

  112. Clear and accurate lists of amenities. There are times that I won’t book unless I can be sure that there is a particular amenity that I need, such as:
    *Airport Shuttle
    *Microwave/Fridge in Room
    *Free Internet

    When websites don’t have these listed, I go to hotel website to confirm and then often end up booking direct from the hotel’s website.

  113. Step 1 for me – make the screen readable on an iPad without constant need to resize/zoom/adjust on an iPad.

  114. I like to see a cross section of hotels. I am not very often looking for a $200 a night hotel unless its a special occasion. I would find a good map of the hotel location very helpful. Usually I am flipping between the hotel website and google maps to get a good idea of location and what is nearby.

  115. Good price + good location = what the vast majority of people look for. Clear and cut.

  116. Found the same price offered on Hotel Engine for a room I already have booked with the hotel’s website in Ft Lauderdale so the cashback would be an added bonus but like others I don’t like having to prepay. Love the walk score feature though!

  117. For me, the best booking engine needs to quickly and easy show hotels with
    1) A Wide Look at All Available Properties – that’s a cross-section of chain hotels and independent properties
    2) Best Value – either the lowest prices, extra benefits, or valuable rewards (or some combination thereof)
    3) Easy to find information: reviews/ratings, location, and included amenities all in one spot (ideally on the results page and not having to click through to property information)

  118. JoeyfromSC says

    very user friendly site..I also think price is always of the utmost importance to me. location choices is a huge 2nd for me.

    Thank you for the chance to win!


  119. I have never actually used a hotel booking site…I suppose it wouldn’thurt to check it out

  120. This came at a perfect time! I’m new to the whole points/miles and earning free travel scene, and I’ve just started reading some very helpful blogs on what to do and where to look. I need to find a room in Providence, RI for a conference in March, so naturally the hotels are going to be expensive with so many people in town. However, when I did a quick search on HotelEngine, I found some great deals. Not only did a find a hotel that was affordable, but they’re also offering 2X rewards. The walkable score is a huge plus in determining location, and something I’m not sure you can find anywhere else. The information is clear cut and straightforward. Might be nice to be able to search near a convention center or near an airport, etc.

  121. While price is certainly a top concern, I think that the ability to cancel or change without penalty goes a long way. Travel plans are always changing, and the mindset that you can alter your reservation is comforting.

  122. On the Hotel Engine website I like that there are no ads or pop ups and the walk score is a great feature. This will be more useful to me once they add International destinations though. The one feature that I would really like to see added is a way to narrow down my search on the map and then show the list descriptions of only those hotels. Presently the only way to do that is to set up your map and then click on each blue dot to see the details. This would be extremely useful to me and I have not seen this feature on other search engines either. The rewards program Hotel Engine offers is easy to use, that is a great plus. I like the fact that they are reaching out for comments as well as to how to improve their site.

  123. Ultimately when I use a booking engine for hotels, I see if there is a difference in price (hotel price vs. third party site). I also pay attention to the cancellation policy and list any fees upfront. (I hate getting my folio later on and seeing a fee that I wasn’t notified for beforehand.)

  124. Was looking for hotels in Krakow and Warsaw (Poland) and couldn’t find anything.
    Price is always what matters for me.

  125. I always read through all the recent reviews when booking, and price is another important factor.

  126. Price and location is my main priority when booking hotels with a search engine.

  127. Price is always a top priority for me, but ability to change the dates is equally important. I travel for work and pleasure and like to book trips months in advance. Since I don’t always know my work schedule at time of booking, cancellation without penalty is very important because plans change frequently.

    Location is a key too.

  128. Most important things, IMO that Hotel Engine could consider are:
    -Competitive Pricing
    -Authentic Reviews from other customers
    -Could provide special offers to your loyal Facebook followers with savings greater than what they can find anywhere else
    -Offer Money-Saving Packages for add-ons like free wifi, parking, breakfast and event tickets in the vicinity.

  129. Congrats on your elite night upgrade! I really like the Hotel Engine website. It’s simple and smooth….just like my evening cocktails! lol!

  130. The most important factor is price, and it’s not enough to claim you have the lowest price, so I like the sites that compare rates found elsewhere and that point out various discounts available when booking on various sites.

  131. Price is king, but it’s no t uncommon to have websites have the same price which then makes price not the deciding factor. All things being equal having a good rewards program to encourage people to use your site is key, such as a extra benefits in the hotel rooms, or perhaps stay x number of nights earn a free night.

  132. Stacyshine says

    The most important factor is price but second would be access to reviews from verified guests.

  133. I think the most important thing should be price but everyone says that. An out of the way choice would, for me be a close second. We all know that most chain hotels are pretty much the same and that’s fine.

    I would pay a bit more for a out of the way, one of a kind memory, with a review that gives you that extra nugget of info.

  134. Some amazing posts out there. I am going to second RD’s post from October 14, 2014 at 10:45 am.

  135. Jill McHale says

    I like knowing interesting facts about the hotels…what makes them unique, what sets them apart from the others. I also like the hotel descriptions to include what family destinations, if any, are nearby.

  136. Price and location would be my priorities, and the ease of filtering the results would be an extra perk.

  137. Great feedback! Thank you.

    The team is reading every comment.

    We’ll announce the winner tomorrow.

  138. Jennifer H. says

    I checked it out with some dates for an upcoming trip. Overall, it looked pretty easy to use. I was interested but a little confused about what the rewards program is. Maybe a tab or FAQ about that?

  139. Most important factors for me:
    1) Competitive Pricing
    2) Cancellation Policy
    3) Location (to landmarks and public transportation)
    4) Hotel Amenities (free wifi, breakfast, parking, etc or what the price is)

  140. @AAL – Congrats! You won $200 for Expect an email with a link to your winnings later today.

    Thank you everyone for the amazing feedback.




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