After much practice- I now use a three step approach to hotel reservations.
First, if you know the city and area you want to stay at, but not the exact hotel, your best bet is to try one of the big travel websites such asExpedia, Travelocity, Hotels.com, or Orbitz. This will help you to narrow down to a few hotels which will meet your requirements in the price range you need. At this point it is not necessary to check all of the sites- just try any one.
Next, once you have a few hotels that think you may want to stay at, go toTripadvisor and find these hotels. For each of them you should click “Check Rates” and a popup window will appear, where you put in your travel dates. Tripadvisor will then show you a bunch of websites which it will be checking you only have to click on “show next offer” to get the next one- saving you the time of going to each individual website.
The third and final step is very important. When you have chosen the dates of your travel and the hotel you will be staying at. Before you make your reservation on any website, find the website of the hotel you have chosen and see if they have an even better rate- or maybe a special which includes something else, like breakfast for example.
If you find the same price on the hotel’s website or think you may need to change your plans I would reserve directly with the hotel. If you find a better price on another website and are 100% sure that you will not change your travel plans, then go with the other site. It is generally possible to change reservations made directly at the hotel, but extremely difficult any other way. See my previous article Travel Websites.
Hope some of you find this helpful.