Testing hotel auction sites – the New York Times



Many auction items on SkyAuction not only name the hotel you will be bidding on, but they also include breakfast in the price. Auctions are free, but you compete with others in a live auction, and there is a $ 20 processing fee. I was drawn to an auction offer for ‘your choice of 440’ Small Luxury Hotels of the World ‘. “Six of these hotels turned out to be in London. The minimum bid was $ 239, not bad for a boutique hotel with an established consortium behind it.

I quickly learned that live auctions like this don’t necessarily end when they say so. On SkyAuction, each time a new bid is submitted within the last five minutes of the auction, an additional five minutes are added, up to a maximum of one hour. My biggest problem was that although this particular offer was valid until next July, rooms could not be reserved until 16 days after my travel date. I needed the room the following week. Obviously, this was not the best auction for the last minute traveler.

Final result SkyAuction provides detailed information on the hotels listed, including the name of the hotel or consortium behind, which allows the user to assess the savings. While the 16 day waiting period was a deciding factor for me, I learned that other auctions weren’t that restrictive. Still, the $ 20 fee was annoying and the website’s use of banner ads is inconvenient.


Wondering what is in the high end I visited Luxury link after interviewing President Diane McDavitt. “Even the richest love a good deal,” she said, adding that the site encourages users to call hotels before bidding to see if their exact dates are available (links to each hotel make it easier). Although the auctions are free on this live auction, the items were too expensive for me, although the discounts raise eyebrows. Five nights at the stylish Landmark Hotel in central London, with an indoor pool that I know to be architecturally stunning, were auctioned off at a starting bid of $ 1,543 – package included executive room, champagne, a breakfast for two and a day lunch and access to their members-only health club. Overall, this represented a 60 percent discount.

Final result For those who don’t like live auctions, the “Buy Now” feature allows users to purchase the venue without bidding at a higher fixed price with a significant discount – often 30% – while choosing their exact dates. But most of the offers on the site are multi-night packages, so although I was tempted by the Landmark Hotel package, it was too many nights for me and too expensive for this trip.


I booked the room through Hotwire, but by the time I did, the price had dropped from $ 109 to $ 144 ($ 176.42 with taxes and fees). I learned that I would be staying at the Hilton London Metropole in Bayswater. The cheapest room I could find on other websites was £ 158 or $ 240. Not only did I save around $ 70 per night, but I also found out that maybe I like gambling – when the risks are low.

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