Where do you look for hotel rooms in a hurry?
I stopped using the bigger online brands for last-minute room bookings after my dealings with Hotels.com earlier this year. I'd booked a room in London some six hours before I was due to check-in. There were no warnings at the booking or payment stage that there might be any problem, so when I arrived I was little irritated to find Hotels.com hadn't booked the room, and there were none left at the same rate.
Rather unexpectedly, I discovered the fault was entirely mine - according to Hotels.com customer service, I shouldn't have booked a room for same-day occupancy. Silly me. After nearly an hour of waiting for them to return my call, I was given the option of paying the higher room rate, or travelling a mile out my way at close to midnight to book in at another hotel. I strongly suggested a third option - they pay the higher room rate in the same hotel. Another 15 minutes later, they agreed. Smashing.
Plans change, shit happens, so booking up days or weeks in advance isn't always an option. I'm now fairly committed to Laterooms.com as the first site I check, especially when in London. There's are lots of bargains for all budgets, and plenty of very cheap deals too; Bayswater hotels are more miss than hit for quality, but they're usually half the price of the budget chains for on-the-day bookings.
Another new service for late bookings has just launched on Twitter. Inoqo is essentially a collection of Twitter accounts; major cities in the US and Europe have their own account, as do some UK counties and other international locations. The idea is that you follow the account of the city you're interested in visiting, and Inoqo tweets last-minute deals, which then appear in your Twitter stream.
How last minute are the deals? Inoqo claims that it'll be dispensing plenty of cut-price deals valid from 48 hours beforehand, and that the deals will be unique to them. It's a little barren at the moment with the site only launching in the past week, but it has the potential to be a decent source of real-time deals.
So LateRooms.com and Inoqo aside, where do you seek out your late hotel deals?