Search Party widens level of comparison

Search Party has taken the process of searching online for hotel rooms to the next level, enabling consumers to compare total rates and hotels’ policies instead of just room price.

Search Party Desktop, a downloadable tool available at, automatically opens a side window with a grid comparing room rates, taxes and fees, price, cancellation policy and payment terms when consumers perform a search on, Expedia or Travelocity, and Expedia offer best-rate guarantees, but Search Party claims to find lower rates than all three sites 50% of the time.

For example, offered a deluxe garden room at the Catamaran Resort Hotel in San Diego, California, for June 9 and 10 for $229 per night plus taxes and fees of $65.46– a total price of $523.46.

But, the Search Party tool showed that offered the same room type on the same dates at that property for $174 per night plus taxes and fees of $31.04 – $379.04 in total and a $144.02 difference on a two-night stay.

Not only did OneTravel beat on the room rate, it also charged a lower percentage than in taxes and fees: 8.9% versus 14.3%. If cancellation policies and payment terms are a concern, Search Party provides this information, as well.

Unlike travel search engine, which also offers a comparison-shopping tool, Search Party Desktop compares the specific property and room type from, and with those of Search Party partners.

Search Party president Eric Christensen said Search Party doesn’t search Orbitz because it hopes to partner the company, whereas Travelocity, Expedia and have already refused to play.

Search Party has deals with OneTravel, ReserveTravel,,, InterContinental, Hilton and Cendant hotel brands.

Search Party was founded two years ago and unveiled the beta version of its site in April.

It hopes to cash in on referral fees when consumers do their comparison shopping on and then book hotels on partner websites.

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