Search Party Launches New Hotel Price Search Engine

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First site to compare total cost of hotel stay -- helps online travelers easily compare nightly rates, taxes and booking fees, and cancellation policies.

People who think prices don’t vary much online need to shop for hotels on Search Party

As the 2006 travel season heats up, a new online travel player has emerged to offer a highly specialized and robust resource to help consumers easily shop and compare the total cost of a hotel stay online. Search Party today announced it has unveiled the beta version of its new hotel price search engine http://www.searchparty.com, providing consumers with several new comparison features not currently found through any other single travel site.

Search Party allows consumers to easily search and compare nightly room rates, taxes and booking fees, and cancellation policies for more than 40,000 U.S. hotels, across most major hotel brands and leading online travel sites, including Orbitz, Lodging.com, One Travel, Reserve Travel, LastMinuteTravel.com and many others.

In addition to its Web site, Search Party has introduced a proprietary desktop tool -- Search Party Desktop -- that can be downloaded free of charge and enables online travel shoppers to compare hotel prices while they are also shopping on Expedia and Travelocity, even though these companies do not actively participate in Search Party or other travel search engines. Once downloaded, Search Party Desktop automatically activates when a user searches for hotels on Expedia or Travelocity and compares the selected hotel’s price to other sites in Search Party’s system to identify if lower rates are available.

“People who think prices don’t vary much online need to shop for hotels on Search Party,” says Eric Christensen, founder and president of Search Party and a 20-year hospitality industry veteran. “Search Party helps prevent consumers from overpaying for hotels. We understand the cost of a hotel stay is significantly more than just the average nightly rate and we’ve created Search Party to provide a complete view that helps our users compare the total ‘real’ cost of the stay to find the best all-around value that saves time and money.”

Some of the unique comparison features and services Search Party offers can help consumers identify variances in total costs that can range between 25 to 30 percent, or an average $50 per booking.* These features include the ability to:

  •     Compare More Rates from More Sites -- Search Party searches and compares prices side-by-side for up to 8 different sources versus the one to three sites compared through other travel search sites like SideStep or Kayak.
  •      Compare Taxes and Booking Fees -- Search Party is the first site to calculate and compare taxes and booking fees. Taxes and booking fees can vary considerably from site to site and can add up to 20 percent to the cost of a hotel room, yet are excluded from most online price guarantees. Search Party’s unique side-by-side comparison grid can save shoppers significant time by eliminating the need to click through to the hotel or agency site to conduct the comparisons manually.
  •     Compare Cancellation Policies -- Search Party is also the first Web site to comprehensively compare cancellation policies and fees across participating sites. As penalties have been become more stringent and costly, Search Party helps its customers find less restrictive policies that can help save an average of $25 per booking or what could even be the forfeiture of the full cost of one-night’s lodging or, in some cases, the entire stay.
  •     Compare Specific Room Types -- Going beyond just nightly hotel rate comparisons, Search Party compares prices for specific types of rooms to provide travel shoppers a true “apples to apples” comparison so they don’t waste time comparing the price of a no-view, double room with a full-view, king room.

Founded by a group of online hotel veterans, Search Party has already been in development for more than 18 months. Search Party vastly simplifies hotel comparison shopping for consumers while also helping hoteliers and distribution companies sell more rooms without straining reservations systems or compromising important revenue and yield management practices.

To celebrate its official launch, Search Party is offering visitors the chance to win free hotel stays in exchange for sharing their online hotel shopping experience with Search Party. Anyone who uses Search Party to find a hotel can send a brief e-mail to Search Party at savemoney @ searchparty.com with details about how Search Party saved them money. Each month through December 2006, Search Party will select three submissions at random and reimburse the Search Party user for their hotel stay, up to US$500. Complete rules and restrictions can be found at http://www.searchparty.com/savemoney.html.

About Search Party

Search Party (http://www.searchparty.com) is a new hotel price search engine that gathers detailed information on more than 40,000 U.S. hotels from most major hotel brand and online travel sites so users can easily compare prices from one easy location. Search Party’s direct connections to online agencies and hotel companies allow it to access and compare hotel pricing data from as many as 8 different Web sites for the same hotel simultaneously. Search Party’s patent-pending technology gathers information on prices, taxes and booking fees, and cancellation policies, and standardizes and displays this information in a unique side-by-side comparison table so shoppers can easily find the best value. Search Party Inc., founded in 2004, is a venture-funded company, based in Mountain View, Calif.

  • Average difference between highest and lowest prices listed on Search Party for a 2-night stay at same hotel in 30 major U.S. cities.

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Dawn Lyon
Search Party
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