Booking a Hotel Stay this Summer? Know the Difference in Online Booking Options from

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OTAs, brand websites and now MHNSAVES.COM™, a new travel savings club, offer a variety of savings options


For anyone looking to travel this summer, it pays to know the options when it comes to booking a hotel online. With the addition of MHNSAVES.COM, the new online travel savings club, consumers now have a variety of savings opportunities to consider before making reservations.

Many people choose to use online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia® or® for convenient comparison research. Travelers should know that while they may get a rate that is at best the same as what they can find on the hotel’s website, in most cases they won’t get a bargain. That’s because OTAs and major hotel chains agree in advance on the rate the OTA charges for each room and it’s usually not the cheapest available rate.

Booking directly with a hotel website may net the lowest available published rate since the hotels do not have to pay the OTA commission and can pass those savings onto consumers. Booking directly with a hotel may also allow more flexibility if travelers’ plans change, and can help travelers avoid paying up front for their full stay as most hotels do not charge guests until checkout. Hotels may allow other additional discounts for other national affinity groups, such as AAA or AARP as well. However they do not offer rewards beyond those within their own hotel group and participating national affinity groups.

Mystery booking sites like® may give consumers a better rate because they do not publish the specific hotel and its rates, but instead sell excess inventory that best matches a requested rate. Travelers can get bargains on these sites, however, they can get burned as well, since the specific hotel is not identified until the reservation is accepted. Mystery booking sites also do not allow the use of affinity group or hotel affinity discounts off the agreed rate, have restrictive cancellation policies and require payment at the time of the reservation.

Flash sale sites like Groupon™ Getaways also offer online booking options, often at significant savings. However, the window to book is extremely limited, restrictions can be prohibitive if plans change and the deals may sell out before travelers can make their reservation. As with OTAs, payment is required in advance and changes may not be possible.

A new option that debuted in June 2011 is a members only online travel savings club called Members Hotel Network®, online at http://www.MHNSAVES.COM. MHNSAVES.COM offers its members exclusive discounts and cash back rewards on hotel stays across the United States, including:

  • Savings of 5-30% off participating hotels’ lowest available advertised rate.
  • The ability to combine MHNSAVES.COM rewards with other national discount programs, including AAA® or AARP® memberships and government or military discounts, at participating hotels.
  • MHNSAVES.COM Cash Back Reward Points earned on each night’s stay at any hotel booked through MHNSAVES.COM. Reward points can be redeemed for cash at any time, with a check mailed directly to the member at no charge ($5 minimum required to cash out points). Points accrue from the first night and every night thereafter. Members also earn 2 points per day for all car rentals booked through MHNSAVES.COM.
  • The ability to use current hotel and/or credit card loyalty programs to earn rewards (miles, points, etc.) on every stay booked through MHNSAVES.COM.
  • Greater flexibility in changing or canceling rooms with the hotels’ own policies, not those imposed by MHNSAVES.COM, in force for each reservation.
  • Payment in full is not required until checkout or car rental drop off, letting travelers keep their money in their wallets longer.

Membership is just $5 per year, but to celebrate the site’s launch, MHNSAVES.COM is giving away free lifetime memberships to anyone who registers by July 31, 2011. In addition one member will win $500 in MHN cash back reward points, redeemable at once. Once registered, members will have an opportunity to receive additional entries in the drawing for the $500 prize through Facebook and Twitter; full contest details are available at MHNSAVES.COM.

Before booking a hotel for this summer’s travel, it pays to evaluate the options. From mystery shopping to a private savings club, travelers need to learn the real costs and benefits when planning their stay to make the most of their money.

About Members Hotel Network (MHNSAVES.COM)
Members Hotel Network (MHNSAVES.COM) is an online travel savings club that offers its members exclusive discounts and cash back rewards points on hotel stays across the United States. members receive: savings of 5-30 percent off participating hotels’ lowest advertised rate; the ability to combine MHNSAVES.COM discounts with other national discount programs, including AAA® or AARP® membership, government or military discounts, at participating hotels; cash back reward points earned on every night’s stay at any hotel booked through MHNSAVES.COM; and the ability to still earn points on other hotel and credit card loyalty programs on every stay booked through MHNSAVES.COM. Headquartered in Columbia, MD., MHNSAVES.COM was founded by a team of hoteliers to offer hotels and consumers a more affordable alternative to other online travel agencies. To learn more or to become a member, please visit http://www.MHNSAVES.COM.

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Lindsay Hebert
Devaney & Associates
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