Apr012010

Steering to Starwood Hotels on Kayak.com without a Paddle

April 9, 2010 Article update:The Kayak.com hotel search feature I lament over in this piece has been returned. It turns out I was not the only user using the feature of hotel chain filtering when searching hotel rates on Kayak.com. Kayak.com maintains its competitive edge for this loyalty traveler.

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Kayak.com recently dropped one of its best hotel search features for this loyalty traveler.

Just a month ago I was raving to Randy Petersen about Kayak.com as a great resource for quickly comparing room rates across different hotel chains. If I was looking for a Starwood Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts I could filter the search results down from 279 hotels in just two clicks to show only the Starwood Hotels. This was a tremendous time saver when comparing hotels across different loyalty programs for any city. Two more quick filter clicks and I could see all the hotels in the nine brands of Marriott Hotels like the Courtyards and Fairfield Inns. Two more filter clicks and all the Hilton HHonors participating hotels like Hampton Inns and Hilton Garden Inns would be revealed.

This feature was one of the major competitive advantages of Kayak.com that you will not find when searching hotels on Expedia.com, Orbitz.com, or Travelocity.com.

Kayak.com has dropped this hotel chain filter feature in favor of a hotel brand focused filter. Kayak.com has just sent me back to the hotel websites for hotel searches. At least if I check SPG.com or Hyatt.com I can see all the hotel brands for the hotel chain in one simple search without the need to run numerous filters to check all the different brands. Wyndham Rewards has 13 participating hotel brands.

Now you have to be a brand expert to effectively use Kayak.com for your loyalty program hotel searches.

Loyalty Traveler quiz on your hotel brand expertise.

Name the parent hotel chain for these hotel brands?  Answers are at the end of this post. 

  1. Andaz
  2. Ascend Collection  
  3. Autograph Collection
  4. Homewood Suites
  5. The Luxury Collection
  6. Le Meridien
  7. MainStay Suites
  8. Motel 6
  9. Park Inn
  10. Staybridge Suites
  11. TownePlace Suites
  12. Travelodge

The picture below shows what I am referring to in the Kayak.com hotel search filter. In December I was searching hotel rates in Denver, Colorado. I wanted to quickly check rates for Hyatt and Starwood properties as I needed Starwood Hotels to reach my Platinum elite renewal goal and Hyatt for its earn free nights and stays count double promotion. The left sidebar would clear all the hotels with one click and then allowed the user to filter hotels to only show hotel brands from specific hotel chains. This was incredibly useful for hotel loyalty program members seeking potential hotels for loyalty promotion stays.

Kayak.com old search filter

I used to have the ability to check all the Choice Hotels in one filter search. Choice Hotels has ten different hotel brands and checking each brand is a whole lot more work. I might as well go to the Choice Privileges website for a quicker search option of Choice Hotels. That is great for ChoiceHotels.com, but not so great for Kayak.com since they are losing eyes on their website.

The hotel chain filter feature is no longer available on Kayak.com.

I noticed the Kayak.com hotel search filters changed sometime in March 2010 when I conducted searches for San Francisco yesterday and saw the left sidebar now looks like this.

Kayak Hotel Brand Top 10 Short List

Only a selection of ten hotel brands with starting price quotes is shown in the left sidebar. And why are these ten hotel brands shown on the “short list”? There are no Marriott, Hyatt, or InterContinental Hotel Group brands shown on the “short list”. Did these ten hotel brands pay Kayak.com to get their brand name listed?

If you select “Show more brands” the list expands to 72 hotel brands for a San Francisco search.

But, you will not find Starwood Hotels listed. Starwood Hotels is not a hotel brand.

Starwood Hotels is a chain of hotels consisting of 9 hotel brands. It will now take ten or more filter searches to do what used to be possible in two clicks on Kayak.com when trying to check all the Starwood Hotels room rates in a location. 

Please bring back the hotel chain filter Kayak.com!

This Loyalty Traveler loved that hotel search filter feature on Kayak.com.

Please leave a comment if you know of another hotel search website that filters by hotel chain rather than hotel brand. I don’t know any others.

Answers to Loyalty Traveler Hotel Brand Quiz:

  1. Andaz (Hyatt Hotels – Hyatt Gold Passport)
  2. Ascend Collection   (Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges)
  3. Autograph Collection (Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards)
  4. Homewood Suites (Hilton Hotels – Hilton HHonors)
  5. The Luxury Collection (Starwood Hotels – Starwood Preferred Guest)
  6. Le Meridien (Starwood Hotels – Starwood Preferred Guest)
  7. MainStay Suites (Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges)
  8. Motel 6 (Accor Hotels)
  9. Park Inn (Carlson Hotels – goldpoints plus)
  10. Staybridge Suites (Intercontinental Hotels Group – Priority Club Rewards)
  11. TownePlace Suites (Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards)
  12. Travelodge (Wyndham Hotels – Wyndham Rewards)

San Francisco’s 72 Hotel Brands in a Kayak.com Hotel Search

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. I am with you all the way on this one, Ric. Kayak used to be my “go-to” place for sniffing out Best Rate Guarantee claims because of that very feature. This blows! Let us hope it is an April Fool’s day prank!

  2. Also wanted to add – try Bing travel. It has similar categories but not as accurate as Kayak (e.g. it has a “Starwood – All” category that seems to only show W for SFO…the Hyatt category works better. Hit or Miss, I guess.

  3. Steve – Here is a post I wrote last year “How I search hotel rates” where I discussed the value of Kayak.com.

    http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2009/05/08/how-i-search-hotel-rates/

    I ended up with about nine or ten successful Best Rate Guarantee claims during the 2009 Starwood “stay two times and earn a free weekend night” promotion. These rate discrepancies were likely all found through Kayak.com searches.

    In last year’s piece I mention that two of the BRG claims were lower than rates found on Starwood hotel sites.

    That statement confuses me now since I had more than two successful BRG claims with Starwood. I think I meant to say the rate found through a competing online travel agency was lower than the comparable rate on Starwood, but usually there was still an even lower rate on Starwood hotels using AAA or some hotel special offer. Online travel agencies do not show AAA rates. So of my BRG claims, two of the rates I paid were actually lower than the lowest rate on Starwood sites which is usually the AAA rate.

    I actually paid a few dollars more than I needed to for most of my successful Best Rate Guarantee claims. Starwood’s Best Rate Guarantee drops the room rate to the competitor’s price. Even if this price were $10 more than the AAA rate on Starwood Hotels that was fine with me. The 2,000 bonus points for a successful BRG claim was worth more than the $10 rate difference to me.

    I earned enough BRG 2,000 point bonuses to get an additional Category 6 hotel night during the SPG free night promotion last year.

  4. The hotel chain filter will be returning. We changed the selection of the top ten brands initially displayed to reflect the number of booking clicks on the hotels under that brand in the city being searched. A similar ranking of the brand chains didn’t make it into the last release but will be included in our next release. Glad to hear that people like the brand chain filter. 🙂

  5. @Charlie from Kayak — could you also fix it in your iPhone app, please. It sometimes shows “Hilton (all)” as a possible filter, but not always.

  6. Congratulations for getting this back and thanks, Ric! Now if only I could have been as successful with AA.com’s flexible date search…

  7. How soon will this becoming back? The hotel search function is a pain and essentially worthless to me while this feature is gone.

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