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TPG Assistant Editor Melanie Wynne takes a look at a new, free hotel booking site called Hotelied that offers exclusive discounts to its members based on personal data such as their social media popularity, their travel-program loyalty, and more.
Billed as a “dating site for hotel stays,” a new members-only booking site called Hotelied claims to offer personalized savings on a curated list of luxury hotels based largely on a member’s social media influence and their travel activity. The more popular a Hotelied member is on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook and the more they use their frequent flyer and hotel loyalty accounts, the larger their potential hotel discount, reportedly up to 50 percent off published rates.
Founded by two hotel industry insiders with experience at a variety of global brands, Hotelied currently has partnerships with high-end boutique hotels in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Portland, Oregon, Tel Aviv, São Paulo and more. In the coming months, this roster will be expanding to 41 properties at 17 destinations in eight countries, including Belize, France, Mexico and Sweden. Present partner properties include Soho House in New York and Miami, The Line Hotel in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, the Norman Tel Aviv, and Portland’s Willamette-adjacent River’s Edge Hotel & Spa.
Hotelied’s hotel partners, all rated four stars or above, designate which travelers get access to its best rates based on each property’s specific needs. For instance, a hotel may want to target guests who work in specific industries such as fashion, entertainment or marketing, or simply frequent travelers who are loyal to specific brands. Some hotel partners may want to increase their social media interaction with guests, and will therefore offer the best rates to Hotelied members with high social media influence.
As someone with an active social media presence, I was immediately intrigued by Hotelied’s concept. Upon providing Hotelied’s website with my name and email address, a graphic at the top of my online profile page informed me that even before I’d connected my Hotelied-approved social media and loyalty accounts ((including five of the six allowed hotel programs), I’d been defined as a “Vacationist” and offered a top potential hotel-room discount of 40 percent. However, after making these connections and completing my profile, my top possible discount remained the same 40 percent.
I’d be curious to see what would happen to that percentage if I was allowed to connect my largest frequent flyer accounts, on US Airways, United, America, Delta and Virgin Atlantic, but at present, Hotelied only offers the option to connect to the loyalty programs for British Airways, JetBlue, Lufthansa and Virgin America.
In order to determine my actual potential savings, I used several sample itineraries: October 24-26, November 7-9, December 12-14, December 24-28 (all 2014) and January 8-11, 2015. During the October and November weekends only, Miami’s Metropolitan by COMO was the only property to offer me the full 40 percent off a couple of their standard room types (e.g., $282/night discounted from $469/night). However, they also offered me 60 percent off a premium Lakeview Suite – discounted from a whopping $899 to a more manageable $360 a night.
Two of Hotelied’s other partner properties offered me occasional discounts of 25 percent – The Broome in New York City ($412 a night rather than $569) and Le Montrose in Los Angeles ($150 a night rather than $199) – but the bulk of the site’s partners offered me savings of 10 to 20 percent. Some of Hotelied’s most desirable, far-flung properties, such as the über-hip Hotel Fasano São Paulo (set in the city’s stylish Jardins district) offered me no discount at all.
The Points Guy, Brian Kelly, asked me to see what would happen if I took his own Hotelied account for a spin, as his social media followings and hotel loyalty accounts are far larger than mine. He has several of his hotel accounts linked to his profile, but two fewer social media accounts than I and none of the four allowed airline accounts. His greater profile strength (seen in red inside the circle on the top right) defines him as a “Jetsetter,” but surprisingly, his profile displays the same maximum discount of 40 percent that I was offered.
Using the same sample dates – October 24-26, November 7-9, December 12-14, December 24-28 (all 2014) and January 8-11, 2015 – our Hotelied results weren’t very different. We were both denied discounts at several of the same properties – including Dream South Beach in Miami and The Crosby Street Hotel in New York – but for the October itinerary, Brian was offered a maximum discount of 34 percent ($430/night vs. $650/night) at the Hotel Fasano São Paulo, which denied me a discount across the board. In several cases, he was offered discounts of 10-15 percent at other properties where I would have received none, such as Manhattan’s Gansevoort Park Avenue and L.A.’s SIXTY Beverly Hills – proving that it never hurts to play the points and miles game, and to boost your social media presence.
Recently, Brian put these theoretical bookings into practice with a one-night stay at Sixty Soho in New York. He booked a king superior room and saved $47 on the cheapest room rate, bringing his total before taxes and fees to $422. This savings was not available by booking directly through the hotel or on other hotel sites such as Hotels.com.
However, this wasn’t the case for every New York City hotel in Hotelied’s network. Brian found that he could save at the Dream Downtown, but the price at the new Hotel Hugo in Soho was more expensive through Hotelied than other sites.
Bottom line, it’s always smart to shop your prices at various sites and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. (For instance, Hotel Tonight doesn’t allow you to select your room while Hotelied does, including suites). Hotelied is now on Brian’s go-to list for shopping non-chain hotels at a discount.
If you’re already a heavy user of social media and a fan of high-end boutique hotels, signing up for Hotelied certainly couldn’t hurt. The site’s biggest advantage is its ability to quickly show you the best personally-tailored discounts you’ll receive at each of its chosen properties.
While none of Hotelied’s hotel partners that belong to loyalty programs (e.g., Dream properties, which belong to iPrefer) allow you to use or earn points for your discounted stay, in the event that you find a better deal, it’s good to know that most of Hotelied’s partner properties allow you to cancel your reservation up to one day before your stay. Additionally, Hotelied doesn’t apply the time-sensitive pressure of other members-only travel sites like Vacationist or Jetsetter, which offers limited flash sales on sought-after properties around the world, or the newly-expanded app Hotel Tonight, which allows you to book discounted rooms only seven days or less in advance.
For now, Hotelied is simply another tool to consider adding to your travel-planning arsenal, and one we here at TPG will be keeping an eye on as it expands.
What do you think about this new website? If you sign up, please share your experience in the comments below!