This is a sponsored post but all insights are the author’s own.
Now this is a good travel tool…
Scout by Room Key is a free browser extension that checks and doublechecks the price you’ve been quoted for a hotel room before you book it. With one click, Scout compares the number you’re served by Booking.com, Priceline, Expedia, Orbitz, or whatever site you’re searching on against the price of the same room—on the same dates, etc.—as offered by the hotel itself. The idea is simple: to make sure you pay the lowest price available for your room.
How it works
Here’s how it works, in four steps:
- You download the extension for free (it’s currently available for Chrome only, but versions are on the way for Firefox and Safari).
- You search for a hotel room as you usually do using the hotel search engine/OTA of your choice.
- Before you book, the Scout extension (it’s the silhouette of a Pointer dog) will chime in if Scout can find a better price, a determination displayed in a clean pop-up at the top of the page.
- If there’s no better price, you can proceed knowing you’re getting the best deal. If there is a better price, you click the “Book at this hotel” button in the Scout pop-up and then book the room for the lower rate, through the hotel directly.
Why does this work?
This is a valid question, and it should be asked of all products, free or otherwise, that claim themselves able to save you money. In Scout’s case, the back-end stuff is for starters powerful. But the real value is provided by the hotel chains themselves. Among the sources of room rates Scout scans with each click are the honest-to-goodness hotel websites, which more often than not offer the best deals of all—to people enrolled in their loyalty programs. These programs are free to join, but if you haven’t yet joined them, the discounts they return won’t show up in most online searches.
Scout’s unique pitch, then, is that it offers access to room rates available only if you are to sign up to the free loyalty program and book the room through the hotel directly. And such a result tends to mean more than just a lower price when you book it. Perks like free Wi-Fi and late check-out as well as the ability to earn loyalty points for a stay are typical with direct hotel bookings but not bookings through third-party sites. As an added benefit, as written yesterday, booking direct with a hotel is also a surer path to peace of mind for any traveler.
Proof that it works
Last month (March 2018), Scout users saved an average of $13.30 per night when booking direct with a hotel via Scout’s prompting. Here, as an example, is a screenshot of a $45 savings available were I to leave Booking.com for the Courtyard by Marriott website. To access the savings, I must only click “Book at this hotel” and proceed from there.
Again, not every click of the Scout icon will save you money. But it costs you nothing to use, and its simple, beautiful interface is nothing if not an added layer of diligence in any hotel search.
Here’s the Scout website. On the top of the linked page, you can download the extension.
Have you tried Scout? Share your experience in the comments below!