Illustration by Christopher DeLorenzo

With more and more ways to search for hotel rooms, finding the right one has only gotten harder. These three companies aim to streamline the process—and save you money.

February 09, 2017

SnapTravel

Tell this start-up what you’re looking for via Facebook Messenger, and a bot will present you with three hotels in seconds, sometimes with better rates than you’d find on websites like Kayak or Expedia.

Use the filter to adjust preferences for location and star rating, or a pinch-and-zoom map for a particular neighborhood. Do you want a room with a view, free Wi-Fi, or a hotel with a pool? Just tell the bot.

But SnapTravel isn’t just a bot. It also has teams of customer-service reps available 24 hours a day to answer unusual requests that its computers can’t address.

On the day of your arrival, a human will call your hotel directly to ensure any special requests will be guaranteed, such as early check-in or a room on a higher floor. They will also try to request a free upgrade on your behalf. That’s a service most online travel agencies can’t provide.

Hotelwatchdog

From the founders of Airfarewatchdog, this new website combs dozens of options in any given city and uses a proprietary algorithm to do comparison shopping based on cost, proximity to popular attractions, and guest ratings on TripAdvisor (its parent company). The site will present a list of 20 “expert-analyzed” hotels that its bots deem to have the best value. Or you can choose to see every hotel in your destination and then sort by rating, price, and neighborhood.

AsYouStay

A typical hotel stay has you checking in around 3 p.m. and checking out by noon. This new last-minute-travel app is looking to upend that tradition by giving guests more flexibility to choose when they arrive and depart. AsYouStay has partnered with more than 50 properties in New York City, including the Park Lane and the Paul Hotel, and a dozen hotels in Miami’s South Beach, with properties in Chicago and San Francisco coming later this year. Android, iOS; free.

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