If you are planning your summer travel, you're probably checking a number of travel sites, looking for the best deal on a hotel or resort.
But which site really offers the best deals? A new report may surprise you, because it claims the competition we would expect is largely gone as a result of mergers.
Typically, if you're looking for a good deal on a fight or hotel, you might start by entering your dates on Orbitz or Expedia, two of the biggest travel consolidators.
Don't like what you find there? Perhaps you'll check Travelocity,CheapAir.com, OneTravel.com, or for a hotel, Trivago, which advertises heavily on TV these days.
But a new report from the Consumers Checkbook advocacy group says much of the competition is an "illusion."
It says many of the major sites are now owned by two companies, either Expedia or Booking Holdings, owner of Booking.com, and formerly known as Priceline (the Priceline websitestill exists, but the name of the ownership group has changed).
For instance,Expediaowns its "competitors" Travelocity, Hotels.com, Orbitz and Trivago.
Consumers Checkbook says as a result, many of these sites tend to show the same hotel and airfare prices, because they are all going to the same database to get their results. So a room on one site for $149 tends to be $149 on almost every competing site, it claims.
How to find a lower price
Spending time entering all your info on multiple sites just to find the same airfare or hotel rates in the end is, apparently, a waste of time.
Consumers Checkbook says the dates of your trip make much more of a difference than which travel site you use to book the trip. So be sure to try different dates before you book.
Finally, when you decide on a place, check that hotel or resort's website directly.
You may find they have a better deal than any of the consolidators, especially if you become a member of their rewards program, and in that case you don't waste your money.
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