I wanted to write a post about available hotel options in Charlotte, NC for the upcoming DO and tried a little free hand illustration of the options. I copied a selection from Hotels.com, then hovered the mouse of the properties to learn the names, and cross checked those with the Chains that operate the individual brands. Obviously I know who runs the Westin, but I still don’t know who the heck Hampton and Holiday Inns are run by, since the only reason I would be in one of those would be at the personal invitation of one of the Kardashian cousins weddings, which happens most weekends during the spring when I am not cruising around the real Hamptons sipping fine champagne from the backseat of my UberX ride.
As you can see, my drawing above clearly shows what’s what in Charlotte for hotels, and I think perhaps my critics were being a little harsh when they said that it looked like a Hippopotamus high on hallucinogens trampled on a map with crayons stuck between his claw like feet, however, I can recognize when I have a knack for something, and when it might require a little improvement.
I must admit, it is quite a pain in the arse when you look at a city and want to check what points options there are available, I typically use a paid consolidator site like hotels.com for this, but it throws in a lot of ‘junk data’ since it includes boutiques. Though in fairness, this junk can offer some real value as I get a more robust feeling for pricing of the town, and can calculate a dollar per point value should I opt for a reward redemption vs paying real money.
Enter – AwardMapper.com
After much heckling, I decided to try out this tool again, and I ran a similar search for options in Charlotte, here is what they came up with (I added in the Green Star using my own under-rated crafting skills to show the location of the hotel:
As you can see, the AwardMapper.com interface is clean and easy to use, and it quickly shows the hotel options available from:
- Best Western
- Club Carlson
The interface is neat, you enter the city and you get all results, then you filter out the programs you don’t have access to by clicking on the names of the hotel chains. You can use a slider above to limit the range of properties available.
My verdict on AwardMapper.com
- Very simple to use
- Clean and friendly interface
- A very tool to drop into quickly to do exactly what I sought to do, and check all award options in a certain city
Nice to see improvements
The current criteria for filtering is ‘points required per night’ unfortunately I think this data set is too disparate between the various programs to be an effective filter, as it compares a 40,000 point mid tier Hilton with a 27,000 point top tier Hyatt, doesn’t work for me. As soon as different points systems are compared then the points per night feature becomes useless. Possible alternatives would be to use Hotel Category, there is still some difference across programs here, but the data set is tighter, or perhaps a curated list, where it is set to ‘Budget’, ‘Mid Ranged’, ‘High End’ and properties are put into these baskets based on a range within their own hotel category.
The final improvement (which would add revenue to the site) would be to bring up a short list of revenue options for the same town, so you can compare hotel point options and then show comparable dollar per point value vs just booking for cash (as I currently do using Hotels.com) I think if they brought that in, the sites value to the reader would skyrocket, and they could make a bunch of revenue from affiliated revenue ticket sales.
I’m adding AwardMapper.com to my list of sites that are pretty damn awesome, and suggest you check them out yourself.