We’re so used to using search engines like Google or the new Bing Travel to look for travel deals (and metasearch engines like Kayak or Travelocity to book trips) that it’s easy to forget one “old school” way to do it….
The visitor’s Web sites that belong to the destination where you’re going.
For example, this fall I’m going to be attending the Association for Women in Communications (AWC) conference in Seattle WA, and speaking at the Oklahoma Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Tulsa OK.
Here’s where I’ll be looking around….
*** The Visit Seattle Web site has links to various deals and a lodging booking engine running down the right side of its Visitor Center Page, plus you can follow @SeattleMaven on Twitter for up-to-date local info.
*** The Visit Tulsa Web site has local accomodation deals all on one page, and a free discount coupon book for local attractions that I can order ahead of time – it would be nice if it was also available online, though, like the one from Hutchinson, Kansas or these deals from Fort Worth, Texas. Don’t forget @VisitTulsa on Twitter, either.
Be persistent; some tourism Web sites inexplicably bury the links/info for discounts. Look hard for family packages that combine lodging and tickets to an attraction – SeaWorld San Antonio has these all the time.
Headlines may not be accurate, either – the Travel Iowa Web site has a link for “summer deals” but when I skimmed through it, I could see many offerings that are good all the way through September.
More examples – the Legendary North Dakota site has a bunch of ND vacation packages and the Orlando, Florida visitor’s site is packed with bargains. The city of San Francisco has this family package that includes a bunch of goodies like cable car passes, plus here’s the whole list of “City by the Bay” packages with many tied to their big King Tut exhibit this fall through spring 2010.
(Hint – if there’s a blockbuster museum exhibit in a city, you can often find package deals on city tourism/CVB (Convention and Visitor’s Bureau) Web sites that include lodging and tickets to the exhibit.)
If a site hasn’t been updated and still has “summer deals” up, poke around or even make a phone call, because there are certainly “fall deals” going on right now.
Yes, this all applies outside the US as well - Paris passes and bookings, anyone?
Do you have a tourism/visitor’s Web site favorite that consistently offers good deals on the site? Please share with us in the comments.