Bid on Boutique Hotels For Less

PHOTO: Stayful.com allows travelers to bid on boutique hotel rooms, such as Public Chicago.

A new booking site aims to get cost-conscious travelers inside boutique hotels for less.

Stayful, which officially launched on Wednesday, lets you bid for rooms at a range of independent and boutique hotels across the country for savings of up to 42 percent.

"We currently feature over 500 boutique and independent hotels in six markets: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and San Diego," said Stayful.com co-founder and CEO Cheryl Rosner. "We're planning to expand to four more cities by the end of the year: Seattle, New Orleans, Phoenix and Washington, D.C."

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Properties range from Public Chicago to The Standard in New York City to The Lodge at Torrey Pines, a prestigious resort located in La Jolla, Calif.

Hotels can choose to accept or decline the bid offers, similar to Priceline, but with less-commercial accommodations. During the beta testing period, customers received a minimum discount of 10% across markets, with the average discount being 27%.

The site, which allows bidding for hotel reservations within 30 days, could be seen as a boon to last-minute travelers, but with more flexibility than apps such as "Hotel Tonight."

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But it will also help unique lodgings fill vacant rooms.

"Stayful is going to change how thousands of hotels like ours do business and attract new customers," said Steven Goldman, vice president of hotel operations at Amsterdam Hospitality.

"Lost revenue from unsold inventory has always been a nagging issue for independent and boutique hotels," he said. "It is encouraging that there is now a real solution that's better suited to our customers and hotels."

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