I got talking recently to a guy who runs Internet hotel booking services for a living and naturally I had to ask him how to get cheap hotel rooms online. He suggested two services – Travelaxe (a downloadable app) and “SideStep”:http://www.sidestep.com/ which installs inside your browser (IE or Netscape only, apparently).
I tested these using London as an example over the weekend of Nov 15 to Nov 16 and trying to find the cheapest possible rooms. SideStep failed to find the “Atlantic Paddington”:http://www.newatlantic.co.uk/ hotel (really a hostel) which has some of the lowest prices and neither has many hostels or B & Bs – primarily because these are generally not yet ‘plugged in’ to the major reservation systems. As a result you may be better off going to (for example) “ase.net”:http://ase.net/servlet/HotelList?type=8%2C4&dist=2 and contacting the individual B & Bs and hostels listed individually.
Still, either may be worth a try if you travel on business and need/want to stay in hotels instead of B&Bs.
P.S. both apps are free of charge and the creators make their money via the commission they get from sending traffic to the hotels when you book through them. As far as I can tell this commission doesn’t raise the price to you…