Now this is really cool. Not only will SearchParty.com help you find the best prices for your hotel stays — and that’s total cost, not just room price — they’ll pay the hotel stay (up to US$500) for three lucky winners each month through December 2006! That’s 27 winners between now and the end of the year! All you have to do is share your online hotel shopping experience with them.

SearchParty.com launched the beta version of its new hotel price search engine yesterday. This search engine allows you to compare nightly rates, taxes and booking fees, and cancellation policies for more than 40,000 U.S. hotels across most major hotel brands and leading online travel sites, including Orbitz, Lodging.com, One Travel, Reserve Travel, LastMinuteTravel.com and many others. You can even compares prices for specific types of rooms, so you don’t waste time comparing the price of a no-view, double room with a full-view, king room.

In addition, you can download a free desktop tool, Search Party Desktop, which makes it possible for you to compare hotel prices while you are shopping on Expedia and Travelocity, even though these companies do not actively participate in Search Party or other travel search engines. Once downloaded, Search Party Desktop automatically activates when you search for hotels on Expedia or Travelocity and compares the selected hotel’s price to other sites in Search Party’s system to identify if lower rates are available.

“Search Party helps prevent consumers from overpaying for hotels,” says Eric Christensen, founder and president of Search Party and a 20-year hospitality industry veteran. “We understand the cost of a hotel stay is significantly more than just the average nightly rate and we’ve created Search Party to provide a complete view that helps our users compare the total ‘real’ cost of the stay to find the best all-around value that saves time and money.”

These real costs can differ by as much as 30 percent, or an average $50 per booking, SearchParty.com found.

Of coarse, when you save money on your hotel stay, you have more to spend on your vacation. And, if your vacation happens to be attending a convention, then you’ll have more to spend in the dealer room. 😉

For more information about SearchParty.com, visit their website. To learn more about the contest, visit www.searchparty.com/savemoney.html.

PS: The image they use while information is being “fetched” is a bloodhound (see above image) — very cute when it wags its tail.