The Guardian survey suggests it is best to bypass sites such as lastminute.com, Travelocity or Expedia and instead go to websites that scan every travel website for the best deal. We found Asda's cheap price on the Malmaison by going through travelsupermarket.com. It also found the cheapest deal at the Hilton in Berlin – the underlying provider was travelrepublic.co.uk – and at the Sheraton in New York, where the underlying provider was lowcostusa.co.uk.

Hotelsearchengines.net and kayak.co.uk use a similar model, and also found us better value deals than Expedia and Travelocity. But it pays to spend time looking at two or more websites – although Kayak turned up decent deals in the Hilton and the Sheraton, for instance, it found us the most expensive room at the Malmaison. Examine carefully the prices quoted; some headline deals did not include tax or were for the wrong dates.

Generally, the Guardian found that going direct to the hotel's own website failed to pay off – prices were the same as those charged by the big operators and higher than on the comparison sites.

Get the full story at the Guardian