Your favorite hometown restaurant is a hidden gem, known to only a selected few culinary fanatics, and all of you practically have to give a secret handshake to get inside its doors.
But lo! One day you show up for your favorite Casa de la Maison Blue-Plate Special and, to your horror, to find yourself elbowing your way through a swarm of – yikes – out-of-towners.
What’s up with that?
Online aggregator sites, that’s what.
These are sites, like YipIt.com or Dealery.com, that comb the Web for multiple-daily-deal or group shopping sites (like Groupon.com or Tippr.com) for specific locations; you can put in a search request for discount theater tickets in, say, Las Vegas, and the sites will show discounted tickets, if any are available.
So those hordes at your now-not-so-secret restaurant may have learned about its two-for-one coupons, thanks to one of the aggregator sites.
These sites are popping up all over, but a recent “New York Times” story zeroed in on the most popular sites. Here they are:
Travelzoo.com: This site has deals best tailored to the vacation crowd. Travelzoo makes deals with local businesses but spends most of its time hawking things that vacationers are interested in. For example, $67 ballet tickets in Atlanta can be grabbed for $34. But watch out: Some discounts last for only a few days; others need a minimum number of buyers before the discount kicks in. Travelers either get vouchers or can buy directly from the supplier. Travelers also have seven days from the sale’s conclusion to cancel the deal without a penalty.
YipIt.com: This site’s search is more wide-ranging than Travelzoo’s. It covers 20 North American cities. It filters results by category, like wine-tasting, museums, golf and other activities presumably of interest to vacationers. A caveat: By the time you get to the offers, they may be sold out; also, travelers gotta sign up for a daily email to be able to use the search tools.
Dealery.com: More extensive than YipIt in the cities it covers (87 at this point), its sources of information are less numerous. But you don’t have to sign up for a daily email; go click on the site, pick your town and check out the deals.
TheDealmap.com: This Menlo Park-based site combs through 250 deal sources in the United States and shows results on a map or in a list. But then again, deals might be sold out. There is an app for iPhones and Androids that shows deals based on your current location — but printing out a gift certificate on the spot may be a bit tough.
But it’s fun to know that good deals can be just a click away.
Happy bargain hunting.
For more information on budget travel, check out www.boomersafari.com