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Charlotte-based Smart Depart makes hotel stays easy

Looking for an easier, smarter way to book your next hotel reservation? Then try Smart Charlotte-based, Smart Depart is a new hotel decision website that goes beyond mere pricing and allows travelers to compare hotels against each other and then makes a recommendation as to which hotel they should book.

Launched in August 2014, Smart Depart is a newcomer to a smarter way to travel. I had the opportunity to chat with Matt Yagey, Founder of Smart Depart and here’s what I learned about this new hotel decision engine.

Q. How did Smart Depart concept come about?

A. I was traveling to new cities and using travel websites to book my hotel. I found these websites did a great job with giving me the best price, but these sites were missing information I was looking for, such as proximity to restaurants, nightlife, and shopping. It would take me an hour to analyze all the information from a variety of sites to get all the information I needed. There wasn’t a website out there that gave me everything I wanted when booking a hotel in a new city.

Q. Besides the best price, what other factors does Smart Depart consider when giving a recommendation for the best choice of a hotel in a given city?

A. Pulling information from all the major travel sites, our decision algorithms will give the user reviews, star ratings, amenities, travel distance from the airport, proximity to restaurants, nightlife, and shopping for hotel selections. We have taken everything into consideration to give users an intelligent recommendation.

Q. When I was checking out Smart Depart’s website, I noticed I was sent to Expedia and Orbitz to book a hotel reservation, so will Smart Depart eventually book hotel rooms?

A. We have partners and our site will push you off to book your hotel with our partners. Down the road, we are planning for users to book a hotel directly from our website.

Q. You have stated that Smart Depart searches all the major travel sites. Which ones?

A. Just to name a few, Expedia, Orbitz,, Travel Velocity,, Priceline, Yahoo Travel, and many more.

Q. Is Smart Depart free?

A. Smart Depart is free to use.

Q. Does Smart Depart give choices outside the US?

A. Currently, we are in the US, because we pull through so much data to give the user an intelligent recommendation, we are going one step at a time. Europe is up next, which we roll out in a few months.

Q. What are your newest features?

A. Recently, we added Uber and Taxi Fare Finder. Most of those traveling by taxi want to know how much it’s going to cost to get from the airport to their hotel. Users can find estimated rates when comparing hotels.

Check it out for yourself -