Booking hotels these days has never been easier. Thanks to the internet, hotel chains can easily take reservations online. If you want to look at hotels across a variety of chains, there are plenty of third party sites that can help. However, not all sites are cheap, easy to use, or cover a good choice of rooms. Which such a plethora of options, a good site can often be easily overlooked.
With the abundance of hotel booking websites such as Expedia, Hotels Combined, Trivago, Hotels.com etc I’m curious as to what websites everyone uses for hotel bookings – say your top three sites & why. a) URL of hotel booking site name & b) reason you use them (eg user friendly app, 10th night free, nil payment up front, no cancellation fees etc)
As mentioned in our knowledge centre article “5 star sleeps for free”, using hotel search engines can often result in a best rate guarantee claim with a chain to get your first night cheaper or even free. It should also be noted that many sites fall into the chains third party categorisation, which often means those with status will not get benefits and frequent stayer points will not be earned, if the stay is booked through those sites. When it comes to pricing, not all are created equal on the internet
Hotelscombined and openroomz are my starting point for all bookings. Booking.com is next (booking.com sometimes offers a further 10% off if you are a returning customer). From hotelscombined and openroomz I’ll book either through the lowest price, or through the hotel direct. Some of the so called ‘discount’ sites (hotelclub I think?) are outrageously expensive. Even the two Expedias (.com vs .au) can have huge price differences. I booked on Qantas once when they sent me a $50 voucher immediately after making a booking. Gave me a free night’s hotel.
For that longer stay, or vacation, Hotels may not be the best choice. Sites like Fairfax’s stayz.com.au offer homes and apartments usually with a minimum 2-3 night booking. And of course there are sites that try to bridge both markets, where the product is usually a private offering which can have its benefits.
I’m finding quite good value using airbnb.com Quite often I can get an apartment for a lot less than a hotel would cost. Was able to get a small apartment in Shinjuku next year for roughly $71 a night with a wifi egg included in the fee. Saves me renting a phone for the trip. Just booked a few nights in a taipei apartment for < $80 a night, and the owner is also lending me a wifi egg. It’s very convenient to have a large fridge / washing machine / sometimes a microwave. I also find an apartment a bit more private.
Accommodation can be a significant cost on any trip, be it of long or short duration. With a market in play that can see a hotel or apartment room varying greatly in pricing for the same stay, it pays to look around. Where do you normally book your stay, do you prefer a hotel or an apartment, and do you have some tips on how to get the best value for money by using a certain website? Join the discussion HERE.