Isn’t it fun to go on a trip? But if you don’t know where and how to find the best deals, it can end up costing you a lot of money. Let us know if we can be of assistance.
You can save hundreds of dollars if you find a good hotel room deal. The hotel’s website is always an option, but is it the best way to book a room? For example, what about all of the well-known OTAs? Which one has the most affordable prices?
The best prices on flights, car rentals and cruises have all been explained to you here. This time, we’ll show you how to do the same thing in hotel rooms.
If you’re looking for the best place to book a hotel at the lowest possible price, we’ve scoured all of the best and most popular websites (plus a few that aren’t so popular) for the answer.
Always Book Rooms Directly From Hotel’s Official Website
Many times, it makes sense to book directly through the hotel’s website, whether it’s Marriott, Hilton or IHG. Direct booking is preferable if you’re a member of a hotel’s loyalty programme and are trying to gain or maintain elite status.
If you book directly, you’ll be able to take advantage of reduced member rates and earn loyalty points and elite night credits. You can earn a lot of bonus points through various hotel promotions.
If you don’t book directly with the hotel, they may not be aware of your status as an elite member!
It’s possible to miss out on perks like lounge access and free breakfast by booking a hotel room through Orbitz, for example, if you have Marriott Gold Elite Status.
Top Hotel Booking Sites
Booking.com’s search results are the most diverse when it comes to lodging options, including hotels, apartments, and hostels. In the end, it all depends on your personal preferences. There is an additional step to filter out hostels from hotel search results that other booking sites do not have, making it more cumbersome to book a hotel than it would be otherwise. Booking.com, on the other hand, has something for everyone. When comparing low-cost hotel rates, HotelsCombined’s handy hotel search engine displays the total cost up front (excluding taxes) so that you can quickly determine which hotels actually fit within your budget.
As with its flight search, Kayak’s hotel search has a clean, easy-to-use interface and a wide range of available filters. Other hotel booking sites’ prices are also displayed, allowing for easy comparison. However, unless you specifically search for price, the first hotel price result is often higher than the lower-priced options further down the list. According to Kayak’s hotel search results, “Recommended” hotels are ranked higher than those that are not. Often, the most expensive hotels show up first in the search results, and at times the lead price is significantly higher than other comparable options. The point of hotel search engines is to help you find the best hotel prices, so it’s not clear how this helps. The site’s minimalist design has its advantages and disadvantages, including the fact that the option to sort by price is hidden in a grey drop-down menu at the top of the page. As long as you’re willing to spend time comparing prices, Kayak provides some excellent options and price comparisons.
Aside from having one of the most user-friendly hotel search sites, Priceline has one of the more visually appealing design layouts of the major hotel search engines. The usability of these hotel search sites can go a long way toward improving the experience of searching for the best hotel prices because none of them are significantly different in terms of rates or price comparison. To be expected, Priceline’s prices are comparable with other online travel agencies (OTAs) and its results are mainly focused on downtowns and tourist attractions. “Name Your Own Price” and “Express Deal” have always been two of Priceline’s most enticing features. A hotel can accept a final price you’ve agreed upon if you use the first option (with a nonrefundable booking). For a limited time only, you can get a great deal on a hotel without knowing the name of it. These hotel search options, despite being a little gimmicky, can save you a lot of money.
- Hot Wire
Hotwire is a good choice if you don’t mind making a last-minute booking with limited details and “Hot Rates,” which hide the hotel name in order to give you a better rate (similar to Priceline’s Express Deals). With so many details about the property and a fairly narrow location radius in Hotwire’s Hot Rates descriptions, it’s possible to guess the hotel you’ll be staying at despite the fact that it’s still a bit of a gamble. Hotwire has partnered with well-known hotel brands like Kimpton and Hyatt, so you can rest assured that you won’t be staying in a shabby motel when you book with them.
Although the savings vary by location, Hot Rates are consistently more competitive than the standard Hotwire rates, which aren’t always the best price compared to other hotel booking websites. Most customers have a problem with Hotwire’s “24/7 support,” which is supposedly unhelpful despite being available to you at all times.
Hotels.com has a plethora of filters that you can use to narrow down your search for the best hotel deals. According to its initial findings, there appears to be a healthy mix of low- and high-end hotels in and around major cities. In a hotel search engine, that’s what most people are looking for: a wide range of options that can be easily narrowed down. The prices were comparable to other online travel agents (OTAs). Hotels that are “fully booked” show up in the hotel search results, which serves no purpose for the customer other than to create a sense of urgency that says, “Look! It’s too late to book a room at some hotels! It’s time to move!” Non-hotel properties such as condo hotels, guest houses, and bed and breakfasts can also be found on the Hotels.com website.
For the best hotel booking site, HotelsCombined is an excellent metasearch tool that searches a wide range of sources, including OTAs and hotels’ own websites to find the best deals. For example, “queen bed” vs. “room chosen at check-in” are two examples of different room types that you can compare in search results. Additionally, you can choose whether or not to include or exclude taxes when booking a hotel room. As an alternative to the more common nightly rate, HotelsCombined included many airport hotels in its top results and defaulted to a total price for your entire trip instead. Even though neither of these issues is a problem on their own, they make it more difficult to compare prices on hotel websites that only show the nightly rate.
- Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz
You’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between these three old-school hotel booking sites apart from their colour schemes and fonts. There are a few minor differences in the layout of Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz, which are all owned by Expedia Inc. The hotel search results are a little different. There was a consistent top hotel result for each test search, but the order of the hotels below it varied. All of the Expedia-powered websites had the same prices, of course. Hotel search engines like Hotels.com aren’t much different from each other when it comes to options, prices, and useful hotel search filters. There is something to be said for a hotel booking site’s consistency, even if the praise is a little tepid. These three hotel search engines are more likely to beat their competition if you keep an eye on their deals and limited-time offers.
Hotel bookings for Asian destinations are still the focus of Agoda, as evidenced by the company’s home page, which features prominent real estate for Malaysian and Thai properties. With Agoda’s arrival in the United States, it now offers a hotel search experience on par with some of the best sites on this list. Hotel search results on Agoda are often more affordable than those on Priceline, with a total booking cost more than $200 less on Agoda, compared to Priceline (with a coupon code). As with all of these hotel booking sites, Agoda is worth checking out for the best hotel deals, but don’t expect the same results every time.
The hotel search on TripAdvisor, like that on HotelsCombined, displays some of the best hotel deals from various websites. You can search TripAdvisor’s vast library of reviews and begin your hotel booking right away thanks to the tool’s integration into the general search function. The lowest price and the source of that price are displayed in the initial hotel search results, so that you know where (off TripAdvisor) your hotel booking will take place. If the hotel’s own website is available, TripAdvisor will also search the hotel’s own website. The rates on TripAdvisor are provided by Booking.com, but you can book directly through the site. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” hotel booking site, and the results you get depend on your location and the site’s partners. TripAdvisor, for example, doesn’t show results from Agoda, so it would have missed the deal mentioned above.
That bargain found on Agoda was indeed discovered by Trivago. That price was not prominently displayed, but rather Booking.com’s price was prominently displayed in large, green text. Odd. Second in the hotel search results, the cheaper Agoda deal was shown in small grey text alongside several others. There were multiple hotel deals lower than the Booking.com price that Trivago found, but none of them received the most attention. In a number of other cases, Trivago found that the lead price was higher than the best available hotel rates. In addition to the usual suspects like Expedia, Priceline, and Booking.com, Trivago searches Agoda and other lesser-known hotel booking sites when you conduct a hotel search on Trivago. Trivago’s hotel search results should be carefully examined to ensure that Trivago isn’t hiding a better deal further down the list.
TravelPony was originally a social media-only deals site but has since expanded to help anyone in need of a hotel deal. Whether you’re looking for a hotel in the United States or abroad, there are a plethora of options to narrow down your search. When searching for a hotel, hostel, or bed and breakfast, you can narrow your options by type of establishment (including hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, apartments, and even farms), amenities (free WiFi and free cancellation), and even districts. Even if there is only one option that meets all of your needs and desires, they’ll find it! TravelPony links to a number of lesser-known booking sites, so are sure to do your research before making a final decision!
Simply typing in “Hotels in (insert city here)” on Google.com will bring up a list of hotels in that city. (The “Google Hotels” page is also an option.) Unlike any of the other hotel booking websites listed above, this feature is integrated into Google Maps. Rather than using the name of a hotel to identify a location on a Google map, hotels are marked by their prices. As metasearch should be, Google’s hotel search tool is fairly cost-conscious. The hotel’s name, features, and booking options are displayed when you click on a price. If you’re looking for a simple, no-nonsense hotel search engine that doesn’t include all the gimmicks of discount hotel sites and commercial hotel search engines, Google is the obvious choice.
Final Thoughts:- A hotel room can be expensive, but knowing where to look can help you find the best deal.
- If you’re a member of a loyalty programme like Marriott’s or Hyatt’s, you’ll save money by booking directly. If you book elsewhere, you won’t get points or elite night credits.
- Start with travel search engines like Kayak or TripAdvisor if you don’t have any brand loyalty. You can use these sites to figure out where the best deals are. Special fares like Kayak Hacker Fares or Priceline Express deals are also worth keeping an eye out for when planning a trip.
- A vacation package can save you time and money when booking a hotel and flight. In many cases, these can save you a significant amount of money.
- An OTA with its own rewards programmes like Orbitz, Hotels.com, or Expedia might be a good choice if you frequently book smaller independent hotels.
Use a travel rewards credit card whenever you book a hotel, no matter where you go. This will be the first of many trips to come!