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Hotel booking websites: The face off

February 25, 2014

Agoda.com, Booking.com and AsiaRooms.com, so which site gives the best deals?

FEATURE

baiyoke-sky-hotel-suite-viewBy: Michelle Brohier

Booking hotels have never been easier since the dawn of the internet. There are all sorts of websites available that’s dedicated to bringing you the best deals available for hotels across the globe, all just a click away. But with so many websites available, the problem comes with which one is really giving you the best deal?

We start off with vetting three of the most popular hotel booking websites available on the internet to see which one gives us the best online experience and of course, the best prices.

Agoda.com

agodaAgoda is one of the most popular online hotel booking websites around. We start off on the landing page which features its top selling travel destinations all over the world, which is properly sorted out by continent. You can choose the date you wish to book the room from as well as the number of people you wanted accommodated.

Sorting and specific selections
Once you’ve made your selection, you’re sent to a list of hotels of which you can view sorted by star ratings, review scores or hotel names. On the left bar of the website, you can choose if you want a particular hotel facility at the side, such as swimming pools and internet. There’s also the option of accommodation type, hotel area or even if you want a specific chain or brand of hotel.

The site also states if someone is looking at the same hotel you’re interested in; if someone has booked it earlier; as well as if the room is limited.
Hotel information 
Agoda knows what you want and states straight off with a logo if there’s wi-fi available in the hotel. Rather than go by the hotel stars, you can also check out the scores given by the users. The higher the scores, the more prominent the hotel will be on the list.

Once you’ve selected your hotel, there will be more information available such as reasons why users love this hotel. This could range from distance to the airport and accessibility to public transport.

Booking process
Agoda accepts all credit cards entered manually or through Paypal and states if there is a free cancellation before a certain period (if this is not stated, cancellation will forfeit the entire amount paid). During booking, the site states more of the room information and you can even add in special requests such as wanting a non-smoking room, early check-in or even twin beds. Some of these requests may require additional payment and the site recommends contacting the hotel to confirm them. All prices displayed are in the currency you choose.

Agoda only states the price for one night and it doesn’t include the tax until you reach the final booking stages of your hotel room.

Summary
Pros: Gives a lot of good details on the hotels, lots of reviews and user feedback.

Cons: Doesn’t state full prices of the booking until you reach the last booking page and doesn’t sort according to your budget.

booking_comv1Booking.com

Its landing page also has a list of hotels available, although the links are mostly catered to your current location. You can then select your dates and the number of people who will be staying in the hotel. You can also specify your search straight off from the landing page with its advanced options.

Sorting and specific selections
You can filter your hotel selections via price, although they set the range for that. There are also star ratings, meals, hotel type, review score, facilities, hotel themes and districts which make Booking.com one of the most specific sites around for your selections.

As you browse through the hotel rooms, it even states when the latest booking for the room was made, as well as what type of room is available. The address of the hotels aren’t specific though, but you can click on the map to see the exact location of the hotel.

Hotel information
Once you click on the hotel you want, you’re greeted with detailed pictures of the hotel. There are even short, simple reviews available at the side of the picture, which makes it a lot more appealing. You can find out more information of the hotel either by continuously scrolling down or clicking on the information at the top of the pictures.

There may be some pop-ups to state if the hotel is at a good location, or if any of your fellow countrymen have booked in the same hotel too.

Booking process
Booking states the entire price of the hotel, including if you’re staying for 2 nights, and it also includes tax. Free cancellations are also stated with a specific date included, and you can also set up your booking for future online access so that you can make changes or cancel your booking without any charges before a specific date.

The final price is stated both in the currency you choose and that of the destination hotel.

Summary
Pros: Site has very specific search options, shows full price with tax as well as in both currencies, and has smart deal highlights.

Cons: There are too many pop-ups that could be distracting, clicking on a link will open a new tab which may make your browser cluttered, does not state the price of a room clearly during browsing.

AsiaRooms.com

asiaroomsAsiaRooms has a sleek look on its landing page as it features its selected countries and its top destinations. The site also offers travel articles and photos for you to check out as well. You can select your destination and the number of people staying as well as the date you wish to stay right on the top of the site.

Sorting and specific selections
You can sort your choices through price range from cheapest to most expensive, best discounts, name and star ratings. And on the left side of the site, you can set the price range for your budget as well as specify the facilities that you want.

The site may not get enough reviews though, so user ratings are not very useful here as one review is enough to bring a particular hotel noted on the list. Prices are stated at how much it costs per night at first.

Hotel information
Upon selecting a hotel, most of the information on the hotel is available on the left side of the site such as parking charges and even in-room entertainment. The list of rooms is simple, but you can click on more information to find out more about the room facilities.

Booking process
Once you select a room, it’ll state the full price in RM which includes all the taxes. It will also state if the room is non-refundable, or if there is a flexible cancellation which is allowed before a specific date. All the charges include taxes or any other hotel fees and is stated in the currency of the destination hotel.

Summary
Pros: You can be more specific with your budget easily and the site has a simple, easy-to-use interface.

Cons: Some hotels have no reviews thus the reviews; there may not have enough information about the some hotels and no specific pictures of the room you’re booking.

Which site gives the best deals?

All 3 sites claim to give you the best deals available. So we put them to the test to see how far this is true. We chose the same hotels on the same day to see where it is cheaper.

Take note that this was booked over a weekend in the month of May for two people. Prices are accurate on the day of research (as you know – these prices change daily!).

 

PARKROYAL, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Booking Site Room Selected Price Stated Additional Tax Total
Agoda.com Deluxe King RM595.00 10% RM654.50
Booking.com Deluxe King RM595.00 10% + 6% RM693.77
AsiaRooms.com Deluxe Double Room RM690.20 RM690.20

 

Baiyoke Sky Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

 

Booking Site Room Selected Price Stated Additional Tax Total
Agoda.com Superior Standard Zone RM431.26 10% + 7% RM507.59
Booking.com Superior Double or Twin Room RM508.00 RM508.00
AsiaRooms.com Superior Double or Twin Room RM507.12 RM507.12

 

 

Central Station Hotel, Sydney, Australia

Booking Site Room Selected Price Stated Additional Tax Total
Agoda.com Deluxe Queen RM723.43 10% RM795.77
Booking.com Deluxe Queen RM737 RM737
AsiaRooms.com Deluxe Double Room RM1478.28 RM1478.28 

 

Elysee Hotel, London, United Kingdom

Booking Site Room Selected Price Stated Additional Tax Total
Agoda.com Double RM1004.09 20% RM1205.88
Booking.com Standard Double Room RM1494 RM1494
AsiaRooms.com Standard Double Room RM1536.83 RM1536.83

The prices are sporadic and it’s hard to tell where the lowest deal is to be had. Moral of the story – do the legwork on ALL sites and don’t be so quick to believe a headline that blares “the best deals in town” until the website has walked the talk!

Have a great vacation!

This was brought you by Michelle Brohier from RinggitPlus.com. RinggitPlus compares credit cards, personal loans and home loans to help Malaysians get more for their money.


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