1

13 Best Hotel Booking Sites – The ULTIMATE 2019 Guide

Finding the best hotels when travelling is one of the most time consuming and important parts of planning your trip.  It’s also one of the biggest costs, so picking the wrong place can be an expensive mistake.

We’ve put together a list of the 13 best hotel booking sites that will help you find the best hotel at the lowest price possible.

Booking.com is the closest thing to a one size fits all online hotel booking website, but it isn’t necessarily the best option for you.  Read through the list and find out which tool has the most unique properties, and which ones will help you grab a bargain.

Booking.com

Best Online Travel Agent

Overall:  10

Booking.com homepage

Booking.com is one of the world’s most popular and best hotel booking sites.  It is a one-stop hub for researching the best hotels in the world, finding the best prices and then booking online – all within the one website.

Ease of Use:  10

It is clear that millions of dollars have been spent on perfecting the user experience on Booking.com.

Everything is easily located.  Search filters and sorting options are efficient to use and offer advanced functionality.  

Page load speed is 6.6 seconds, and considering how vast the amount of information you can find on this website is, we find the website loads really fast.

Prices:  10

Hotel prices on Booking.com are consistently lower or the same as the other major hotel booking sites on this list.  We are confident when we book with them we are getting the best price.

That said, Booking.com doesn’t offer opaque/mystery hotel bookings which tend to have even lower prices.  

This is a common complaint across all of these hotel booking engines, but we occasionally encounter lower prices when booking directly with a hotel.  Always remember to check a hotel’s website before booking on any of these websites.

Inventory:  10

Booking.com tied equal with Expedia and Agoda with the highest number of hotel results returned in our tests.  

Rewards:  9

Booking.com has a good rewards program.  Once you have booked twice on Booking.com you will be eligible for 10% off on thousands of hotels for future bookings.

This is very similar to Hotels.com who also offer 10% off, but you do not need to book in increments of 10 nights to get your reward.  

That said, it doesn’t apply to hotels that haven’t opted into the scheme – don’t worry, heaps do.  

Booking.com Genius programme

Our Thoughts

Booking.com is always our first choice when booking hotels online.  It’s where we head to first.  

Firstly, the review system for Booking.com is extremely robust, second only to TripAdvisor.  Every review is from a verified guest who has stayed in the hotel they are reviewing. When checking hotel reviews, no matter who we book through we check the reviews from Booking.com.

We especially appreciate the way Booking.com breaks down their reviews based on factors such as cleanliness and location.  It makes it easy to recognise areas where a hotel may be lacking.

Booking.com reviews site

Cancellation policies vary between hotels, but for the most part, we have found it extremely easy (and usually free) to cancel bookings.  Sometimes we find a cheaper price after booking, so we just cancel and rebook for free.

The sheer number of high-quality images that can be found on Booking.com for every single hotel is insane.  It is incredibly helpful to be able to look through lots of photos provided by previous guests.

Perhaps most important of all, the prices on Booking.com are consistently cheaper or identical to prices found on the other hotel booking sites in this list.  We tend to look around when booking hotels for the cheapest price and almost always end up back at Booking.com.  

Occasionally, booking directly with the hotel will work out a bit cheaper.

Pros:  

  • The extremely robust review system
  • Effective search filters
  • Listing pages offer a LOT of information about the hotel
  • Price match guarantee
  • Great pricing structure shows the entire cost you will have to pay
  • Helpful customer service – handy when things to eventually go wrong
  • Easy/free cancellation
  • Excellent rewards program

Cons:  

  • No option to accurately filter by price

Best Feature:  

Booking.com is an all round top performer.  Everything is done right which is why it tops our list as the best hotel booking site.  No matter who you are and what you are looking for, you will be able to find it here – from hostels to luxury resorts.

Booking.com consistently excels across all areas of hotel booking.  If you use just one hotel booking website, then this should be it.

AirBnB

Overall Score: 10

AirBnB

AirBnB is a website where anyone can list their home, apartment or a private room for guests to rent through the website.  It is basically a marketplace that connects people with a room or house available, with people looking for accommodation.

Ease of Use:  9

AirBnB has one of the best websites we have ever used.  From a design perspective, it’s beautiful with large photos and perfect responsiveness.

The website loads fast on multiple devices allowing us to focus on our search for the perfect accommodation, rather than waiting for the page to load.

Once you have a location in mind it is easy to filter the available options by price, beds, facilities and amenities.  Location is one of the most important features of a booking site for us, so the huge map view was particularly beneficial for us.

Prices:  10

Technically, AirBnB is not a hotel booking site.  This means that our standard test to compare prices is irrelevant.

We still find the value on AirBnB to be exceptionally good.  You don’t get all the bells and whistles of a hotel, but you do tend to get a great quality or interesting place at a great price compared to a hotel.

When booking as a group (for example if you have a family), it’s practically impossible to beat AirBnB’s value.

Inventory:  7

The total number of places available on AirBnB is significantly lower than the hotel booking sites mentioned previously. 

We decided not to penalise them too significantly due to the uniqueness of the options.  AirBnB gives you access to the largest inventory of accommodation options that you cannot find on any of the other websites.

Rewards:  0

Unlike most of the hotel booking sites above, AirBnB does not offer any rewards schemes for booking through their website.  This may change in the future.

For now, the closest thing they have is their referral programme.  

Either way, reward schemes are mostly just a way to lock you into one platform.  We prefer to not be tied down, so we haven’t penalised AirBnB’s overall score for not offering this.

Our Thoughts

AirBnB lacks a lot of the features offered through hotel booking sites.  For starters, you have fewer options for filtering results, no reward schemes and far fewer amenities from the majority of the accommodation options on the site (when compared to hotels).

AirBnB Listings

It is also not the best website for finding the highest rated hotels in a particular area.  A lot of the places on AirBnB have very few reviews making the review system far less robust than our top option Booking.Com.

However, there is one area that AirBnB excels in, where all the others fall significantly short.  Finding unique and eclectic properties. We are more than happy to overlook all of the other issues above for the ability to easily find new and exciting places to stay.

Pros:  

  • Easy to find unique accommodation
  • Amazing map feature
  • Filter your search to a dollar value
  • Straightforward and functional search filters
  • Hosts are often super helpful with great tips for the area
  • Discounts for longer stays

Cons:  

  • Small inventory compared to the other booking sites
  • Most AirBnBs don’t offer hotel-like amenities (such as laundry, onsite bar or concierge)
  • Often antisocial – you are unlikely to meet other travellers
  • Often restrictive cancellation policies
  • The best places often go early – book well in advance

Best Feature:  

What we love most about AirBnB is the ability to find the coolest and most unique places in an area.  Often these places aren’t in the typical tourist locations, allowing us to explore things outside of the tourist track and live more like the locals.

Hotwire.com

Overall:  9

Hotwire homepage

Hotwire is the ultimate mystery hotel booking website right now.  In case you don’t know what this is, you select where you want to stay and Hotwire serves up a series of hotels at often significantly discounted prices in this area.  

Of course, there’s a catch:  They don’t tell you the name of the hotel.

Ease of Use:  9

Hotwire’s page load speed was surprisingly low at 11.1 seconds.  This is unexpected as the website overall seems very lightweight and simple.  Researching and booking hotels is extremely easy and the map functionality is fantastic.

Prices:  10

When you book a Hot Rate mystery hotel on Hotwire you will always be getting a better deal than if you booked the same hotel anywhere else.  For this reason alone, we had to give them a 10 for price.

That said, we found the pricing fairly misleading.  It would give a price and an ‘original price’ which is crossed out symbolising it’s the price you would normally pay for this hotel.  Turns out, that ‘original price’ is closer to the ‘highest price’ you could possibly pay for that room.

Or maybe it’s a flat out, we’re not sure.  Either way, don’t trust it when it says “54% off”.  In our experience, it tends to be more like 10-20%.

Inventory:  8

Your actual options are significantly reduced when booking mystery hotels on Hotwire when compared to the thousands of hotels you could choose from with Booking.com or Expedia.  

But Hotwire seems to have the best inventory of these sorts of deals that we could find.

Rewards:  0

Hotwire doesn’t offer a rewards program which is a bit of a disappointment.  

Our Thoughts

Hotwire actually narrows down the hotel you are booking quite a lot.  It provides information such as ratings and location. It also gives you a list of four hotels and guarantees the one you are booking is one of these.

With this information, you should be able to make a very good guess which one you are booking.  If you have narrowed it down, or you are happy with any of the four hotels, then booking these hotels will be a great deal.

Don’t forget to investigate some of the hotels’ direct websites, or even reach out to them, as they may be offering a similar or better deal themselves.

Pros:  

  • We have always found the prices on the mystery hotel rooms to be competitive and lower than the full price
  • The really good map tool

Cons:  

  • Sometimes the hotels you get have very poor reviews, but they do show you the average rating before booking
  • Misrepresenting the actual, full price of the rooms 
  • No rewards program

Best Feature:  

Hotwire is the best place to find last minute, discounted rooms.  You won’t know the hotel name until after you book it, but you will typically get a lot of value for your money.  

We’ve found that sometimes the deals aren’t mind-blowingly great, but we always get a cheaper price than retail.

HostelWorld

Overall:  9

Hostelworld

HostelWorld is an online platform for finding and booking hostels all around the world.  It is the best booking site for hostels and includes a huge database of hostels with great pricing.

Ease of Use:  8

From a user experience perspective, we found HostelWorld sufficient.  The pages loaded fast and the website overall was simple and easy to use.

Far fewer options for filtering your hotel results.  That said, the most important options (price, rooms, rating) were available and worked extremely well.

Prices:  10

If you are looking for the cheapest accommodation anywhere in the world, HostelWorld is the best place to look.  You’ll find a bed for as little as a few dollars a day on HostelWorld, whilst hotel booking sites like Booking.com wouldn’t even both to list these places.

For higher quality hostels, we still found the pricing from HostelWorld to usually be either the same or lower than the other websites on this list.

Inventory:  8

Our tests showed HostelWorld returned an inventory of about 95% smaller than Booking.com. Agoda and Expedia.  

However, HostelWorld has a very specific niche: hostels.  In our experience, HostelWorld offers the best database of hostels in the world.

Rewards:  0

HostelWorld doesn’t offer a rewards scheme.  If you find the same price on another website such as Agoda or Expedia, you would be better off booking on the other website as you will receive rewards points from the other website.

Our Thoughts

If you are a budget traveller, then HostelWorld is for you.  If you like to book dorm room style accommodation, then you will appreciate the database of hostel accommodation available to book through HostelWorld.

There seems to be a negative attitude towards hostels.  The truth is, every hostel we’ve stayed at has been quiet, clean and an overall pleasant experience.  We can’t say the same for all the hotels we’ve stayed at.

We often book private rooms in nice, well-reviewed hostels through HostelWorld.  If you are willing to sacrifice a few amenities, this is a great budget alternative to booking hotels through a hotel booking site.

Hostelworld search page

Pros:  

  • Huge range of low-cost accommodation – hostels, backpackers and cheap hotels
  • Easy to find either dorm rooms or private rooms
  • Filters and sort function worked well
  • Generous refund policy – they offer a full refund if you find a lower price on any other website within 24 hours of booking
  • Very useful reviews

Cons:  

  • No rewards scheme whatsoever
  • Inventory limited to hostels – we view this is as a good thing, but it does mean Hostelworld will be useless for a lot of travellers

Best Feature:  

HostelWorld’s large selection of only Hostels makes it the perfect booking site to find low-cost accommodation around the world.

Hotels.com

Overall:  9

Hotels.com

Similar to Booking.com, Hotels.com is an online travel agent offering a huge database of hotels to book directly within the site from all around the world.  It is part of the Expedia group.

Ease of Use:  9

This online booking site loads very fast and is straightforward to use.  All the information you require is clearly displayed and the sort and filter options work well.  

Prices:  9

Prices are very good, they are usually similar to the other hotel booking sites on this list.

Inventory:  10

Hotels.com has a huge inventory of hotels all around the world.  

Rewards:  10

Hotels.com offers one of our favourite rewards programs.  Unlike Expedia, this one’s a lot easier to understand. Book 10 nights and you’ll get one night free.  Easy.

Our Thoughts

Hotels.com is one of the best online hotel booking sites.  Prices here tend to be identical to the other websites in the Expedia group of websites. 

In the end, we find it comes down to personal preference.  If you like the user experience of hotels.com, then it will work well for you.  

We particularly love the rewards scheme which effectively gives you 10% off on your booking when you book stays in multiples of 11.  For shorter stays, other booking sites have better rewards schemes.

Pros:  

  • Great rewards program – one free night for every 10 nights you book
  • Price tracker notifies you if the prices change
  • Good price match guarantee

Cons:  

  • We usually don’t find the best prices at Hotels.com
  • User experience is not quite as good as others on this list

Best Feature:  

A very solid performer, their best feature is probably their rewards program.  They also have a price tracker that will update you if prices change.

Agoda.com

Overall:  9

Agoda

Agoda is a hotel booking site that offers a massive inventory of hotels available to book directly through the website.

Ease of Use:  9

Agoda has a fast loading website and offers a large amount of search functionality and sort options for refining the hotels you are searching for.

We found it extremely easy to use, roughly on par with Booking.com as one of the best hotel booking sites in 2019.

Prices:  9

In Asia, Agoda often has the best prices.  For the rest of the world, Agoda is still very competitive and we found the pricing to be comparable to the other booking engines on this list.

We scored them down slightly for the lack of significant discounts, such as those offered by Priceline Express or Hotwire.

Inventory:  10

Agoda has a massive inventory of hotels – over 925,000.  In our tests, we found the number of hotels tied with Booking.com and Expedia.  From hostels to luxury hotels, you will definitely have plenty to choose from.

Rewards:  10

Agoda’s rewards scheme allows you to earn points worth 4-7% of your booking.  These points can be used for your next booking.

We love how Agoda’s rewards program is extremely simple and straightforward.

Our Thoughts

We almost always check Agoda when looking for a hotel.  It is a great all-rounder that closely rivals Booking.com.

It’s obvious that Agoda has held a significant focus on the Asia region since its inception.  If you are looking for a hotel anywhere in Asia then Agoda is most likely your best bet.

We found that occasionally we find lower prices on Agoda for some of our favourite hotels in Asia when compared to Booking.com.  Usually, the difference is small but it’s always worth checking this site.

The look and feel of the site are great and it offers a generous rewards scheme.

Pros:  

  • Great filtering options in its hotel search engine
  • Flexible payment options and cancellation policies
  • Insider deals for members can yield significant savings – remember to make an account
  • Great prices for members, especially in Asia where it has earned a reputation as the cheapest hotel booking site.
  • Good rewards program – about 4-7% of your booking value
  • Great customer service

Cons:  

  • Can’t filter price to the nearest dollar
  • Sometimes the results page takes a little while to load

Best Feature:  

We were once in Phuket during an unfortunately timed tropical storm.  The boats weren’t operating, which ended our plans to take a boat to the island of Koh Lanta for a few days.  We called up Agoda to reshuffle around a lot of our accommodation.

They were extremely helpful, contacted the hotels on our behalf and arranged for us to stay an extra night at one hotel for us at a reasonable price.  

For us, the customer service at Agoda went beyond what we expected from a large company like this.  

HotelsCombined.com

Overall:  8

HotelsCombined

HotelsCombined is a search engine for booking hotels.  You will be able to search for hotels from a wide range of hotel booking sites and compare prices between them.  These are useful for saving time checking prices manually on all of the different booking websites.

Ease of Use:  9

Overall, HotelsCombined has a simple and easy to use design.  A lot of options for filtering and sorting, with a good map feature.  We would prefer some sliding scales for the filters, especially on price.

Prices:  7

Pricing was fairly standard with the other hotel metasearch engines.  We didn’t like how it ordered the pricing in a weird order – it wasn’t sorted by the lowest price.  We suspect that they are showing prices from their own hotel booking sites first – they are owned by the same company that owns Booking.com and Agoda.

Inventory:  9

Huge inventory.  For some reason, our tests returned slightly less than Booking.com and Expedia, but this isn’t really something to be concerned about.

Rewards:  0

HotelsCombined doesn’t offer their own rewards program, but you will qualify for any rewards schemes on the sites you click through to.  For example, Agoda’s rewards scheme.

Our Thoughts

HotelsCombined is just another hotel search engine that aggregates hotel pricing and data into a nice, clean interface.  If this is what you are after, it will suit you fine.

We felt as though this website was particularly biased towards its own partners.  It seems to show Booking.com, Priceline and Agoda listings the vast majority of the time, even when other sites offer lower prices.

When using a metasearch engine we do so to find the cheapest prices, so we prefer to use a site that is less biased like Google Hotel Search. 

Pros:  

  • Large inventory
  • Easy to use interface, loads quick
  • Good map feature

Cons:  

  • Very biased ordering of hotel prices – doesn’t show the lowest first
  • You can find cheaper prices if you look elsewhere, such as booking direct or using opaque deals
  • Filters could be improved – in particular, you cannot filter price down to the nearest dollar

Best Feature:  

HotelsCombined is easy to use and will often direct you to the hotel booking site with the lowest prices.  Just remember to check out all the prices and don’t trust that the first price HotelsCombined shows you is the lowest.

TripAdvisor

Overall:  8

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor is a hotel metasearch engine.  It offers search-engine-like functionality and extensive filtering and sort options.  It is a great tool for finding hotels you may like to stay at, as well as for comparing prices between different hotel booking sites.

Ease of Use:  8

TripAdvisor is an extremely easy website to use.  All the information you require is displayed, plus it’s easy to filter and sort the results.

Our page speed tests return the slowest page load time of all the hotel booking sites and search engines on this list at 15.1 seconds.  Despite this, it didn’t feel slow to us so we recommend giving it a try. Sometimes the numbers aren’t always accurate.

Prices:  9

Prices here are consistent with what we’ve seen from the other hotel metasearch engines.  A lot of smaller hotel booking sites are included than what we saw on KAYAK and Trivago, so prices can be lower if you are willing to use these.

Inventory:  10

Huge inventory of hotels.  Our tests returned results on par with Booking.com, Expedia and Agoda.

Rewards:  0

TripAdvisor doesn’t offer a rewards program.  This is standard for hotel metasearch engines.  You have access to the rewards schemes offered by all of the website’s partners.  You are also not locked into using TripAdvisor, which is nice.

Our Thoughts

TripAdvisor is our first pick for a hotel search engine.  Although we often find ourselves comparing prices between the hotel booking sites on TripAdvisor, our main use for it is their extensive and comprehensive database of hotel reviews.

Checking hotel reviews is a huge part of choosing a hotel, so we recommend including it in your hotel booking process.

TripAdvisor Reviews

Aside from this, TripAdvisor offers a lot of other resources that will help you with your holiday.  In particular, we find their forum has answers to almost any holiday related question we’ve ever had.

Pros:  

  • TripAdvisor has the largest network of reviews, plus they often go into significant detail
  • Great filtering and sort options, including the ability to filter by price to the nearest dollar
  • TripAdvisor forum is amazing

Cons:  

  • You can often find better prices through special offers and memberships with other sites, or by booking direct

Best Feature:  

TripAdvisor has the most comprehensive and significant review system of all the hotel booking sites in this guide.  We love to use TripAdvisor when booking hotels, even if it’s just to check the reviews before booking on another website.

Priceline

Overall:  8

Priceline

Priceline is a hotel booking site that offers a large inventory of hotels that can be booked directly through their website – similar to Booking.com and Expedia.

Where Priceline excels is in its Express Deals  This is where you can achieve massive discounts on unknown ‘mystery’ hotels.  The catch is, you don’t know the name of the hotels so you can’t read reviews.

Ease of Use:  8

A really modern design that loads fast.  Filters and search worked well and it was easy to view the Express Deals separately.  

One gripe is that a lot of our searches for Express Deals returned no results.  It would be great if they could provide some more information on this page, such as which locations or dates will return results.

Prices:  10

For non-Express Deals, the prices are fairly similar to the other hotel booking sites on this list.  We like how Priceline differentiates itself from the other sites through their Express Deals which offer better prices than their competitors.

Inventory:  8

In our tests, Priceline offered slightly less hotel inventory than Booking.com, Agoda and Expedia.

This isn’t really a deal breaker as there was still a huge number of hotels available.  We would have been happier if there were more Express Deals available, especially for less popular locations like Southeast Asia.

Rewards:  5

Priceline doesn’t really offer a suitable rewards scheme.  They have a Visa credit card, which if you sign up for, you will receive rewards on purchases through Priceline.

There are members-only discounts but we don’t really consider this to be a rewards scheme.

Our Thoughts

Priceline is our favourite ‘mystery’ hotel booking site.  We only use it for the Express Deals section as we feel it isn’t the best hotel booking site on this list.

We find the prices here are consistently a lot cheaper than all other options, but come at the cost of not being able to check the reviews before booking.

However, you can easily get around this by checking Google maps in the location provided by the Priceline listing.  We can usually make an accurate guess as to which hotel we are booking before making a decision.  

It seems like Priceline simply offers these opaque deals as a way to get around the agreement to offer the same prices across all of their sites.  By hiding the hotel name, they can offer significantly discounted prices.

For us, this is the best cheap hotel booking site as we can regularly find great last minute deals on four and five-star hotels.

Pros:  

  • Priceline Express Deals can offer huge discounts on good hotels
  • Often easy to guess the hotel before booking
  • Find a four or five-star hotel at a more affordable price

Cons:  

  • Although significantly discounted, express deals are non-refundable and non-transferrable
  • Not all deals are significantly better than the original price
  • Less popular destinations returned zero results for Priceline Express

Best Feature:  

This form of hotel booking site isn’t new, but we like how easy it is to work out what hotel you are booking before paying.

Expedia (Including Travelocity & Orbitz)

Overall:  8

Expedia

Expedia is a direct competitor to Booking.com and the entire Priceline group.  Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz all aggregate a huge inventory of hotels and offer full booking functionality through their respective websites.  

The data used and website interfaces are almost identical across these three websites.  They are essentially the same booking website.

Ease of Use:  6

Expedia’s page load speed was reasonable at 6.4 seconds, but we found the time it took to load results was a bit slower than other hotel booking sites.  The loading screen also makes it feel longer.

Filtering and sorting weren’t as effective as Booking.com or most of the other sites on this list.  Being forced to view all hotels in a wide price bracket became frustrating.

Prices:  9

Pricing for Expedia is pretty much in line with all other online hotel booking sites.  It’s all fine.

If you are after bargains, then there are other sites out there designed to get you the lowest price possible.  

Inventory:  10

Expedia has a huge range of hotels.  Our tests returned a similar number of hotels as Booking.com and Agoda.  We suspect these are more or less the same hotels, so we are confident that there is sufficient inventory on Expedia.

Rewards:  10

Expedia offers a great rewards scheme called Expedia Rewards.  Each time you stay somewhere you earn points that can be used to book more hotels with Expedia in the future.

As you earn points, you also move into higher membership tiers.  Silver and Gold tiers give access to exclusive travel offers, bonus points and priority customer service.

Our Thoughts

Expedia is one of our favourite hotel booking websites.  It offers very similar functionality to Booking.com, making it a more than suitable alternative.

Usually, we prefer to use some of the other booking sites on this list where possible.  This mainly comes down to personal preference as there is very little differentiating Expedia from Agoda or Booking.com.

One thing to take into consideration is the rewards scheme.  If you frequently book hotel stays it can become financially beneficial to lock yourself into one website for the majority of your transactions.  

Expedia’s rewards program offers great deals for people who book a lot with their website.

Pros:  

  • Our favourite rewards program which rewards you with points for each hotel stay
  • Huge inventory

Cons:  

  • No price match guarantee
  • Can’t filter by a specific price range – sometimes the price ranges were guide-wide

Best Feature:  

Expedia’s rewards scheme is the best out of all of the hotel booking sites on this list.  This is the best feature of Expedia, but the rest of the platform works efficiently and would be a good alternative to Booking.com.

Trivago

Overall:  7

Trivago

Trivago is a metasearch hotel booking engine, similar to KAYAK and Google Hotel Search.  This means you can search a database of hotel prices from multiple hotel booking sites to find the best price.

Ease of Use:  8

We found this to be the easiest hotel metasearch engine to use on our list.  The page loaded in 4.7 seconds, which is faster than a lot of our preferred hotel booking sites.

When searching for hotels, all of the required filters are available with good sorting options.  We appreciated the ability to filter by price to the nearest dollar.

There are no gimmicks, once you find the hotel and price you are after you can click straight on through to the final booking site.

Prices:  8

Prices here are good and often find the best deal.  We had two major issues with Trivago’s pricing system. 

Firstly, we found that the cheapest deal was commonly found further down the page.  We suspect that the Trivago sorting algorithm sorts by the offer that makes THEM the most money.  This isn’t always the cheapest for us. They are owned by Expedia so it would make sense that they would be biased.

Secondly, you can sometimes find cheaper members-only or special prices on the same websites listed by Trivago.  This is a common complaint we have for all hotel metasearch engines.

Inventory:  6

Trivago certainly has a large inventory of hotels.  That said, our tests failed to locate a large number of lesser known hotels around the world.  These are hotels that could be found on other booking sites, such as Booking.com.  

Rewards:  0

Trivago doesn’t offer any sort of rewards program.  This is fairly standard for hotel search engines.

You will still earn points on some of the hotel booking websites that you click through to when you book.

Our Thoughts

Some of our favourite hotels are smaller and less well-known.  These are missing from Trivago.

Prices aren’t cheaper than doing the research yourself through sites like Booking.com, Agoda and the hotel’s website.

For us, metasearch engines have two aims.  The cheapest prices, and the widest inventory.  Trivago doesn’t achieve either of these things, so we don’t find it particularly useful as a booking site.

Pros:  

  • A lot of hotel booking sites are listed on Trivago, including some smaller ones
  • Special offer prices are often included

Cons:  

  • The best deals aren’t always at the top, so you will still need to hunt around for them
  • Direct booking deals and members only prices are often excluded – if you are after the best deal, don’t end your hotel search with Trivago
  • A lot of small, less well-known hotels don’t return prices on Trivago

Best Feature:  

Members-only compare prices from a wide range of online travel agents.  Price ordering appears to be less biased than other hotel metasearch engines, despite Trivago being majority owned by Expedia.

Google

Overall:  7

Google Hotel Search

We all know Google as the biggest search engine in the world (by a long margin). This extends to booking hotels as well.  You can now use Google Hotel Search to find hotels and compare prices from a lot of the hotel booking sites on this list.

Ease of Use:  7

Google hotel Search is extremely easy to use – in fact, you can interact with it directly from the Google results page.  The results all load fast, and booking can be achieved through the site with a few clicks.

It was marked down due to a serious lack of functionality around sorting and filtering the search results.

Prices:  4

We really only found the pricing useful as a comparison tool, before then clicking the links to check out the websites directly.  

Prices are either the same or higher than all other sites on the list, so it isn’t the best hotel booking site if you’re looking for the best deal.

Inventory:  10

Google’s inventory appears to be very significant, pulling through every single hotel from the main hotel booking sites such as Booking.com and Hotels.com.

Rewards:  0

Google doesn’t offer any rewards to customers for booking through their website.  However, you will be eligible for any rewards that are on offer through the websites that are advertised.  Bear in mind, you will most likely need to select “book on Agoda”.

Our Thoughts

Google Hotel Search is an easy tool to use if we are wanting to compare prices between different hotel booking sites.

That said, we regularly find the prices here to be higher than booking direct.  We also tend to receive better deals by skipping hotel search engines like this and going straight to either Booking.com or Hotels.com and logging in.

Although, Google Hotel Search is the best hotel search engine available today.

Pros:  

  • The map feature is quite good – it is powered by Google maps
  • Compares prices from the two major hotel booking groups in the world – Priceline and Expedia – as well as other sources
  • Includes a link directly to the hotel’s website – handy for checking direct prices

Cons:  

  • Significantly more difficult to use than some of the other sites on this list
  • Extremely restricted filtering options
  • Often doesn’t find the best prices
  • Online travel agents (OTAs) can pay to have their ads appear at the top

Best Feature:  

Easily compare prices between the different hotel booking sites then clicking through to check the prices on the cheapest ones.  We sometimes use it to narrow down the options rather than checking 12 different websites.

KAYAK

Overall:  6

KAYAK Hotels

KAYAK is a hotel metasearch engine.  It collates the best hotel deals from across the internet to find you the best publicly available deals.  It isn’t a hotel booking site.

Ease of Use:  7

KAYAK’s website is very simple to use.  This is largely due to having fewer features than a lot of the other websites on this list.  Page load speed is reasonable at 8.5 seconds, albeit slightly slower than others on this list.

Prices:  6

KAYAK is useful for comparing pricing, however, the pricing is inconsistent.  The price tended to be different on the final page you click through to than the price listed on KAYAK.

Inventory:  10

This hotel metasearch engine combines hotels from a range of different sources – including the Priceline and Expedia groups of websites.  You will certainly be satisfied with the number of hotels on this website.

Rewards:  0

KAYAK has no rewards scheme, however, when you click through to book on one of the hotel booking websites you will be eligible for any rewards schemes of who you end up booking through in the end.

Our Thoughts

KAYAK’s user interface is good, fast and offers a lot of functionality, especially with the comprehensive search filters.  We particularly like the map tool which works well to find hotels in a certain location.

It is one of the best hotel metasearch engines available, but we find it often falls short when it comes to finding the best prices.  In particular, booking direct is often cheaper than all of the options found on KAYAK.  

We also found it doesn’t include members-only prices and doesn’t take into consideration the countless special deals and rewards schemes offered by a lot of the hotel booking sites that are compared on KAYAK.

We particularly didn’t like how the prices found on KAYAK were usually lower than the prices found on the sites after clicking through.  This is because KAYAK doesn’t include taxes or other expenses.

It is a useful place to easily find links directly to the hotel listings on a variety of hotel booking sites.

Pros:  

  • Great map functionality
  • KAYAK Hacker Stays sometimes lead to cheaper accommodation by combining bookings from multiple sites
  • Free price tracker alerts you when prices go on sale

Cons:  

  • Often the direct price on the hotel’s website is cheaper – but you should always check this anyway
  • KAYAK doesn’t include member discounts or rewards schemes offered by other hotel booking sites
  • The price you see isn’t always the price you pay – for example, they are exclusive of taxes
  • We felt like some hotel booking sites were missing from some of the listings

Best Feature:  

KAYAK is an excellent tool to use for booking flights, guides or tours.  Basically, it CAN be a one-stop shop for your entire trip.  

It’s not our favourite website for finding cheap hotels, but it excels in other areas of trip planning.  Their Flight Tracker, for example, is well worth checking out.

Our Instagram

Subscribe

Popular Posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *