A GUIDE TO FINDING THE BEST ONLINE HOTEL BOOKING SITES: 10 KEY FACTORS

Are you planning to travel anytime soon? Or you have had enough of this quarantine life and need a break? Whatever your reason might be, but everyone deserves good hotels at the best price. We are here to help you find that one hotel to meet your all criteria and be pocket-friendly at the same time.

To find the best-priced hotel you need to compare the prices on most of the sites and even on the hotels’ website because sometimes the hotels do not enable the deals or discounts on third-party websites. So before you go ahead and book your hotel, make sure you checked their website too.

I know there are many websites and finding the perfect hotel for you can become a bit overwhelming. There are so many options with so many facilities and amenities listed all together. But if you notice carefully every website’s deals are often the same and often not the same. You might even find that on one website they are charging two hundred bucks extra, but there is complimentary breakfast added to it. Every individual can choose according to their preferences.

We are here to give a solution to all the hassle we have to go through while looking for a hotel. We selected the best of the hotel booking websites of all time and put across all the pros and cons of them. While finding the best website the key points that we tried to keep in mind are budget-friendly, reputability, loyalty program, refund policy, payment method, and native currency.

1. Booking.com

Website: https://www.booking.com/

Booking.com has an array of services other than hotels. They have flights, car rentals, airport taxi service and nearby attraction guide too. It is the most reliable hotel booking website that is also easy to use. It is one of the top conventional trip planning sites. They return with the most selective search results by far keeping your options open with a great mixture of hotels, apartments, and hostels. But of course, you can modify your search results greatly.

  • So far they have the best prices to offer.
  • A very quick and user-friendly customer service.
  • There are different types of reservations. Some of them are easy to cancel and even without any cancellation charges but, some cancellations require extra charges. So while booking keep that in mind.
  • The reviews on booking.com are more reliable than other sites because they have reviews from verified customers. Even the guest reviews are verified. Not to mention no algorithm is a hundred percent efficient.
  • The maps on booking.com are more precise than other websites. But in my opinion, never leave a box unchecked so double-check it on Google maps too.

2. HotelsCombined.com

Website: https://www.hotelscombined.com/

It is a master search tool to search in a wide range of hotel booking sites comprising booking.com, Agoda, Expedia, and Hotels.com. Other than these popular websites they also add the hotel’s website to the comparison list. The layout of the website is also very user friendly as it lays all the options from the same hotel. For example, the price for a queen bed and king bed or the price for a duplex room and suite is comparable here at the same time, side by side. They show the prices that include tax as well as excluding taxation depending on your choice. They have tie-ups with many premium hotels and airport hotels that lead to greater discounts. An uncommon feature of HotelsCombined.com is it shows the defaulted price of the total trip instead of the nightly charge, which is good and bad at the same time. It might be a quick fix for a last-minute booking price but makes it tough to compare with other websites. It is good for large reservation or family reservations as it has a larger selection of rooms than booking.com


3. Expedia

Website: https://www.expedia.co.in/

Expedia has two more umbrella sites that are Travelocity and Orbitz. All three of them have the same website layout, fonts with some minor tweaks. But surprisingly they all have different hotel search results varying from each other. The top hotels will be the same across the three websites but the next hotels on the list do vary in order. The prices are of course the same on all three websites, as they are all powered by Expedia. The prices at the websites are good but not the best as compared to booking.com or hotels.com. Keep an eye on these websites for limited-time deals or offers this is when they gain customers. The website has great dependability and consistency with minimal hassle. Expedia is great for a flexible traveler as they have the option f changing or canceling a trip and an easy refund policy. Most of the hotels even have free cancellation, which is the cherry on the top. So you can book your trip even if you are not sure and you are getting a good deal, and you can cancel at any time if you change your mind.


4. Agoda.com

Website: https://www.agoda.com/?pcs=1&cid=1889001&hl=en&selectedproperty=5874073&city=1808

Agoda is one of the leading hotel booking websites. They serve in a great range of hotels and homes, monthly stays, flight plus hotels, and also flights. If you book in a bundle you get more discounts that are if you book your flight and hotels together you may end up paying way less than any other website. Their cancellation policy is very simple. Their easy cancellation indicates top properties that are helping you stay as flexible as possible by providing free cancellation up to the day before check-in on most bookings. Earlier Agoda was mainly serving in mainland Asia but now they are in the US to a. They have a good selection of hotels at prime locations with the best prices around. Even, if you are lucky enough, you might get some lightning deal that is way better than its competitors. But do not expect that always. Other than this Agoda is a pretty good website with a user-friendly layout and the best prices in the metro cities of India too, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai.


5. TripAdvisor

Website: https://www.tripadvisor.in/

As the name suggests TripAdvisor is best for hotel reviews and place reviews. You might not find the best deals here, but before planning out your trips do check out their website for trip planning. They have great details of costs, travel time, and even on entry ticket cost. You may find several hidden gems here in a city. The luxurious hotel you are planning to stay in is worth it or not? That will you will find our here. TripAdvisor searches most of the major hotel booking sites, as well as some lesser-known ones; when applicable it also includes the hotel’s website. You can also book directly with TripAdvisor, though its rates are from Booking.com. But another fact they do not source results from Agoda and a few more websites like that. So you may miss them if you are only relying on TripAdvisor. There is no perfect site for hotel booking. They have their pros and cons. It largely depends on your travel destination and the websites tie-ups with hotels in that particular destination. Other than that trip advisor provides a pretty good price comparing and hotel reviewing outline.


6. Trivago

Website: https://www.trivago.in/

Trivago is another well-known website to compare prices from different sites. They comprise many lesser-known sites too. From bookin.com to Agoda and Expedia gets a place in their listing. So there are several less popular hotels that you will find out there. One thing that catches my attention was that the deals on a particular hotel were not in ascending order. Like the best price was not on the top. Instead, another deal that was higher in cost got the first place. Written in big, bold green fonts. Very odd! Anyway, if you scroll down a bit, you will surely find the same deal at a lesser price. This could be a sponsorship thing or their faulty algorithm. So if you are using Trivago do a very good checking on the listing of the deals. Trivago’s mix of hotel sites searched is strong and includes hotel sites that travelers may not have otherwise known about, which could result in finding some of the best hotel deals out there. With over 175 million aggregated hotel ratings and more than 19 million images, Trivago gets the number 6th position on our list.


7. Hotels.com

Website: https://in.hotels.com/

Hotels.com is the best site to find the cheapest hotel but it is also the site that has the most number of complaints about canceled bookings and overbooked hotels. The site layout is pretty simple and user friendly. No hassles no extra bull in there. They have loads of filters that will narrow down your search very specific to your choice. They have a nice mixture of the low budget as well as high budget hotels. They also expand their service to no hotel areas like guesthouses and apartments. The search result also includes greyed sold out hotels. That does no good than giving you anxiety about all good hotels is quickly selling out. However, their customer service has been top-notch. They usually respond quickly and take their good time to fix it. The cancellation and refund policy is also easy. Details are clean and crisp that you help to get the actual answers to your issues. Overall my view on this website is it is a decent hotel booking website with tons of filters that you may not end up using all of them, but it is good to have them. And if you are looking for a pocket-friendly trip then this website will help you to get it done.


8. Priceline

Website: https://www.priceline.com/

Its design layout is visually very appealing and it is one of the best hotel search engines. It is among the easiest site to navigate the best hotel at your price. To be honest none of the hotel booking sites differ much from each other from the aspect of price. It focuses hugely on the downtown tourist friendly places giving you access to good deals. Their tag lines such as ‘name your own price’ and ‘express deal’ are a unique yet effective feature. The former one lets you enter the price you are willing to pay, which a hotel can accept. The latter takes you to the flash deal section that gives you lightning deals but you will not be able to know the hotel name until you book the hotel. I know it looks gimmicky but it offers you the best options for significant savings. More like a hit or miss but if you are ready to take chances I wish you all the very best.


9. Kayak

Website: https://www.kayak.co.in/

This is again a website with many filters that also shows results from different booking sites. You can compare the prices across several repudiated sites. Just like Trivago, here they do not show you the best deal at the top, but as you scroll down you will find the same deals at a better price. Their website works with an algorithm that shows results based on their recommendation. Although the recommendations criteria are vague and the higher price deals populate first because it is on top this leads to a better deal for people who like to scroll down and check every possible deal. The point of a hotel booking site is to get you the best deal at the best price so going by the so-called “recommendation” is kind of absurd.  Anyhow the website has a clean interface, and one of those apps that are good for your phone too.


10. Hotwire

Website: https://www.hotwire.com/

It is again one of those websites best for your last minute bookings. As the name suggests, it offers a “hot rate.” This feature is similar to Priceline’s “express deal” where you will not be able to see the name of the hotel until you book it. It is a great website if you don’t mind fewer details about the place you are going to stay and of course ready to take chances because, as I mentioned earlier, it can be a hit or miss. The details are less but not vague. They provide some efficient details within a short radius that if you do your research properly, you could guess the property by yourself. Hotwire has tie-ups with leading global hotel brands like Kimpton and Hyatt, so you can be sure that you will not end up in a ramshackle property.


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