Being a long time fan of hotel booking websites and particularly Booking.com, I haven’t really bothered checking anywhere else in the past. There is a trip to Nice (France) coming right up, and after changing hotel reservation several times I decided to look elsewhere – just in case. Well, what a surprise – here is what I found:
Expedia has amazing day deals. This is how I managed to get a hold on a hotel I wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Instead of paying 250€ for 3 nights in central Nice, I’m only going to pay 117€ for a 3* centrally located property. I’m still impressed with this deal. By the way, it was gone before I knew it. So next time I’ll be surely looking on this website!
Hotels has loyalty program, granting every 10th hotel booking free of charge. The rates a similar to Booking.com, so I never really bother to book with them. This may change in the future if they will offer some good deals.
Booking is (although rather expensive), still a favorite choice due to their high variety of properties, affordable prices and outstanding customer service (read a story How they saved my holiday). What I like about Booking.com is the simplicity and great design – easy to understand even for my non-English speaking mother. Still, I’, a bit disappointed in the price which I considered to be good – Expedia beats them in most occasions.
Priceline is known for it’s concept of bidding on hotel prices without knowing exactly what hotel you will get. This may be a good solution if you are not after a certain chain, but looking a better price instead. Still, I personally wouldn’t consider it as an option, because ending up somewhere you don’t want to be may ruin the holiday experience.
Not enough time to go through all of them? Try trivago.com to compare rates on all listed above!
Prices at different hotel booking websites for 3 nights in Nice, France
|Kyriad Nice port***||147€||147€||147€||132€|
|Hotel de La Buffa***||165€||180€||165€||162€|
|Villa Bougainville ****||252€||252€||252€||228€|
Why hotel booking websites?
First, of course it’s the price. Due to high volumes, these websites a able to offer competitive prices, which are often cheaper than booking directly with hotel. It’s not uncommon that different hotel booking websites offer the same hotel and therefore compete in price. Usually they all have a base rate and add some costs on their own on top of the price. For example, Booking.com can decide when to make a sale or when to raise the price if the demand is high. Prices for the same hotel may fluctuate depending on the day of the week.
How to get the best deal?
There’s no ideal recipe – everyone has do decide for themselves how much time and effort they are willing to sacrifice. I like to check on hotel prices and adjust my bookings (the ones that have free cancellations) if the price goes down. You may check on rates once per day or once per week. Alternatively, you can book a hotel once and just forget about it. Simply check across different websites listed above and pick the best option.
Descriptions may lie
Although hotel booking websites may not tell you this, hotel descriptions (and photos) may not always tell you the truth. It’s best to read the reviews left by fellow travelers and look at general review score. It’s important to remember the area where the hotel is located and take it into account. For example, centrally located hotel may be loud at nights but will compensate with a good location (and less trips/walking).
Don’t leave it till the last week
Book your holiday accommodation in advance. Based on my personal experience, the sooner you get it booked, the better. Make sure it has free cancellation, so you would have the opportunity to cancel if you change your mind. Keep an eye on the prices from time to time and plan your trip according to what you want to do. Remember – the best trips are the once crafted carefully and filled with sights and amazing experiences. For example, our roadtrip to the USA didn’t consist of just staying in one place. Instead, we visited a lot of them!
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