Hotels.com is a brand under Expedia Group, however until recently they’ve focused almost entirely as their name suggests, on hotels. They are probably best known for their generous rewards program which entitles you to one free night for every 10 that you book on the site. It many markets, Hotells.com is extremely popular, even more so that its parent, Expedia.
|With Booking Holdings (parent of Booking.com) as their parent, it should come as no surprise that Agoda delivers a smooth and reliable experience when it comes to booking hotels. Agoda is originally created in Singapore, which means that they are very strong in South-east Asian markets, as well as Asia in general. Whilst they might not be a household name to Americans and Europeans, they are in fact the largest OTA in several Asian countries and have a strong reputation.|
|Agoda offers both one-way and return flights, however it doesn’t offer any more advanced features like multi-stop or open jaw flights. While is interface is slick and easy to use, it only offers the option to search for “passengers” i.e. you can’t search for children’s prices. If you’re travelling as a family this might cost your dearly, but won’t make a difference if traveling as a couple or on business. One great option that is visible on many flights is seat selection, as this can be done prior to making your booking, whereas with many other competitors you can only do it afterwards – this of course is airline dependent. One massive disadvantage to booking flights on Agoda is that from our testing, they don’t display any useful information at all about baggage and change and cancellation fees – simply directing you to the airline’s websites. Without this kind of useful information, you’re probably better of just booking with the airline’s directly. For return flights, Agoda will package the departure and return flights together. While this makes it easy to select flight, it typically doesn’t give you as many options as selecting them separately. While the basic filters all work fine, there are no options to filter by transfer city, or airline alliance. The price calendar feature at the top of the search results is a nice touch, but we found that it’s missing a lot of prices which makes it not particularly useful. Unlike the main competitors, Agoda doesn’t provide any information about the plane apart from the model, so there’s no way to find out if the flight has Wi-fi or how wide the seats are, for example. We found that Agoda’s search works fairly well, supporting cities, states and countries. It doesn’t support searching by attraction, however we suspect that is not particularly useful to most people anyway.||Like most of its competitors, Agoda offers both prepaid and pay-at-hotel options when booking. They also have an Agoda Secret Deals program, where you can book hotels at heavily discounted prices, however the name of the hotel won't be revealed until after you book. One way that they differ from some other competitors is that they let you add options like breakfast as you book, rather than asking you to select the conditions when choosing your room. The quality of their hotel reviews is not bad, however there are a significant amount in languages other than English, which won't be particularly helpful if you're not a native English speaker. When we tested their search functionality we got a lot of mixed results. For example at first we didn’t think that it supported searching by state/province, however it turns out they do but the results typically only show up if you search for something else – odd. Like its parent company Booking.com, Agoda offers a best price guarantee where they will refund the difference if you see a cheaper price on another site. As with all these guarantees, make sure you read the fine print carefully as they’ll only match the price when the booking meets certain conditions. We love Agoda’s search results page. There’s lots of images of each hotel on the page, and you can hover your cursor over them to see an enlarged version. This makes it so much easier to compare hotels without having to go into every one individually. If the COVID-19 pandemic has got you worried, Agoda has lots of useful information about what each hotel is doing on in individual level, for example whether or not they provide masks. You can check both Agoda’s own reviews as well as Booking.com’s reviews on the site, and for Agoda’s own reviews you can filter by room type to see more relevant reviews – something that Booking.com doesn’t offer. Unfortunately, Agoda doesn’t include the hotel replies, even for the Booking.com reviews. Agoda also offers video content for some top-selling hotels, and when we say video content what we actually mean is a slideshow of some of the better images, combined with some user reviews. It’s quite nice, although I don’t think it would make me any more likely to book the hotel. They’ve got a cool map feature where you can see the nearby attractions and shops as points on the map, but unfortunately it doesn’t really show enough information to actually be useful. Agoda also offer price alert functionality so you can keep informed if there’s a price drop. This feature is slowly becoming more common across online travel sites, but a lot still aren’t offering it. One thing that we really like about Agoda is that rather than just saying “Breakfast”, they give detailed information about what kind of breakfast is on offer. Similarly they give detailed information about the restaurants available at the hotel. Once thing we hate is on the payment page there’s a “Holding this price for 5 minutes” countdown, which can be extended by pressing the button. These kinds of pressure selling tactics are typically fake and leave a bad taste in user’s mouths.|
|Pricing & Fees||Pricing & Fees|
|Our own tests found that Hotels.com is one of the pricier options available, and has similar, but slightly more expensive pricing than its parent company, Expedia. As with Expedia though, pricing in the Americas is particularly sharp, and we found that these two sites can sometimes offer significantly cheaper prices in the US and Canada. As with its parent company, Hotels.com doesn’t charge any extra booking fees, or credit card fees – everything is built into the price.||As with the other major competitors, Agoda do not charge any kind of booking fee or credit card fee for bookings. The only exception is for Pay-at-hotel bookings, where the hotel may charge a credit card fee – the same as other competitors. From our own independent testing, we found Agoda’s pricing to be excellent, rating number 2 overall in our comparisons. While this was a comparison of properties worldwide, it is overall evident that Agoda’s best pricing can be found in Asia. Being associated with Booking.com however also gives them access to some strong pricing in Europe and the Americas.|
|Unfortunately, we found that room availability on Hotels.com was lower than some of its competitors. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a worse deal, and it’s not worth writing them off over this. Interestingly, we found that it had worse availability than its parent, Expedia, whereas we expected them to have identical availability. This suggests that not all room inventory is shared amongst the sites.||From our own internal testing, availability on Agoda is excellent. It excels in South-east Asia and Asia in generally due to its own brand, and has strong coverage in Europe and the Americas, probable due to its relationship with Booking.com.|
|Hotels.com is available via mobile app on both iOS and Android, as via as having both mobile and desktop sites. Hotels.com have a whopping 86 country-language pairs, a seriously impressive effort that should be able to serve anyone no matter where on earth you are.||Hotels are Agoda’s main product, so as expected they are available through their iOS and Android mobile apps, their mobile website and their desktop website. Hotels can be booked in around 39 languages, so Agoda ranks very highly in this regard.|
|Payment Methods||Payment Methods|
Hotels.com accepts major credit cards like Visa, Mastercard and American Express. It can also process a number of smaller cards including JCB, Diners, BCcard, UnionPay, Discover and JCB. It also accepts PayPal both on the desktop site and on the mobile app, and you can also pay using Hotels.com own gift cards.
Besides Visa, Mastercard and American Express, Agoda also accepts a multiple other minor credit and debit cards including JCB, UnionPay, Discover and Diners. Besides cards, they also accept Paypal, as well as AfterPay for bookings in AUD. Overall, it has an above average number of payment methods, and a very smooth payment experience.
|A quick Google search reveals less than impressive reviews about Hotels.com on sites like TrustPilot, however their app rates very well on both the Apple Store and Google Play. Anecdotally Expedia group companies aren’t exactly known for their top-notch customer services, however we’ve heard that Hotels.com’s service is generally acceptable.||Agoda has quite a good reputation when it comes to hotels, so we wouldn’t hesitate to book a hotel through them. Their Trust Score on TrustPilot is 3.9/5.0 at the time of writing which isn’t fantastic, but it’s also not too bad for a OTA going through COVID-19. As always, carefully check that the conditions of your room are before booking, particularly the cancellation policies.|
|Customer Service||Customer Service|
|Hotels.com provides support through both online chat and over the phone. As with some of the competitors, it can be difficult to find the correct choice sometimes, with the app and website directing you to their FAQ in the first instance. Keep pushing though and you get find their phone numbers and a link to the char service. Unlike some other competitors, you can initiate a chat session without having logged-in or having made a booking which is a definite plus.||Agoda offers telephone support (via local phone numbers), online chat via their app as well as email support. However they don’t make most of these options easy to find – usually you’ll have to click a “Show more options” link in the help section. When booking a hotel with Agoda, all three options appear to be available, whereas they aren’t when you book flights with them.|
|We wouldn’t hesitate to book hotels through Hotels.com. In fact, given that until recently they’ve focused entirely on hotels should mean that they have a fairly solid process. As with all hotel sites, remember to check that you’re booking a hotel with free cancellation to avoid any problems later. Their rewards program remains the best of any of the OTAs, so this along is a strong reason for any frequent traveler to give them a go.||Overall, we consider that Agoda is definitely worth checking out no matter in the world you want to book a hotel. Considering they seems to share a lot of hotel inventory with Booking.com, and that we found their prices to in fact be better than Booking.com, we highly recommend you compare prices here first before booking elsewhere.|