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.
|Flight Centre is Australia’s largest offline travel agency, with thousands of store across Australia as well as some presence in New Zealand, South Africa, and other minor markets. While their name might suggest that they only offer flights, they are in fact a full service agency, which means flights, hotels, packages tours and much more. As you might have guessed, they’ve also been working on expanding their online presence in recent years, so let’s take a look at what they’re currently offering for hotels.|
|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.||Coming soon|
|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.||Coming soon|
|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 research, Flight Centre has an impressive selection of hotels in Australia and New Zealand, as well as places Australians frequent like the Pacific and Indonesia. While their coverage is not too bad in other major world cities, it certainly thins out a little once you get off the beaten track. What we find is a very localized offering, but one that’s still a good option, especially if you’re planning on traveling into the region.|
|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.||Flight Centre hotels are available on all three of their platforms; their mobile app available on iOS and Android, their desktop website and their mobile website. Unlike most of their competitors the site is only available in English.|
|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.
When it comes to hotels, Flight Centre only accepts credit and debit cards. While they support Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diners it’s disappointing they don’t also support PayPal and Poli pay like they do for flights. In additional, they don’t support Apple Pay or Google Pay, although that’s not likely to be a huge issue for most people. Surprisingly, despite the massive popularity of buy-now-pay-later schemes such as AfterPay, they also don’t support it at this time.
|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.||Coming soon|
|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.||One thing that reassures a lot of people about Flight Centre is that they know there are real people working for the company all across Australia. If you log into their website they clearly display a contact number at the top of their website, unlike their competitors who often try to make it difficult in order to reduce volume. Unfortunately though, it doesn’t appear that they offer any kind of online chat or public email addresses on their website.|
|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.||Coming soon|