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.
|Webjet is an Australian based online travel agency – in fact it’s really the only independently owned Australian travel booking site. This means that a lot of their offerings are targeted specifically towards an Australian and New Zealand audience. While Webjet, as the name suggests, mainly sells flights, they do have a hotels offering as well which is solid, but generally not as strong as the global travel sites.|
|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.||We found that the search functionality of Webjet is reasonably good for finding hotels within Australia, but not so good for finding hotels overseas. While it supports searching by city, country, state and point of interest, we found that a lot of major overseas attractions weren’t findable, and you can’t search by airport or railway station. It also doesn’t support some of the advanced functionality that other sites do such as searching by a specific address. Webjet offers both prepaid and pay-at-hotel type rooms, with the labeling of the two fairly clear. We didn’t find their map functionality to be particularly helpful with the only thing on the map being the hotel you’ve selected, and no way to see nearby attractions, restaurants etc. They do have satellite view enabled though as well as street view which is a nice touch which lets you see the general surroundings of the hotel before booking. We were a little bit disappointed by the Wi-Fi information for the rooms. While the site mentioned that the Wi-Fi is charged, they didn’t give any indication as to how much it might cost. In addition, the breakfast information isn’t particularly clear – we couldn’t work out which rooms come with breakfast and which don’t. This is a fairly big issue which we’ve never come across before of any other travel site.|
|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.||Generally speaking, we found that Webjet’s hotels are slightly on the expensive side, but not by much. While Webjet doesn’t charge any kind of booking fee like they do for flights, they do charge a payment fee, which we be dependent on which payment method you use, and will range from 0.26% to 1.15%.|
|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.||One thing to realize though is that much of Webjet’s success comes from its other business which specializes in wholesale hotel rooms. What this means for that consumer is that they have a great range of rooms, especially across the Asia Pacific 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.||Webjet is available as a desktop website, mobile website and a mobile app, as with most other sites. Unlike most other sites however, Webjet is only available in English, so you’re out of luck if you’re not an English-speaker. This really emphasizes the fact that Webjet is only really aimed at audiences in Australia and New Zealand.|
|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.
Webjet offers a wide range of payment options on their platforms. For credit and debit cards they accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and JCB. If you’re paying via mobile you’ll have the option to use either Apple Pay or Google Pay which not a lot of competitors offer, especially local ones. You can also choose to pay with PayPal, or pay in four installments through Afterpay. They even have options to pay through American Express Membership Rewards, or HSBC Interest Free. Overall, a very impressive suite of payment options. Not only that, you can also get Webjet gift cards which of course can be used to pay for hotels.
|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.||Webjet’s reputation, like that of most online travel agencies, isn’t particularly great. While for the most part your not going to have any problems, internet talk tends to indicate that they can be difficult to deal with when something goes wrong or you need to change or cancel. Make sure you know what you’re booking before you press the book button!|
|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.||Webjet claims that you’re able to message them through their website or app 24/7, and that they are available by phone during Australian business hours. Where exactly they show their phone number we don’t know, as we weren’t able to find it anywhere. Presumably they only give it away once people have actually made a booking.|
|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.||If you’re Australian, or looking to travel In Australia, New Zealand, or in the Asia pacific region in general, Webjet is worth checking out. While their website feels a little bit out-fashioned it actually has all the features you might need when booking a hotel. If you’re not travelling within this area we’d give it a miss, as the experience is quite localized for the Australian market.|