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.
|Despegar is the largest online travel agency on Latin America. It’s mainly available in Spanish, however it does have an English version as well, although it’s mainly based at the US, and people traveling between the two regions. That being said, it is indeed possible to book accommodation anywhere in the world so we’ve included it in our comparison.|
|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.||Both prepaid and pay-at-hotel type bookings are offered which it always handy. This will of course depend on the individual property, some will offer both payment types and others will only offer one. The Despegar booking system allows you to leave special requests, however you can only pick from a set selection, you can’t write your own. On the booking page they have a particularly interesting feature where you can be kept up to date about any changes to your booking through SMS or even Whatsapp.|
|Pricing & Fees||Pricing & Fees|
|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%.||From out testing we found that Despegar had good pricing in Latin American, especially in Mexico. It also had reasonable pricing in the southern United States, particularly for the lower end of the market. When it comes to other overseas destination however, we didn’t find their pricing particularly competitive.|
|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.||Coming soon|
|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.||Despegar has a mobile app available on both Android and iOS, while it also has desktop and mobile versions of its website. As already mentioned Despegar is aimed at the Spanish speaking market, so it’s mainly accessible in Latin America. They do also have an English version too, however they don’t support any other languages at this stage.|
|Payment Methods||Payment Methods|
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.
Despegar accepts major credit and debit cards, and in some cases you can also pay with a bank transfer. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are all accepted. Besides prepaid hotels they also offer pay-at-hotel options for some hotels.
|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!||In Latin American Despegar is the biggest and most trustworthy local player. Outside of this region though they have little to no reputation.|
|Customer Service||Customer Service|
|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.||Despegar provides customer service through a single phone number, which incurs no cost if you’re calling from a landline. As an bonus extra, they also offer VoIP calling through their app. This will particularly come in handy when you’re traveling and only have a Wi-Fi connection.|
|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.||For the English-speaking target audience of this website, Despegar probably doesn’t rate near the top of your list of travel site choices. While their offering is pretty solid, the limited availability outside of Latin American means that unless you’re traveling to this area, it probably isn’t a real option. If you area however, and particularly if you’re traveling on a tight budget, they might be worth a quick look.|