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.
|Originally created by Microsoft, Expedia is one of the biggest and most successful online travel sites in the world. Being based in North America means it’s one of, it not the strongest in this market when it comes to hotel accommodation. These days Expedia is owned by Expedia Group, which also includes sites such as Travelocity and Orbitz – in fact you will find that these are almost the same site, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing.|
|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.||Expedia's hotel reservation system is a mature product with considerable options. They offer both prepaid and pay-at-hotel options depending on the hotel with their pay-at-hotel offering currently being marketed as “Reserve now, pay later”. Besides hotels and resorts, they claim to offer access to more than 1 million apartments and alternatives accommodations. With the current COVID-19 situation, they also offer information on cleaning practices at the property. As with most of the major travel sites they offer a large range of rooms with free cancellation, as well as some which are fully-refundable. They also have a map where you can see the nearby attractions in the city, although the map itself is fairly basic. Expedia offers quite a lot of information about extra charges that other sites often don’t, including valet parking fees, Wi-Fi fees, pet fees, parking fees and even the deposit you must leave when checking in. Generally speaking, Expedia has fairly high quality hotel reviews and allows you to filter by type of traveler. Unfortunately though they don’t let you filter by room type which some of the competitors offer. You also can’t sort by the worst reviews first which a lot of people want to read. For those with accessibility issues, Expedia offers quite a lot of information like whether each of the public facilities are wheelchair friendly – this information is lacking from almost all competitor sites. When searching, the top search results are usually marked with an “Ad” label and might not necessarily be relevant to your search results so it’s important to keep this in mind. One great feature of Expedia is that is on the search page every image is an image carousel allowing you to compare hotels better without having to click through to every one. One of the best things about booking on Expedia is that each room only shows one price, and then users can add things like breakfast, free cancellation, or change to a “pay-later” type booking by adding extra money. Overall this makes for a much more pleasant booking experience than other sites which often list 5 -10 prices for the same room, each with slightly different options. Generally speaking we find Expedia’s approach to fees relatively transparent, for example cancellation policies and penalties are prominent, and also feature on the checkout page right before you make the booking as a final reminder. Searching on Expedia is a very smooth experience. Besides searching by city, you can also search by country, state/province, airport, train station, attraction, area, or even metro station. The search results are also delivered fast, unlike some other sites.|
|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 a random sample test, we found that Expedia's pricing wasn't particularly impressive. Having said that, the pricing is still relatively in line with other players, in fact Expedia actually had the cheapest prices on a few hotels. In addition you need to remember that Expedia's home market is North America, so it stands to reason that they should be one of the first sites to check out if you're travelling in the United States or Canada.|
|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.||Expedia without a doubt has the best availability for hotels in North America. From our own tests though we found that they are not always as good in Europe and Asian markets, so it's going to depend on what exactly you are looking for.|
|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.||Expedia is available on desktop and mobile browser, as well as a mobile app on both Android and iOS. In addition, Expedia is available almost worldwide, which means they support over 35 languages.|
|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.
Expedia don't charge any extra booking fees or credit card fees, which is in line with most of the other major players. As they offer both prepaid and pay-at-hotel booking options, it might be worth taking this info consideration when you're booking. In terms of payment method, they accept all the major credit cards including American Express, Visa and Mastercard. In addition to that they accept Paypal. They don't however accept Google Pay or Apple pay.
|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!||As one of the earliest players in the online travel industry, Expedia has a well-established reputation. While their booking experience is generally considered quite good, they are not particularly well regarded for customer service. In particular, they are known for very long waiting times on the phone. Their mobile apps rate reasonably in the respective app stores, however the scores aren't as good as some of the leading players.|
|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.||Expedia provides a number of toll-free phone numbers which can be called from varies countries around the world. They also offer a chatbot which can complete a number of simple actions like checking or cancelling your booking without having to talk to a real person. Although they might not be known for answering the phone quickly, unlike some competitors they don’t charge extra any money for service, which means that when a hotel offers free cancellation, even if you speak to a customer service representative it won’t cost you a cent. For the record, you don’t need to speak to anyone to cancel a booking, this can be done directly through the website.|
|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.||Expedia is always a site worth checking. While they are not known for their customer service, they have excellent available, paricularly in North America, and offer solid prices. In addition, they're been around for more than 20 years, so you can trust that they'll still be tomorrow.|