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.
|Trip.com is backed by the massive Trip.com Group, the world’s second largest online travel group which also owns Ctrip, the largest online travel agency in China. With such backing and excellent buying power, Trip.com is undergoing a rapid worldwide expansion, and if you haven’t heard of them in your own country yet, it’s probably just a matter of time.|
|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.||Trip.com’s hotel product is quite mature, and compares well with its main rivals of Booking.com and Expedia. It allows you to either prepay or to pay directly at the hotel depending on what you prefer, although it depends on the hotel. It features a relatively powerful search which allows you to search by city, region, landmark, airport and more although we sometimes found some strange results when testing. Where Trip.com falls down is by featuring a large number of the same room with different booking conditions making it difficult to work out what the best deal – for a great solution to this problem they should look to Expedia. Typically the differences between the options are that some include breakfast and some don’t, some are non-refundable while others offer free cancellation, and some are confirmed instantly whereas others have longer confirm times. In this aspect Trip.com is quite transparent, often other travel sites don’t have you how long it will take to confirm your room. Disappointingly, on the main search results page they only offer a single picture for each hotel, whereas the others feature multiple images or image sliders. While it’s not going to make a huge difference, these little features add up to a much nicer booking experience. Speaking of images, Trip.com is also lacking up-to-date and high quality images of a lot of hotels when compared to the competition. For hotels in Asia, Trip.com offers a reasonable range of reviews, but outside of Asia the reviews can be seriously lacking compared to the competition. When I say this, there’s actually a lot of reviews for each site in Chinese which are most probably bought across from their Ctrip brand, with a handy button to translate these if you require. Trip.com clearly marks rooms as either having free cancellation or being non-refundable, so they’re pretty good with transparency. Interesting, Trip.com offers what they call a service guarantee on their hotel bookings, which includes significant compensation if things go wrong like you turn up to hotel and there’s no room available for you. A cool feature that we’ve noticed lately on Trip.com is that you can set price alerts on a hotel, so that when the price drops below amount they’ll let you know through email – there’s not many other travel sites which offer this. Unlike a lot of the smaller hotel booking sites, almost everything can be done by yourself on Trip.com including cancellation, date changes and updating your personal information which is hugely useful and time saving. As with most of the competitors, you can filter by just hotels, or to include things like services apartments, hostels and villas. The location filters are also quite powerful, especially in Asia where they have the data to back it up. You can filter by metro line and even metro station, as by attraction or airport. One thing Trip.com doesn’t offer that some of the other major sites do is a Best Price Guarantee where they offer to match the price of their competitors.|
|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%.||You might have seen Trip.com frequently showing up of comparison sites due to their sharp pricing. Speaking generally, their pricing is extremely competitive with the other major players, although they tend to have the best prices in the Asia Pacific region, while Europe and the US are typically similarly priced to Booking.com and Expedia. Trip.com doesn’t add an extra service fees in the case that you need to deal with their customer service which is always nice.|
|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.||Trip.com uses booking their own hotel contracting as well as that of some of it’s competitors. This means that once again it has excellent inventory in Asia (and particularly greater China) and reasonable inventory in other markets too.|
|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.||Trip.com is available on Desktop, Mobile and through their mobile apps for both Android and iOS which they market aggressively. Due to their parent company being China based (where mobile apps are almost the ONLY choice), they too deliver an excellent app experience. In terms of languages they are available in around 20 – much less than Booking.com, but still very commendable.|
|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.
Trip.com charges no booking fees on all of it’s hotel bookings which is definitely a plus. They also don’t add credit card fees on top which can save you a few percent, although of course if you choose a pay-at-hotel room it will be down to the hotel itself as to whether or not you a charged a credit card fee. Payment is available in 20+ currencies and they accept all major credit cards, as well PayPal (major currencies only), iDEAL for the Europe market, and Apple Pay and Google Pay if that’s your preference.
|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!||Being a newer player in the international market, Trip.com probably hasn’t built up it’s reputation the same way that more established online travel companies have. Having said that it’s mobile app in particular gets quite good reviews, and it’s TrustPilot score is also reasonable.|
|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.||Trip.com offers customer service in a huge range of languages, however only the major languages offer 24/7 service. In additional to phone service, they also offer email support and mobile chat through their app or 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.||Trip.com is absolutely a site which you should be considering if you thinking of booking a hotel. With massive buying power, there are some great deals to be found at times, and their mobile app experience is award winning. If you are looking at traveling in the APAC region this should be one of your first choice, however it’s definitely worth taking a look at no matter where in the world you’re traveling.|