[Last updated: Mon 14 Jun 2021]
Which is the cheapest travel site for hotels?
One of the major reasons we turn to travel sites is that they can offer significantly cheaper rates than you might be able to get elsewhere. But when there are so many travel sites, how can you be sure you’re getting the best deal?
The simple answer is to check them all. No one single site has the cheapest prices all the time, that’s just how the industry works – but nobody’s got time for that!
Luckily we’ve crunched the numbers so that you don’t have to. We compared 10 hotels for each of the world’s top 10 cities to travel to by number of visitors (100 hotels in total) across 10 different travel sites with some extremely interesting results. The competitors we chose to compare were Booking.com, Trip.com, Expedia, Agoda, Hotels.com, Priceline, Ortbitz, Flight Centre, Webjet and Despegar. For those of you who are familiar with the industry, you might have noticed that several of these competitors belong to the same parent group, i.e. Booking Holdings or Expedia Group. We did this on purpose to prove that there are in fact significant pricing differences between brands in the same family.
Given that certain sites are known to offer better pricing in certain countries and regions, we set two main criteria to determine the winner:
- Lowest average price across all 100 properties
- Number of cities brand ranked within the top 3 cheapest sites
Let’s get to the results!
Lowest average price across all 100 properties
Average hotel price: $211.98
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Average hotel price: $215.68
1.72% more expensive than cheapest option
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- Flight Centre
Average hotel price: $219.79
Average hotel price: $222.28
Average hotel price: $223.40
Average hotel price: $224.45
Average hotel price: $224.90
Average hotel price: $225.05
Average hotel price: $226.58
Average hotel price: $228.47
Number of cities brand ranked within the top 3 cheapest sites
- Agoda: In the top 3 cheapest sites 90% of the time
- Trip.com: In the top 3 cheapest sites 70% of the time
- Expedia: In the top 3 cheapest sites 50% of the time
- Priceline: In the top 3 cheapest sites 40% of the time
- Orbitz and Hotels.com: In the top 3 cheapest sites 30% of the time
- Booking.com and Flight Centre: In the top 3 cheapest sites 20% of the time
- Webjet and Despegar: In the top 3 cheapest sites 0% of the time
Summary – The Cheapest Travel Sites
What is evident from the results is that if you’re looking for the absolute best price on hotels, you’ve got the highest chance of finding it on Agoda. In case that Agoda doesn’t tickle your fancy, then Trip.com is your next best bet. What is interesting is that the difference between the most expensive and the cheapest site is only around 7% on average, so realistically speaking all the sites are prices fairly similarly.
What about availability?
Well, no site scored perfectly on this, although with the currently COVID-19 situation this is hardly surprising. We calculated a score by giving 1 point whenever a hotel was sold out, and 2 points whenever the hotel wasn’t listed on that site at all. The lower the score, the better the availability.
1. Agoda and Expedia (tie): 4 points
2. Hotels.com and Orbitz (tie): 5 points
3. Booking.com and Flight Centre (tie): 6 points
4. Trip.com: 11 points
5. Webjet: 15 points
6. Despegar: 16 points
7. Priceline: 17 points
This doesn’t take in account the extra value you might earn from the site’s loyalty program. If you need more information about how it all works check out our article here: Best Online Travel Site Loyalty Programs. We also took the absolute cheapest price which isn’t necessarily the same room, or with the same conditions, e.g. the cheapest site might be offering the room as non-refundable while the more expensive sites only offer the same room with free cancellation. This is definitely something you’ll want to take into account.
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