The ins and outs of hotel booking sites

We have taken a look at which sites can help you make the best choice, and what else they can offer the discerning globetrotter.

Choosing the right hotel booking site can be tricky. Image credit: People Images/iStock
Choosing the right hotel booking site can be tricky. Image credit: People Images/iStock

Getting the right accommodation sorted can be extremely important in determining the success of your trip. Whether you’re on a two-week snorkeling holiday in the Caribbean or a three-day business jaunt in Melbourne, finding a comfortable place to relax in the evenings is paramount. While a good hotel might not make a trip on its own, a bad one can certainly ruin it.

Almost every seasoned traveler has hotel tales of woe, from freezing-cold rooms and suspicious looking breakfasts to belligerent staff. Before the advent of the internet, it was even more difficult to know the reputation of potential accommodation.

But the age of mystery is over, and today you can view thousands of options online for where you’re going to stay, without committing a penny. All this means that holidaymakers can be more sure than ever they’ll be getting the best possible deal for where they lay their heads. And with your accommodation taken care of, you can afford to concentrate on the more important aspects of your trip. – one of the best hotel sites

Perhaps the biggest and most well known hotel booking site in the world is, which has been operating for more than twenty years. Times have moved on somewhat since their humble beginnings. What began in the quiet town of Enschede in the Netherlands has transformed into a travel industry institution.

More than one-and-a-half million rooms are booked every day (roughly equating to almost half a billion bookings each year), which is a testament to the truly international scope of their operation. The site is available in more than 43 languages, which means its full scope of properties on offer are accessible to the majority of people.

When it comes to sheer range, there aren’t many hotel booking sites that can offer such great deals. With a greater variety of places to choose from, you as a traveler are more likely to find that special place quite fast and, save time trawling individual hotel websites.

If you were to compare booking sites you’d notice that, particularly in Europe, often offers its users almost twice the number of properties on offer elsewhere. If you’re traveling  for business, whether downtown Barcelona or the outskirts of Kiev, you know that where you stay can ultimately impact on the success of your trip.

You’ll want to find somewhere that is geographically suitable, fits in with your own budget or your company’s, and is comfortable with full amenities. give you the best opportunity to find this place by simply listing a great deal more properties than you would be able to find elsewhere. Simply put, comparing hotel prices has never been more comprehensive. also has most of its competitors beat on rates. More often than not, the site can beat its competition in terms of hotel rates for the same locations during the same timeframe. This can be somewhat confusing if you were to only compare hotel booking sites at a cursory glance. In truth, however, is one of the few sites (of a great many) that is upfront about the total costs of the room to the traveler.

Many other sites will often go on to include hidden fees or costs that only become apparent at some point during the booking process. All rates are honest and upfront on allowing travelers to budget accordingly straight from the get-go. – a user-friendly hotel booking site

While is one of the new kids on the block, it has managed to emerge as one of the most helpful and user-friendly hotel booking sites available to travelers. Based in Thailand, the site has long enjoyed a great reputation in Asia, often regarded as the specialist site to look at for visits to the continent. But the site has expanded massively in the past two years, aiming to target the business traveler across multiple continents.

With perhaps the largest selection of mid-to-high priced properties based in city centers, Agoda hasn’t surged up the hotel booking site pecking order by targeting hitchhikers and gap year students.

Those traveling for business will appreciate a hotel or apartment that is centrally located, close to the downtown districts where deals are made and meetings are held. Those same people are unlikely to want to compromise on comfort and suitability of their accommodation, even if it means occasionally paying a little more. Agoda makes sure to provide you with a greater range of suitable places to choose from, more than almost any other booking site available on the market.

Hotel stays are such an important part of travel, make sure you choose the right fit for you. Image credit: Halfpoint/iStock
Hotel stays are such an important part of travel, make sure you choose the right fit for you. Image credit: Halfpoint/iStock

Agoda’s search feature is extremely good for narrowing down your search to precisely what you need, with more filters available than almost any other hotel booking site. While many booking sites make the bizarre decision to not allow for guest reviews, with Agoda you can rank by rating, meaning you can access the opinions of your peers to make a more informed decision. You can filter by almost anything, whether you require a 24-hour front desk, reliable high-speed internet or close proximity to a public beach, you can create your filtered search and let Agoda show you your options.

Any traveler will enjoy getting more for less, with Agoda also specialising in offering plenty of opportunity for good deals. Experienced travelers and users of the site can encourage you to keep an eye out for last-minute offers, which means you can possibly secure your ideal accommodation in your ideal location at a steep discount.

The website often collaborates with various media outlets to offer their readers a chance to participate in promotional campaigns or special offers, so it’s worth checking ahead of time if there are any existing deals you can take advantage of. – a well-regarded hotel booking site

Founded in the U.S, Kayak adds a suitably international flavour to the list and is the first we have mentioned to be based in North America (with the others based in Europe and Asia respectively). It’s fair to say that Kayak was probably the most recognisable hotel booking site around until the advent of The levels of trust it has built up in its users during its fifteen years is well placed, and the site is well regarded and respected by those who travel frequently, giving them a fair analysis of their options with a great deal of properties to choose from across the globe.

Kayak’s app has previously been mentioned in Travel + Leisure’s best Apps for Business Travelers, a titan within the media sector of the travel industry. Accessible and easy-to-use apps are of great importance if you’re looking to book your future accommodation more spontaneously, perhaps pressed by time or circumstance. If you need to quickly ascertain the best options available to you and can only do so by smartphone, then Kayak is perhaps the best on the market.

Kayak’s filtered search system is, alongside Agoda’s, one of the best in the business. You can use the “nearby” feature to make sure the property you’ll be staying at is very much in the vicinity of exactly where you need to be, or even near a local monument or museum that you’d like to visit.

On top of that, you can expect to be greeted by all the basic filters, plus more than a few you probably didn’t realize you’d use. The app feature means you can use your limited time to maximum effect, spending less time making journeys between your places of action.

The site is also recognized for its customer support and interaction. While some websites might be happy enough to leave you in the lurch once you’ve made use of their services, Kayak often goes above and beyond to resolve issues and take care of users who feel they have been sold short with a particular property. This old-school mentality of catering the customer is why users continue to flock to Kayak, and it shows there is a reward indeed for building up a reputation for professionalism and reliability.

So, reader, the very best of luck to you and your future travels. When it comes to the world of hotel booking sites, there are a great deal to choose from. From the skyscrapers of Tokyo to the icy towns of Siberia, you’ll have a home from home wherever you go. Once you’ve got your accommodation sorted, be sure to book a professional Blacklane airport transfer service to start your trip off right.