4 Websites That Make Booking Hotels a Breeze
What Are the Best Websites to Book Hotels With?
Are you old enough to remember traveling before the internet existed?
Back in the day, we would not use websites to book hotels and make our reservations online. Instead, the only option was to write, call the hotel directly, or use a travel agent to make a reservation.
However, these days the internet has made things a lot easier. Online websites to book hotels are now the most convenient way to find a hotel in your location, compare prices, read reviews and make a reservation.
Let’s take a closer look at hotel booking websites, how they work, the pros and cons and which ones are the most popular.
How Do Hotel Booking Websites Work?
A hotel booking website is also known as an OTA (online travel agent). They are online marketplaces where travelers can compare hotel rates across various hotels, search by location, star rating, price and other factors and make their booking online.
The online booking website plugs into the website of each hotel and processes secure online reservations. The rates and availability are updated in real time, so that guests can make their reservations instantly.
Some travelers might use multiple hotel booking websites to find the best deal on a hotel at their destination. These websites may even offer other add-ons, such as car rental, tour bookings, flight bookings, train travel and more.
Also, many hotel booking websites will include reviews of the hotel left by previous visitors. This allows travelers to share their honest thoughts on the quality of their stay. With this information, it is a lot easier for the traveler to find out what to expect at the hotel when they arrive.
Hotel booking websites can be a win-win for both travelers and hotels. It helps the hotel increase exposure and have their rooms seen by more travelers. It also makes it easier for travelers to see more booking options at once and research and plan their trip faster.
What Are the Pros and Cons?
What are the pros and cons of booking with this type of website? Let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of planning your trip
- It’s very convenient to be able to compare many different hotel options, all on one page.
- You can easily book your hotel with a few clicks of a button, without having to speak to anyone.
- You can read the reviews of other travelers who have actually visited the hotel so you will know whether or not booking at the hotel will be a good experience.
- The booking engine securely accepts your credit card payment, storing your data safely and sending you a confirmation email.
- Sometimes the hotel booking website will offer special limited time offers – perhaps even up to 50% off or more. After all, they are competing with each other so they will try to entice travelers with cheaper prices.
- There are some available rooms that are exclusively reserved for these booking sites and are not available anywhere else.
- On some booking websites, you can earn loyalty points for discounted stays.
- Sometimes you can get a better rate by calling the hotel directly and negotiating.
- Depending on the terms and conditions of the website, you may be trapped in the booking if no cancellations or refunds are allowed.
- It can sometimes be difficult to contact customer service and change your booking.
- You will not have the opportunity to join the hotel customer loyalty scheme and earn points for your stay. In some situations, if you do not book directly, the hotel will not recognize your elite status.
- If the hotel has entered their information incorrectly into the booking portal, this may result in some confusion when you arrive. (For example, they incorrectly advertised free WiFi, when WiFi comes at a cost.)
The Top Sites for Hotel Bookings
There are many great options out there for hotel booking websites where you can search for your next great stay. Here are some of the most popular hotel booking websites.
Expedia is one of the biggest and most popular hotel booking websites. It offers its own reward program, which allows you to earn points that you can then use to book travels. For every hotel booking, you will earn two times the Expedia points in addition to any points you earn on your credit card reward point program.
Expedia’s online travel site also lets you book flights, rental cars, tours and other travel experiences.
Priceline is a very straightforward and easy to use booking website, and the prices are similar to the other options. One of the best features of Priceline is the Express Deals where you can find a lot of deep discounts.
The way it works is that Priceline will offer you a discounted rate at a “mystery” hotel, sometimes up to 60% off. The only catch is that you do not know which hotel you are booking. You’ll have an idea of the general location, rating and amenities, but the name will be a surprise until after you book.
If you are looking to book an entire vacation package, Travelocity is a good website to check. It makes booking packages a lot easier than most sites. It allows you to mix and match a lot of options, so you will not be locked into a traditional package if you want to do something more adventurous.
Travelocity also has a great search feature, allowing you to search by city, points of interest, recommended deals and much more. They also offer a price match guarantee.
Booking.com is the largest hotel booking site in the world, with over 28 million properties listed! It offers everything from high end luxury resorts to budget hostels and every type of accommodation in between.
The sheer volume of properties available is an advantage for this booking website. Plus, Booking.com offers the Genius Program, which provides you with extra discounts after at least two stays within two years.