After so many accommodation reservations over the last few years, we still don't know exactly which are the best hotel search engines or, at least, we don't have a fixed preference. Maybe because there is no perfect search engine and in the end, it is about comparing, comparing and comparing. However, there are several who we turn to try to hit the first one. Below we show you (and analyze) a selection of 5 of the metasearch engines and hotel search engines that we like the most. Here are the best websites for booking hotels.
HotelsCombined is a metasearch engine that has been running since 2005, based in Australia. It is the website that we recommend the most, although it is not perfect, much less. If you like it, you can also opt for Momondo, which uses its search engine and has a perhaps more elegant design.
In favor: The web design is clean and pleasant. The search engine is simple and practical, with a very efficient auto-complete function that includes a hotel search. It offers hundreds of results quickly and allows numerous filters: type of accommodation, services, stars, etc. The list of hotels can be sorted in several ways and can be displayed on a map. Compare hundreds of search engines and many hotel chains.
Against: They show a summary of comments and ratings, but they are not their own, so one has to leave the web to read the opinions on other pages. It offers results from hundreds of search engines, but some interesting ones are missing. It does not always show all the hotels available on a website and the prices do not always correspond to the real ones (although the efficiency is very high). Being a metasearch engine, we cannot make reservations directly on its website; We will always be redirected to the search engine we select. Nor does it have an area for registered users to manage our search history, favorite hotels, etc.
Hotels.com is part of Hotels.com, part of the Expedia group. It is based in Texas and was launched in 1991, and must be one of the first hotel search engines.
In favor: Reliable and total trust. Beautiful and practical website, without distracting elements. The search box is also very simple and allows you to directly enter the name of a hotel. The results page is very clean and does not lack any of the typical options. Like Booking, it has its own comments (many) and a good listing for each hotel. Your loyalty program, Welcome Rewards, allows you to accumulate 1 free night for every 10 reserved. It also has a better price match guarantee and also accepts discount codes. On the other hand, they offer free cancellation for many reservations and, unlike Booking or Agoda, you can pay with Paypal, in addition to having a greater variety of cards. Like the previous ones, it does not charge for the management or for card payment.
Against: In many comparisons we have made, it loses with respect to Booking in terms of the number of hotels shown and prices, although the latter could be compensated with its lower rate policy, the free nights program or discount coupons. Regarding the results page, we consider the information seen at first glance in the file of each hotel to be somewhat scarce and we miss the room price breakdown. Nor do we like the scoring system of hotels on a scale from 0 to 5, as we understand that a scale from 0 to 10 is more intuitive and accurate.
*Editors Note: If you have a Venture card, Hotels.com has a promotion going on right now that if you use your Venture card you will get 10x the points if you use your Venture card to book a hotel stay at their site. I have used it twice and I have gotten 30K points and 20K points. Something worth looking into.
Booking, founded in 1996 in Amsterdam, is the quintessential hotel search engine. It is one of the most visited websites in the world, has almost 7,000 employees and claims to sell 550,000 hotel nights every day.
In favor: The most reliable booking website. They offer a better price guarantee and do not charge management fees or card payments. They have very interesting punctual offers, the possibility to cancel for free in most hotels and access user area with reservation management. The web very simple to use, with a nice design and intuitive navigation. Search results are easy to filter and sort, with the possibility of being displayed on a map. The files of the hotels and descriptions of the rooms, services, etc. They are very complete. It has customer service in Spanish (in Spain) and is available in 40 languages, also showing hundreds of currencies and offering results in almost 200 countries. Best of all is the number of comments and ratings that their hotels have.
Against: Sometimes they do not really have the best rates, although this would be offset by their best price guarantee policy. On the other hand, despite having a wide range of accommodation, much less have them all, so you can always stay out of the search for very interesting hotels. There is no possibility to pay through Paypal, there are only a few credit cards to choose from, they do not offer coupons or discount codes and registered users do not have any extra advantages (no points or balance accumulate). A theme that we will not touch here is whether it is good that Booking is so powerful and what relationship it has with hotels.
Agoda, based in Singapore, is one of the best search engines for specialized hotels in Asia, although it has an impressive range of accommodation worldwide. It was founded in 1998 and currently belongs to the Priceline.com group.
In favor: Its main advantage over Booking is that it does offer a Points Program, allowing you to accumulate discounts for future purchases. When making a reservation they inform us of how much we will save exactly in the next one (between 4% and 7% of the total amount that we are paying). Moreover, it shares most of the advantages of Booking, usually matching it in prices and sometimes exceeding its number of available accommodations. Among the positive points, it is also worth mentioning its lower price guarantee and the fact that it does not include management fees or card payments.
Against: For our taste the design is somewhat less clear and pleasant than other search engines. Search results cannot be sorted by price and do not directly showroom rates, but rather a "from" corresponding to the cheapest type of room. It has much fewer customer reviews than Booking and hotel listings are not as detailed. What does coincide with Booking is in not providing discount codes and offering only 3 different cards as a payment method. Finally, customer service and contact information are not at hand, and they have no telephone in Spain.
Kayak is another hotel metasearch engine, launched in 2004 from the United States. Long before he became famous for his ads on TV we had already been using it to search for flights and now we also consult him in our hotel searches. Since 2012 it belongs to Priceline.com.
In favor: It has the main advantages of a metasearch engine (comparison between hundreds of websites and hotel chains) and also allows you to make purchases without leaving your website (although we are actually booking through collaborators such as Booking). For this reason, unlike other metasearch engines, they offer user registration and monitoring of our reservations, as well as the possibility of receiving personalized alerts. It has, in terms of design and usability, a very clean interface that allows agile navigation. Another interesting detail is that different searches are stored in separate tabs (as in an internet browser), so we can quickly move from one search to another without closing any list of results. In addition, hotel listings expand optionally without opening a new window.
Against: Kayak does not store its own opinions either. Although it shows a good summary and several comments on the hotel's file, we will finally have to go to Booking to read a greater number of reviews. As for the search results, the hotel information and room rates are not shown to the naked eye, forcing us to expand the corresponding tabs for each hotel. The contact information with Kayak, somewhat hidden, is limited to one form (although it is true that in theory, they do not need more advanced "customer service" since they are not responsible for reservations). And personally, although perhaps a minor detail, I hate having to uncheck the "compare other websites with Kayak" boxes and I hate even more forgetting to do it (annoying new windows open).