These websites are your best bets for great prices on fantastic hotels…
Rats! There’s no one sentence answer here, but when you want the best deals on hotels there never will be. Each situation is different. You’re going to need to read an entire article to find out for certain!
But the good news: you’ll be a hotel booking expert forever. Securing the best price on every hotel you book is not about searching one site, it’s about comparing a few of the best – and considering a few extra tips on how to get VIP benefits too. Here are the cheapest and best websites for booking hotels. Plus, a few tricks of the trade…
Find the hotel you want to stay in first. That’s the hardest part. It will help determine which hotel booking site is best, on each particular occasion. In this pursuit, TripAdvisor is a great first step. With this website you can see prices from multiple booking sites like Expedia, Hotels.com and more – and most importantly – pictures and reviews from users too. Picking a hotel is never easy, but figuring out the cheapest way to book will be after you finish this guide!
We call it first refusal rights. Hotels hate paying commission to all the best booking sites, so more and more often they offer exclusive perks – like free wifi, bottle of wine, etc for booking directly with them. Booking direct also may unlock rates which aren’t given to booking sites, which can save $100’s per night. There are also free night offers, only if you book direct. You simply must check here to start your perfect booking campaign.
Return on investment matters. For every 10 nights you book at Hotels.com, you get a free one. Not only do they often tie (or beat) everyone else on rate, this perk is pretty tough to turn down. If you have a Capital One Venture credit card, it’s even better. You get 10X points on all Hotels.com purchases, for a total of 20% cash back! So if the rate is the same as another site, this wins.
Kayak is a great option and must look when searching for hotels for two reasons. One: it looks at quite a few booking sites like Expedia, Amoma, TripAdvisor, Agoda and hundreds more – bringing prices from all these sites direct to you on Kayak. This saves tons of effort. Two: it offers free price trackers, so if you’re not ready to book immediately, you can track hotel prices and see if a city or destination goes on sale.
People love games and the sense of scoring a major bargain – and Priceline is proof. If you use Google Maps, it’s pretty easy to figure out many of the sites “mystery” hotel locations. Priceline really does have the best prices from time to time thanks to these “mystery” locations, which get the site around the rule not to undercut others. Add it to the list!
Ok, it’s not a website, but it’s a fantastic app. Particularly for last minute stays, HotelsTonight offers prices which often cannot be found elsewhere. The app has special agreements with hotels where they receive unsold last minute rooms at extreme discounts and pass on the savings. It works for booking in advance too – but it beats competition for last minute bookings.
Why Expedia? Because it’s like the mafia of hotel booking. It’s by far the largest company, owns half the other hotel booking sites and is so big and powerful, it can often offer exclusive deals. As the biggest, Expedia often gets access to more rooms – and if they need to clear some inventory, they’ll offer attractive discounts.
Agoda consistently ranks amongst the best in price across a variety of searches. The company was bought by Priceline and has since become even better, expanding past Asia to one of the biggest booking sites worldwide. If you’re looking for hotels, especially in Asia – this is a must search. The site has exclusive deals with hotels throughout Asia, offering exceptional rates.
Wait! Before You Go…
Which card you pay with matters. Some credit cards offer extra perks for bookings, like upgrades breakfast and more. By booking with online travel agencies instead of direct, you also lose out on earning hotel points. For most people, it’s no biggie – but if you’re a frequent traveler, they can lead to free stays. And once you’ve booked – here’s how to get hotel room upgrades.
What’s your favorite hotel booking site?
Featured image courtesy of Marriott Lisbon, Portugal.
There’s no point checking both Expedia and Hotels.com as they are part of the same group and the rates are always the same on both.
They offer different promos. If you went with that logic there would be so many sites not worth checking. In general, they may have similar rates – but there’s absolutely room for different rates on the sites.
Orbitz just recently beat the Agoda lowest rate with it’s 15% off deal (still on). Not only that but gave orbucks back to account immediately, making next reservation even cheaper.
Hard to beat that!
I’m surprised you didn’t mention booking.com. I like them for their ample info, usually competitive prices, and reputation. In Europe, at least, they seem to have a great presence. I had occasion once to correct a booking error by bringing out a printout of my booking.com reservation. Just saying the name seemed to straighten everything out.
They’ve also served me well in Africa.
Valid observations…but one additional tool to keep in mind: CALLING.
That’s right, when the hotel website says “book here for best rates”, but KAYAK is 30% less…CALL! It can’t hurt, and you might just hit the best combination of all the websites you had searched (i.e., lowest rate, best service, chance of upgrades, etc…)
Topcashback offers up to 14% cash back on hotels.com bookings and 4% (sometimes 6%) If you want to keep the booking towards a free night.
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