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The Ultimate Guide to Booking Accommodation Online

Travelling is fun, right? But it can also get expensive if you don’t know where and how to find the best deal for accommodation online. That’s where we can help! You can get a cheap room and save a lot of money if you know where to book.

Sure, you can go directly via the hotel’s website, but is that really the best way? When planning your holiday, you’ve probably heard before that it’s easier to use a travel site instead. In the following, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about booking accommodation online.

Things to Know About Finding Accommodation Online

Just a few years ago, preparing for a trip took a lot of time and energy. It was, therefore, often easier to ask a travel agency for help. But here, too, the digital revolution has simplified things for travellers! So-called online travel agencies, shopping companies, and so on are like an online marketplace. These websites and apps compare countless offers from different companies. This is often a really easy way to book accommodation online by yourself. What’s more, these services are almost always cheaper because the hotels and hostels compete for customers’ orders.

So, take the easy route and save your money. In this article, you’ll learn about the best and cheapest websites for booking your accommodation. When compiling this list, we’ve looked at the most popular ones to find out once and for all: what website offers the best accommodation at good prices?

The Most Popular Websites

Kayak

This is a metasearch engine for travel deals. It shows prices from other sites and sends you to one of them to complete the booking process. With tools like Flight Tracker, Guides, and Kayak Trips, the website acts as a travel planning assistant. The advantage of this online accommodation finder, is that here, you can research all travel-related aspects in one place.

You can narrow down your search results by star rating, rating points, price, free services, location, neighbourhood, facilities, ambience, and property type. Note, however, that the price to the right of the hotel name is not necessarily the cheapest! However, it’s very helpful that you can see the prices for each hotel not only from Kayak’s website but from many other providers as well.

Kayak also shows you nearby places for dining, shopping, and nightlife. Plus, you can save hotels you’re interested in, so you can easily find them again later. If you saved more than one hotel, the website will automatically create a trip for you that includes all the selected hotels.

  • Kayak map view
  • Price watcher
  • Price from the hotel website not shown – often cheaper.

Expedia

One unique thing about Expedia is its rewards programme. You can actually earn credit while travelling, and you can travel cheaper during your next holiday again. This is because the points you earn can be used to book accommodations free of any surprise fees.

The map view is another advantage. It makes for an easy way to see the hotel results along with the price per night. Click on the price to see the hotel name and book your room directly. Another option is to simply search for a specific hotel by name in the search bar under the map.

Expedia also includes great filtering options, such as property class, price, guest rating, neighbourhood, amenities, property type, number of bedrooms, and accessibility.

  • Own rewards programme
  • Extended hotel price guarantee
  • No loyalty points or credits under the hotel’s rewards programme
  • Not all bookings are refundable, so pay attention to the respective conditions!

Trivago

Trivago is a subsidiary of Expedia. In short, it resembles many other accommodation sites and is easy to navigate. However, it doesn’t offer any features that set it apart from other platforms.

  • Calendar shows the cheapest and most expensive days to book at your chosen destination.
  • The price shown is not always the cheapest.
  • No rewards programme
  • Prices listed are often quickly sold out as you click through them

Priceline

If you’re looking for a list of hotels at low prices, Priceline doesn’t differ much from other websites. However, one area where it can offer discounts is in the so-called Express Deals. These mystery bookings keep the details of the hotel secret until the booking process is complete.

The mystery bookings are prepaid, non-refundable, and non-transferable reservations. If your plans are not concrete, you’d better avoid this type of booking! But these express deals offer much better discounts than standard bookings. Not to mention, if you book a standard hotel room through Priceline, you’ll get a partial refund if you find a better rate within 24 hours.

If you book an express deal and find a better rate by midnight before the trip, you’ll even get 200% of the price difference back! However, reservations must be identical in all respects, and the price must be available to the public, so no member rates. If your plans are flexible, and you like to book a mystery hotel, you can certainly save some money with Priceline’s express deals!

  • Express Deals
  • Best Price Guarantee
  • No loyalty points

Booking.com

The generous low-price-guarantee is a particular advantage of Booking.com. If you find a lower price for the same reservation that’s available to the public (not a member or special rate), Booking.com will refund the difference up to 24 hours before your check-in date.

However, the offer must be online and available at the time the website checks it. Besides hotels, you can also search for hostels, B&Bs, and holiday homes. Just look at the filter options for the property type on the left.

  • Non-traditional accommodation such as hostels and B&Bs
  • Good filter options
  • Generous price guarantee
  • No loyalty points or benefits through the hotel’s rewards programme

Hotels.com

This is one of the easier-to-use travel and accommodation sites. Despite its name, you can also book flight packages or flights without accommodation on Hotels.com. One of the best things is their rewards programme. If you stay ten nights, you get one night for free. The value is the average price of the previous nights.

If, for example, you stay five nights in a hotel for 100 pounds per night and five more in another hotel for 150 pounds per night, your free night is worth 125 pounds. You can redeem this without restrictions at many accommodations around the world. Hotels.com also offers secret rates, but you can usually only save between 5 and 10%.

In contrast to most other accommodation portals, you cannot collect loyalty points with the hotel’s programme. However, if you are not tied to a specific hotel brand, this probably won’t matter.

  • Secret prices for members only
  • Rewards programme
  • No loyalty points through the hotel’s rewards programme

Tips

  • If you want to book a hotel and a flight, look for an appropriate package. Many accommodation websites, such as Hotels.com, offer packages at discounted rates.
  • If you often stay at smaller independent hotels, a travel site with its own rewards programme like Expedia might be the best resource for you.
  • If you have elite status or collect rewards points with hotel chains like Marriott or Hyatt, it’s better to book directly on their website. You won’t usually get points or elite credits elsewhere.
  • If you’re not tied to a specific brand, start with accommodation sites like Kayak or Booking.com. These usually find the lowest prices. Also, look out for special rates like Priceline’s express deals.

Conclusion

Finding the lowest price for a room can be difficult. But if you know where to look, it’s easier to find your way around. With our tips, you’re sure to find the right place to stay with all of these great choices for booking accommodation online. Use a good rewards credit card when booking to make the most of your benefits. Now, just imagine how happy and relaxed you will be on your next trip after such an easy booking process.

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