The same hotel room, at different prices. It's a real thing and while 90% of travellers book the first price they see, more savvy travellers are saving lots of money by searching on other booking sites before purchasing.
Today we'll be looking at the 6 best hotel booking sites available in New Zealand and why you should consider using them before booking your next staycation.
Some providers give away Qantas points which can be redeemed for flights, others give away free hotel nights and some offer free cancellation.
The 6 Best Hotel Booking Sites
Hotels.com is a popular online hotel booking site with a wide range of accommodation worldwide. It was founded in 1991 in the USA and gives travellers access to over 325,000 hotels, B&Bs, condos and other commercial residences. It is part of the Expedia Group.
Changes and cancellations are easy to make via a customer account on the website. Bookings will be listed in the account and customers can then select the changes they wish to make to certain bookings.
There are changes that are free of charge and these include guest name, smoking preferences, bed type, special requests and options for accessibility.
Changes that require a fee include amount of guests, type of room and dates of travel. It’s loyalty program ‘Hotels.com Rewards’ gives customers discounts on accommodation.
When they stay 10 nights, this discount is eligible towards their next booking and is equivalent to 1 night at the average rate of the 10 nights paid for.
Customers can pay the difference on a more expensive room or forfeit the difference if the room is cheaper than the average amount.
By becoming a Hotels.com Rewards member, customers have the ability to unlock secret prices. These are low prices on accommodation that aren’t available to the public via websites like hotel comparison sites. The price is dependent on the customer’s destination, selected dates and the chosen accommodation.
#1 Best Hotel Booking Site
Booking.com is a travel and accommodation online booking site that was founded in 1996 in the Netherlands. With over 28 million listings worldwide across websites in 43 languages, travellers are sure to find services that suit their tastes and budgets.
Accommodation listings are by a range of owners from large incorporations to self-made entrepreneurs and there is a section of the website where those interested can list their property.
As one of the biggest marketplaces for travel, this website is a goldmine for businesses looking to expand or grow as it offers access to a huge-scale global audience.
It is easy to search available accommodation by entering the destination, dates and number of people the booking is for.
Otherwise, customers can browse accommodation by location, property type, or reviews. Types of properties include hotels, B&Bs, apartments, resorts, hostels, villas and guest houses.
Customers can access deals that give discounts off accommodation and can be viewed by location with prices starting as low as $9.
The website’s home page gives access to inspiration for future travel through a host of stories, information and pictures, and allows travellers to connect with fellow travellers in the travel community.
Other available services include transport options, flights and attractions. Customer support is available 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week for any travel questions and queries via the Customer Service Help Centre.
3. Qantas Hotels
Qantas hotels is a great way to earn Qantas points for every $1 you spend. The default rate is 3 points per $1 spent on hotels and Airbnb bookings.
New Zealander's can sign up for a Qantas membership and start earning points. For example you can book NZ hotels on there.
The true beauty of this platform is their twice a year, 9 points per dollar deals they they run. You can easily earn up to 9000 points from a $1000 hotel stay.
These points can be exchanged for flights, other hotel nights and gifts. You can even sell these points on eBay for up to 1.5 cents per point.
Qantas Hotels uses Expedia, so you'll get the same prices as you see on Hotels.com and Expedia.co.nz. You will need to pay upfront for all hotels via credit/debit card.
Qantas Hotels also offer exclusive luxury deals, at a quick glance they had 920 deals across Australia and the Pacific. These deals offer reduced rates and huge Qantas point deals such as up to 12 points per dollar.
Bookings are simple, you simply turn up at the hotel and everything is already paid for. You might be asked to give a visa hold during check-in.
Points are credited to your account up to 8 weeks after checkout.
If you have an American Express credit card from Australia, you can even earn up to 3 additional points per dollar on top. Plus if you've got an ABN (unlikely) you can earn 1 additional point per dollar. That means you could earn up to 13 points per dollar.
To give you an idea on the benefits here, a one way flight between Melbourne and Darwin costs 17,000 points and $41 in taxes. The cash price for this flight could be $400.
Best Hotel Booking Site For Points
Agoda.com is an online travel and accommodation booking site that was founded in 2003 in Thailand. It lists over 2 million properties worldwide which customers have easy access to via the app or website.
It is simple for customers to search available accommodation by entering the destination, dates and number of people the booking is for.
Customers can also browse accommodation by popular destinations and filter search results by star rating, price, facilities, amenities, payment options, type of property, brand and more. There is also a family friendly search option that filters out properties not suitable for families.
They offer a best price guarantee where they will match any price found on the internet or issue a refund.
Customers can access deals via the ‘today’s deals’ link on the website’s homepage. These change daily and offer a percentage off certain destination bookings.
Flights are also available for travellers and can be bundled with accommodation bookings to save money. Other available services include airport transfers and car rentals.
PointsMAX is the website’s loyalty program where customers can earn points on their bookings.
Customers can select their preferred loyalty program that they may already belong to and points will be earned toward that program for each booking made. So instead of earning points on a new loyalty program, customers are able to continue to accumulate points in their current program and earn rewards more quickly.
Trip.com is an online travel agency that assists customers to organise their ideal trip. With access to the best deals on flights and accommodation, this website allows customers to find options to suit both their personal preferences and hip-pocket.
Trip.com is Chinese owned and they use a network of brokers to get better deals for Chinese tourists (volume), but anyone can use their website.
You'll regularly find hotel deals much cheaper on Trip.com for the exact same room. Take note some rooms don't have breakfast or are automatically assigned during check-in, so be sure to cover what you're buying before checkout.
The website is easy to navigate, and an app is available to download so customers can organise their travel plans on-the-go.
Numerous languages are supported via both the app and website, and 24/7 customer support is available to ensure a positive customer experience.
Customers can easily search available accommodation by entering the destination or hotel name, dates of check-in and check-out and number of rooms and guests the booking is for.
Customers can select the ‘travelling for work’ option and popular business guest hotels and amenities will show up prominently in the search results. A star rating can also be selected if customers desire accommodation to a certain standard.
Customers can filter search results by star rating, price, facilities, amenities, payment options, type of property, brand and more. There is also a family friendly search option that filters out properties not suitable for families.
It is simple to sign up and those that do subscribe can access secret deals not available to the public on accommodation and flights.
Members also view discounts of up to 30% as well as earn coins via the loyalty program to redeem on future bookings.
There are no booking fees on hotels or flights, and multiple payment options that are secure and stress-free.
Cheap Hotel Rooms Found Here
Expedia.com in an online travel agency that can be accessed via website or mobile app where customers are able to book flights, accommodation, car rentals, cruises, and holiday packages. It was founded in 2001 and offers over 1 million hotels, flights, packages and more.
Customers can search flights, hotels, cars, cruises, things to do and vacation rentals separately by entering travel information, or there is an option to ‘bundle and save’ where customers can bundle various travel options e.g. flight and hotel or flight and car, to access savings.
There are no cancellation fees if customers need to change or cancel their booking.
The website features inspiration for customer’s next travel trip, deals of the day and links to explore information and pictures of various worldwide destinations.
Expedia Rewards is the loyalty program attributed to the website that allows customer to earn points on their bookings.
Members save on average $35 per booking by using their points.
As well as earning points, the loyalty program gives customers access to an extra 10% or more off certain accommodation bookings as well as free perks during trips such as free Wi-Fi, credits to use at spas and more.
There are membership tiers where perks increase as customers climb the membership ranks. Silver members have access to free breakfasts and gold members can receive upgrades on rooms and more points on bookings.
What's The Best Hotel Booking Site?
If you're looking to earn points for free flights then Qantas Hotels is my go to platform and easily the best hotel booking site. It's simple, no hidden catches and easy to use.
If you're looking to save money and pay for your hotels upfront to avoid huge credit card bills during your holiday, Hotels.com is the best hotel booking site to use. They offer in effect a 10% discount as you get a free night after 10 nights.
If you want the cheapest hotel booking site I'd checkout Trip.com, but you should be careful as not all hotels are cheaper there. Also trip.com is difficult to change your dates so make sure you're not going to cancel.
Booking.com is a household name and offers good deals but it's often overlooked. They don't have a good loyalty program as anyone can become a Genius member, there's no coupon codes or discounts, but the main selling point is they offer free cancellation and you can pay at the hotel. This is good if your plans might change.
Best Hotel Booking Site Coupon Codes
You can get the best booking site coupon codes and promo codes below.
Benefits of Different Hotel Sites
As a consumer and a tourist, it's great to have all these different hotel booking sites to choose from. Like any business, pricing competition is rife among hotel sites. You can easily find cheaper prices at different booking sites.
The exact same room with breakfast or without can have multiple prices across multiple sites. Various algorithms between companies are setup to win over consumers by offering better prices.
Those who prefer using one specific booking agent could be losing out on lots of money, likewise spending a few minutes doing research could save you hundreds on your next holiday vacation.
Hotels are like airfares, everyone is on the same journey but at different prices. Hotels are the same, and a double room on one site for 24th March could be $100 while on another hotel booking site is could be $200.