You can now be your own travel agent with all of the online hotel booking services available. With just some clicks of the mouse, you can make reservations and plan where you will stay on trips or vacations quickly. You can also get your confirmation number or pay for your room by using the internet. Now, in only a couple minutes, you can do what used to take many hours over the course of days.
The easy comparison of prices is one of the main characteristics that make online hotel booking services great. All of the hassle of one by one contacting all potential hotels to find the best rate is removed through the use of a good site that searches through hundreds of hotels in the area you want to stay. Travel guides, weather updates, and other tips are among the other goodies the better sites offer.
I have been using online hotel booking services for more than a decade now. I have tested out a variety of different services to find which one offer the best and most reliable deals. I know how to tell the good from the bad thanks to these years of experience. I am reviewing the best to help you decide which booking service you should use for your trips. This entry will explore my experiences with HotelsCombined.com.
With headquarters in Sydney, Australia and founded in 2005, HotelsCombined.com is a hotel metasearch engine. What is a metasearch engine? It is basically a search engine that searches other search engines and provides you with the aggregated results. HotelsCombined.com allows customers to compare and search hotel rates in one search through their partnerships with numerous hotel chains and travel agencies. Also, from external sites, they provide an aggregated summary of hotel ratings and reviews.
HotelsCombined.com handles 120 different currencies, aggregates over two million deals from hundreds of hotel chains and travel sites, and operates in over 40 languages. More than 200 staff members are employed by them.
With the goal of creating an all in one hotel site where users could get the best rates from a vast array of popular travel sites in one place, Brendon McQueen, Michael Doubinski, and Yury Shar teamed up to launch HotelsCombined.com in 2005. Previously, all three of these founders worked for a company called HotelClub, which is now part of Orbitz.
Following nine months of development, HotelsCombined.com was launched by the founders without having raised any financial capital and while working out of their homes. An organic consumer base was steadily established. They were able to hire their first employee within a year. There are now more than 17 million monthly users and the site is available in over 220 countries.
HotelsCombined.com has won a number of awards in the past decade. It was named Website of the Week by the Daily Mail at one point. In 2010, it earned Website of the Year from TRAVELtech. Guidebook author Arthur Frommer has declared HotelsCombined.com one of the top ten travel websites in the world.
Top Features of HotelsCombined.com
HotelsCombined.com has a number of features. Some of the highlights are
- The site is available in 40 different languages
- Navigation is simple
- Only trust online hotel booking sites are used by HotelsCombined.com
- With quick access to sites you want to book from, all of the prices are listed on one screen
- From hundreds of travel agents and booking sites, you can compare hotel room rates
Another great feature HotelsCombined.com offers is a best price guarantee. For your hotel room, they want to be sure you get the lowest price possible. They will refund any difference in price if you happen to find a lower rate online after you have booked a hotel room through one of the sites listed on HotelsCombined.com.
Using HotelsCombined.com is intuitive and seamless. The site looks like just about every other online hotel booking service at first, but it is not, since you are sorting out the best rates for your chosen travel destinations from the other top online booking sites. From the home page, you can enter your travel destination – which auto-fills, so you do not have to worry about being a spelling champ – and your departure and arrival dates.
The search results come up surprisingly fast for how many sites the results are aggregating. The search results can be sorts using a variety of criteria: guest rating, distance from your city or destination, recommended, price, and number of stars. Once you have selected a hotel, you can then choose which booking site you would like to visit to learn more. This feature is great because you can choose the online site that fits your needs. For example, I like to have to option to cancel my reservation without penalty in case my plans change. With HotelsCombined.com, you can see which sites have this option.
You are whisked away to the travel site that offers the deal you want once you make your selection. Here, I like that they open the site in a new window, so you can go back to your original HotelsCombined.com search if you want.
HotelsCombined.com is able to offer a lot of different pricing options since they are a metasearch engine. This makes it simple for you to go with the best price for the level of luxury you want by comparing all of your options on one page. Because of this technology, HotelsCombined.com clearly has a leg up on its competitors when it comes to pricing. Even if they were not able to list the best price on their site for some reason, they still offer the best price guarantee, which ensures you will get a refund if you find a lower price.
Criticism of HotelsCombined.com
When it comes to the HotelsCombined.com website, there was nothing I did not like. At every turn, you could see they had the user experience in mind. Plus, the options were endless in your searching. I scoped out user review sites and message boards to find out the buzz on HotelsCombined.com on the internet. There were a lot of happy customers. Those who were upset with HotelsCombined.com seemed to be confused. The complaints fell into two camps: people who were upset about the quality of the hotel they chose and those who just did not seem to understand how a megasearch engine website works.
The customer support for HotelsCombined.com appears to be a bit lacking at first glance. They take you through a maze of links before you finally get to a contact form. There are no phone numbers you can call or live chat. They are active on a variety of social media channels, and they appear to be active in answering questions on there.
The reason they do not have that extensive of a customer service team is that the majority of issues customers may have would need to be handled by the booking site they actually chose for booking their hotel room. It would be like wanting Google to help you care for your sick kitty after you were not happy for with the search results you got for sick kitty cures.
There is a vast array of solutions for your hotel rooms needs offered by HotelsCombined.com. They are definitely the best choice if you are looking for a wide variety of hotel rooms at low prices.
It is incredibly simple finding what you want with their easy to use website. For anyone looking to book a hotel room, I strongly recommend HotelsCombined.com.