As much as I love hostels and other forms of cheap accommodation, there is something nice about the luxuriousness of a hotel: the clean room, comfy bed, desk, iron, strong shower, and bottled soap for the taking (errr…I mean borrowing). They are quiet, relaxing, and a respite from the world.But luxury comes at a price. Hotels certainly aren’t cheap, and I hate spending money on a room I am only going to be in for a few hours. After all, it’s just a place to sleep (and take soap). It’s why I mostly avoid hotels — I don’t think they are a good use of money.
A few years ago, I was traveling to conferences and other work-related events a lot and staying in a bunch of hotels. I decided to see which hotel booking sites came back with the cheapest results.
Well, the complete opposite of the previous results. Back in 2014, Booking.com was terrible, TravelPony showed promise, and Agoda was only good in Asia.I found the best deals and largest variety in all the destinations I searched for on Booking. For example, in my September search in Paris, it listed over 2,300 results, including 250 2 star listings and 750 star listings (and it told me the place was over 60% booked when I searched). Agoda still had the best results in Asia (it returned 2,900 results in Bangkok compared to 2,500 for Booking) but had definitely expanded their listings around the world – it roughly tied Booking in Paris, Buenos Aires, and Sydney for overall listings, though they had fewer budget listings than Booking.There are a lot of hotel websites and I’ve tried many over the last few years as I’ve started to book hotels more and more, but this test just proved If you’re booking a big-name, global-brand hotel (think Starwood, Marriott, Hilton, etc.), book directly with that hotel. They often have the best deals on their website, but if you find a better deal elsewhere, they’ll match it. The big benefit to direct bookings at these global hotel chains is that you only earn loyalty points and status when you book directly, so if you love points, don’t book their rooms elsewhere.