The best hotel booking site

Which is the better hotel booking site—Trivago or Kayak? The results may surprise you

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From the December 2014 issue of the magazine.

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REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Finding the best hotel deal online can be a time-consuming affair if you’re comparing the results of individual sites like Expedia, Travelocity or Hotels.com. Until recently, the solution to such tedium has been the website Kayak, which aggregates the results of multiple hotel search engines. But now Trivago—famous for its dishevelled pitchman—offers the same type of service. But which is the superior hotel booking site?

Filters: Kayak and Trivago both let you prioritize your search based on price range, proximity to downtown, star ratings, guest ratings, as well as the availability of amenities. Trivago, however, provides many more distinct filtering options ranging from wheelchair accessibility to towel service by the pool.

User experience: Trivago has a cleaner, more user-friendly design. It also allows you to simplify your filtering options without removing them entirely from the screen.

Search results: In several comparisons of major global urban centres, Trivago came ahead price-wise—typically, a $20 to $30 difference. In some cases, it found options, such as a four-star hotel within one km of Vancouver’s downtown, that Kayak didn’t provide. Trivago also doesn’t feature advertiser-sponsored search results.

Overall: While Trivago is marginally superior in sleuthing cheaper hotel deals, its streamlined design and user-friendliness make it our winner.

 

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7 comments on “The best hotel booking site

  1. what about adding priceline and hotwire to the comparison? We have been avid users of both for many years and have always compared to hotels.com trivago and kayak expedia etc. but honestly we have never been successful using the other sites in comparison to the cost savings on priceline and hotwire. yes you may not know exactly which place you will be staying at but we only bid or use the express deals for 3 star and up for a fraction of the cost of the other sites. and depending on the area or by using the site betterbidding.com you can narrow down and sometimes know which place you will be staying at.

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    • We use Priceline bidding, Priceline Express Deals, Hotwire, and Travelocity Secret Hotels too but it’s not really a fair comparison between “opaque” hotel selection/bidding versus a search tool that provides published rates. It’s probably more of a “When and how is it best to use opaque hotel tools vs published rate search tool” discussion.

      Reply

  2. Personally I have found calling hotels directly after using Trip Advisor to locate within a proximity of my destination to yield the best prices & negotiable rates for longer term stays.

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  3. There are bargains to be found when you are searching for a hotel but you have to know where to look and where to search.
    There are many different on-line booking providers like Booking.com Expidia.com Laterooms.com Lastminute.com Hotels.com, you name it.
    However, in order to get the best price you have to use a hotel comparison website that takes data from all the above websites compares the prices and gives you the cheapest rate.
    Try http://hotels-fairy.com they are a UK hotel-price comparison website were many great deals can be found.

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  4. Nice Article :) It’s true that trivago is better than kayak for hotel searches but both Kayak and trivago desperately pushing their Group websites in the search results.Recently I started using skyscanner for flight searches and hotelhike.com for hotel searches.

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  5. Your final verdict says: “Overall: While Trivago is marginally superior in sleuthing cheaper hotel deals, its streamlined design and user-friendliness make it our winner.” But wait, are you saying Kayak or Trivago is the winner?

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  6. When booking though a third party, you need to check whether or not your reservation can be cancelled and is refundable. I have booked through Expedia only to find that I was already charged the price of my full stay and there were no cancellations allowed. Upon checking the next time, the same thing happened. So, I went directly to the hotel website, which had the same price, and booked directly; it was both cancellable and refundable. Another thing to note, is that if there is a problem at the hotel, the hotel can not offer you a discount if you booked through a third party.
    There was construction right above our floor, and the next morning the workers started at 6:00 am. The hotel could do nothing as to a rebate or discount because we had booked through a third party.
    Also, when I added my BCAA to it, the prices went UP.

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