Many travelers try to save money by searching the internet for cheaper hotel rates.
But a new study suggests it may not be worth the time – at least in some places.
Travel insurance comparison site InsureMyTrip compared the prices of 950 hotels in 19 global cities across three popular booking sites as well as the individual hotel’s website.
According to results published last week, Hotels.com has the best rates overall – but only on the low end.
Hotels.com had the best price in 620 cases, slightly higher than Expedia, which had the cheapest rate in 579 cases.
According to research, booking directly with a hotel is more expensive, but only about $6 more.
Shalabh Arora, marketing director of Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru, said: “There have been conflicting views on hotel prices and people … believe that booking through online travel platforms guarantees a guarantee. rates better than the hotel website,” said Shalabh Arora, marketing manager at Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru, India. “However, that’s not the case at the Four Seasons, where parity is very much valued.”
He said the hotel’s website has a pop-up function that compares the rates offered by the hotel with prices on other booking platforms.
In the end, the Booking.com website had the cheapest price 72 times – or about 7% of the time – according to research.
“Not just [Booking.com] It’s rarely the most affordable, but it’s also the most expensive option most of the time,” according to publish the result.
The firm’s Asia Pacific managing director Laura Houldsworth responded to the study via email, saying the company aims to “always be transparent with our customers” and “real estate partners” Our properties are free to set their prices on Booking.com.”
She added that “our promise of price matching also means that if a customer finds a lower price on another website, Booking.com will refund the difference.”
The report found that the average hotel price on Hotels.com and Expedia was the same in seven of the 19 cities, with an overall average difference of just 27 cents.
“Expedia and Hotels.com are often around the same price range, especially with international hotels,” said Sarah Webber, marketing manager for InsureMyTrip.
Both trademarks are owned by Expedia Corporation, also operates other travel booking sites, including Travelocity, Hotwire, Orbitz and CheapTickets.
“Hotels that work with the Expedia Group distribute their rates across all of our brands,” said Anna Brown, the company’s public relations manager. “Similar rates across brands, however, different offers … approved by our hotel partners, sometimes creating a price difference.”
Brown says rates can also vary through brands’ app-only rates, while Hotwire’s “Sweet Rates” hide the names of hotels before purchase in exchange for deep discounts. when booking last minute.
Booking.com is part of Booking Holdings, which operates Priceline, Agoda and Kayak. Booking Holdings has the highest revenue among all online travel agencies from 2019 to 2021, according to Research company Statista.
The InsureMyTrip report shows a significant difference in rates in certain cities. For example, travelers can save up to $88 per night in Honolulu, if they find the lowest rates.
In New York, the report found that average hotel prices ranged from $293 on Hotels.com to $367 on Booking.com.
Research also shows:
- Hotels.com has the cheapest rates in New York City 62% of the time.
- Expedia has the cheapest rates in Honolulu 62% of the time and Boston 66% of the time.
- Cheapest direct hotel booking in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC
But exchange rate fluctuations are less pronounced outside the US.
According to the research, posted rates changed by an average of less than $10 per night in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Macau, Kuala Lumpur and Istanbul.
The InsureMyTrip study represents a snapshot in time, with the study analyzing rates for a double room for two booked for the night of August 27, 2022, the company said.
All searches are done on the same day to avoid price fluctuations, as “prices can change quickly and without warning,” Webber said.
However, the study did not look at whether the exchange rate is refundable or tax-inclusive, Webber said.
“To keep the research as simple as possible, we took the prices on the websites as the final cost,” she said. “So it’s definitely something to consider as not all hotels or booking sites include the same extras in the final price.”
Other factors, such as prepayment required and breakfast included, can also influence prices, which further complicates the hotel’s price comparison process – for researchers and guests alike. travel.